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


Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I certainly thought the hon. gentleman (Mr. Belcourt) was defining separate schools as denominational schools-I thought that was part of his argument. If I understood him wrongly, 1 am sorry. But I followed him carefully and understood him to say-and he was supported by the hon. member for Mont-ruagny (Mr.* A. Lavergne)-that separate schools meant necessarily denominational schools, and therefore, as he said, the word ' separate ' in section 11 of the Act of 19X5 meant not merely a school separated, but meant a denominational school. If I did not hear the hon. gentleman make that argument my ears deceived me. As to the misunderstanding which occurred between tbe bon. gentleman and my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Stockton), I certainly did understand the member for Ottawa to say this, in answer to a question of mine : I asked bim whether the majority mentioned in the first part of section 31 of the Act of 1875, was a religious majority, and the hon. gentleman said, yes. Then I asked him whether, in a community iv here there were 1,000 Roman Catholics, and 500 Protestants and 2,000 Mormons, the 1,000 Catholics would be the majority within the meaning of the statute, and he said, yes. I do not think my hon. friend will deny having given that answer. It seems to me a very extraordinary result. For example, in a community of 1,000 Mormons, not having a school established, if one Roman Catholic or one Protestant should enter, then the one Roman Catholic or the one Protestant would be the major-

ity within the meaning of the Act of 1815 -lor I think the statute requires 5 : if 5 Homan Catholics or 5 Protestants entered a community of 1,000 Mormons, then the 5 I!oman Catholics or 5 Protestants would he a majority within the meaning of the Act of 1875. Well, that may be the ease, my hon. friend may be right, but if so, it only adds one more to the extraordinary interpretations which we have been forced to place upon this Act of 1875. So far as the word ' separate ' is concerned, I adhere, with ail due deference, to the view that it means exactly what it says, a separate school, it implies nothing more. And when you draw illustrations from provincial legislation you are at once met with the illustration mentioned by my hon. friend from Hamilton, that in the province of Quebec you have a separate school which does not depend in any respect upon the religion of those who constitute the pupils.

Topic:   JT7NE 8. 1905
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