June 7, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)


Mr. Speaker, when you left the chair at six o'clock I was discussing the Yukon council, our local legis-i lative body in the Yukon Territory, and showing how necessary it was that we, should have a body fully representative of the people to prepare our ordinances, which have the ett'ect of laws. During my argument I referred to Judge Britton's report on the Treadgold concessions. I was interested when reading that report to notice that Judge Britton had found in the Yukon so many new words that he was unacquainted with, that he made a little glossary of them at the end of his report. I mention this in passing to show the House how. difficult it is to convey to the minds of lion, gentlemen here things that may be urgently needed in the Yukon. The very terms we use there in discussing some of our commonplace events, are strange to, men like Judge Britton and lion, gentlemen in this House. It is not necessary for me to enumerate them. The question of a; fully elective council for the Yukon is not a new one there, nor is it one that any) particular party has a monopoly of. Every) platform that has been framed in the last four years has contained this plank. Again, I refer the House to the platform of the1 Hon. James Hamilton Ross, and with your permission I will read one of the planks : '
That the convention (that is the convention which nominated Mr. Ross) views with satisfaction the increase of the number of elective members of the Yukon council-
I should say in explanation of that that the Yukon council at first was composed only of two members elected ,by the peoi pie, and that the government two years) ago extended the number to five. He went on to say : ,
-and urgently recommend that the membership of the council be made wholly elective without delay ; and further, that all matters of a purely local character be committed to the council for deliberation and determination.
That is one of the planks in the platform! upon which Mr. Ross appealed successfully to the people of that territory for their, suffrages; and I have no doubt that, al-thought he is now in the upper chamber, he) is of the same opinion to-day. Now, Mr.l Speaker, in closing this particular phase of! the question, I only have to add that thd Yukon Territory to-day is the only terri-j tory organized in Canada that is without

a fully representative government. I do not include the Territories of Ungava and Mackenzie, as I do not think they have any organized governmtnt at this time.. The other Territories have been married off, so to speak, and there is only the Yukon Territory left. I hope that the government, after considering this matter will see fit to grant the Yukon Territory that measure of self-government which I have
advocated. .
A few days ago the right lion, the Prime Minister suggested that in the disposition of these Territories remaining after the erection of the two new provinces, they might profitably be allotted to the various provinces that now have representative and responsible government. A few days after that I took occasion to rise in my place in this House and, in the name of the people of the Yukon, entered a protest against its being disposed of in that manner. I did not go into the question extensively then, but with your permission I will do so briefly now. In view of the fact that we have produced so much wealth, that we are producing so much wealth, that we have a population there that is more or less permanent, we feel that we lia\e a future of which the past is only an earnest, and that we we are fit for responsible government. I think it would be an igno-; minious end of our territorial career to tag us on to the upper end of British Columbia. Neither do I think it would be well from the standpoint of British Columbia, as being the best province, in fact the only one, geographically speaking, to which we could be attached. ' British Columbia at this moment has ail the territory that she can manage, in fact, with all due deference to my hon. friend opposite from that province (Mr Galliher), she has a little more than she'can conveniently manage. The credit of the province of British Columbia is none too good, the government of British Columbia is none too safe, nor has it been as stable as it should be during the past decade And. Sir. that fact I have just mentioned. the instability of the government of British Columbia, has done more than anythin"- else to check cnnital coming into that province from abroad, as it would have done immediately after the breaking out of the Boer war. I know for a positive fact that the money markets of the world, at the breaking out of the Boer war. turned to the American continent for safe investment: I know that British (capitalists turned their eyes towards British Columbia; and T also know that, because of tlm labour troubles that existed in that province: then, these English capitalists did not invest their money there as they otherwise would have done. Now. Mr. Speaker, we in the Yukon have troubles enough of our own without desiring to graft upon them those of British Columbia.
I said that I had faith in the future of that country and when X say that X am simply reflecting the prophecy of Dr. Dawson m 1887 that he had not the faintest doubt that the Yukon Territory would still be part ot Canada's great reserve. I wish very briefly to point out to the House the evidence 1 have regarding the future of this territory which I have the honour to represent, and m doing so I shall quote first from the Statistical Year-Book of Canada for the year 1904, and show the House what this territory has done in the way of producing wealth as compared with the other provinces of Canada since 1802. I have here the Statistical YearBook of Canada prepared by our own Mr. Johnston whose name is sufficient as he is very well and creditably known. This book shows the quantities of gold produced by the different provinces. For instance Ontario has produced $2,124,429 in gold ; Saskatchewan has produced $293,946 ; Quebec lias produced $295,053 ; British Columbia, a province that has been mining-well, I have its production here since 1862 and I believe it was mining earlier than that-has produced in that time $90,271,226. Nova Scotia has also been producing gold since 1862 and the inhabitants of that province think they have produced a good deal of gold. I shall show you by comparison that they have produced very little. Their product is $16,728,319.
I have given you the figures for these provinces and territories. What has the Yukon done in this time? Up, to last year-that is not including the present spring's clean up 'which I expect will be in the vicinity of $10,060,000 -up to the end of 1904, we have produced $118,000,000 in gold. How does that compare with the total output ? The total output of gold in Canada since 1862 lias been $-11,000,000 in round numbers. Over half the gold produced in the whole of Canada since 18 )2 has been produced by the Yukon and the greater portion of that has been produced since 1896. In nine short years aye. in eight short years, we have produced over half as much gold as the whole of the Dominion m-cluding what the province of British Columbia lias produced since 1862. Is that not a record that any province, let alone any territory, might be proud of ? To show the House the extent of the gravels that we have in that territory I shall quote a letter from Dr. Robert Bell, director of the Geological Survey, whom I asked to measure for me if possible the auriferous deposits according to the map prepared by, Mr. McConnell who mapped that country; His letter is dated May 30. 1905, and is as follows :
Dear Sir - i have had Mr. Seward, our geographer fin consultation with Mr. McConnell, who has returned from Europe), make as careful an estimate as possible of the acreage of the gold-bearing gravels of the Klondike. Mr. McConnell divides them into the river gravels and the white channel gravels. On the autho-

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