June 4, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


Onésiphore Turgeon



population is beginning to increase, and in a few years we shall be in a position to recover our loss of I'epresentation. It is better for the representatives of New Brunswick to encourage a movement in that direction, to excite the patriotism of our young people, and induce them to remain at home and give the benefit of their labours to their own country instead of to a foreign land. If we have not made greater advance, the blame rests with ourselves, and I take my share of the responsibility. But if any efforts of mine in the district where I live have had the result of inducing our people to remain at home, if they have been the means of preventing some families from emigrating to the republic to the south, I think I have accomplished some good for my country. The present rate of emigration into the western provinces cannot continue, and I have no doubt that the maritime provinces, as their population increases, will be able not only to keep their present representation, but regain what they have lost. Let me, in this connection, draw attention to the fourth subsection of section 51 of the British North America Act, which provides :
On any such readjustment the number of members for a province shall not be reduced unless the proportion which the number of the population of the province bore to the number of the aggregate population of Canada at the then last preceding readjustment of the number of members for the province is ascertained, at the then last census, to be diminished by one-twentieth part or upwards.
'So that the representation of any province is to be determined by a comparison of the last census with the one previous. But I claim that with the increase of industry and population in the maritime provinces, we shall soon be in a position to recover lost ground and regain the representation we have lost.
I therefore submit to my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Daniel) that he should join me in the patriotic endeavour to have our resources developed as rapidly as possible and thus keep our people at home. I would ask him to join me in calling the attention of the provincial governments, as well as the federal government, to the necessity of giving the maritime provinces all the transportation facilities to which they are entitled and which cannot fail to bring about a revival of industry and make our provinces the richest in the Dominion. I submit that we should direct our energies, not to obtaining a change in the constitution, but to the development of our own resources. Our resources are more lasting than those of the west because we have not only the resources of the soil but of the under-soil. We have the coal and the iron, which are every day becoming greater of greater ne-
cessity. Year after year larger quantities -will be required for the purposes of the west. Only lately an iron mine at Bathurst, in my constituency, which has been proved by the Department of Mines to be one of the most valuable in the country, was sold for $80,000, and will be developed, and we have other mines existing in other parts of the province, some of them close perhaps to the constituency of my hon. friend. We have also other sources of wealth and what we require is greater transportation facilities. Let us urge on the government the improvement of the Intercolonial Railway in every way possible. Let us urge the improvement of its road bed from Moncton to Halifax. Let us insist on the acquisition by the government of many small branches which should belong to the Intercolonial Railway in order that they may be better equipped and give better revenue and furnish greater facilities to the districts through which they run. Let us unitedly ask for the further improvement of our harbours along the sea coast, from which transportation can be made across the ocean. For my part I believe that whether we be twelve or thirteen or .fifteen members from the province of New Brunswick, we have no need to fear anything from the western representatives. I believe that every member of this House, whether from the east or the west, as soon as he enters this sanctuary of the Canadian people, feels himself animated with a sense of justice and British fair-play. I for one see greater danger in changing our consitution. If we change the representation in this House, we shall be called upon, in a few years, to change the representation of the upper House. In the upper House, we have our protection. A great movement has grown up lately for a change in the upper House. For my part I am as adverse to a change in the upper House as to a change in this House, for, as I have already said, our parliamentary representation is our representation in both houses of parliament: if we gain in one we shall lose in the other.
I do not wish to enter upoa n discussion of the question of maintenance of the Senate or changes in the Senate ; I say we should, first of all, maintain the protection which is given to the maritime provinces by our representation in the Senate-not that the Senate was created for the sole purpose of giving that protection, for it was created as the repository of mature wisdom, sober judgment and freedom from the turmoil of popular sentiment, but it was also so arranged that the smaller provinces should have in that body such representation as would afford them protection which they may lack in this House. Therefore, I say to my hon. friend from St. John that I, for one, as a representative of the province of New Brunswick, representing as I
do a constituency which stands equally rich in resources of the sea and resources ofi the land, that I care not whether the province of New Brunswick has twelve members or fourteen members provided that of the Canadian tree I get the shelter and the shade.

Full View