March 4, 1912 (12th Parliament, 1st Session)


James Albert Manning Aikins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. M. AIKINS (Brandon).

It is pleasing to know that this Bill finds such favour in the sight of hon. gentleman on the other side. One ex-minister condemns it as giving too much to the proviuce of Manitoba; another ex-minister of that administration condemns it, because it does not give enough to that province. I am delighted with the universal advocacy of the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver). He seems to have taken briefs for three provinces. He seems to have assumed that the province of British Columbia is not able to take care of itself, and, therefore, he takes the brief for that province. Are we to think that the administration of the hon, Mr. McBride has retained the hon member for Ed monton to advocate the interests of British Columbia in this House, or are we to assume that the hon. member for Edmonton has
been retained by the premier of the province of Manitoba to advocate the interests of that province? Are we to assume that Sir James Whitney himself, finding that there is such an able advocate, has given his brief to the hon. member? Or is the House to assume that the McBride administration of British Columbia is better able than the hon. member for Edmonton to look after the interests of that province? And that the administration of the hon. Mr. Roblin in Manitoba and of Sir James Whitney in Ontario know how to look after the interests of those provinces?
I do not intend to go at any length into what has been said by the hon. member for Edmonton, because I am thoroughly convinced that the government of Manitoba knows more about the swamp lands of that province than does the hon. member and that it understands better than_ he, the financial requirements of the province. But I do desire to speak for a short time in reply to certain arguments used a few days ago by hon. members opposite in the debate on the resolution. In 1881, it was supposed that the- boundaries of Manitoba were being extended eastwards as far as the line of longitude extending north from the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio. Therefore, the Act of 1881 was passed. In introducing the Bill, Sir Alexander Campbell, then leading the Senate, spoke of this territory as:
. . . covering an area u,p to a line due north from the forks of the Ohio and Mississippi, of 151,411 square miles, or something like eleven times its present area. It will be observed, by the map on the table, that on the east we do not lay down a line in the sense as we do on the south, west and north, but suggest a dotted-line, as what the boundary line between Ontario and Manitoba will be, as the present government of the Dominion believe the law establishes it. . .
Now, in extending these limits, it is, of course, a matter of interest to the House to know what population is within the proposed extension; and I had a statement prepared showing that the Indian population in such places as North West Angle, Shoal Lake, Rat Portage, Rainy Lake, Rainy River, Manitou Rapids and Lae des Millie Lace, and the white population of the township of Olver, Fort William and Neobing, Mat-tawan, Sibley and a number of people along the line of railway works.
He stated also t-hat immediately after the passing of the Act, Manitoba took control largely of that territory.
A dispute arose between Manitoba and Ontario concerning these boundaries. The matter was submitted to the Imperial Privy Council, and the decision was given in these words:
Their Lordships find the true boundary between the same two provinces to the north of Ontario and to the south of Manitoba, proceeding eastward from the point at which

the above mentioned line strikes the middle line of the course of the same river (whether c-alled by the name of the English river or as to the part below the confluence by the name of the river Winnipeg), up to lake Suel or the Lonely Lake, and thence along the middle lines of Lake Suel, of the Lonely lake to the head of that lake, and thence by a straight line tp the nearest point of the middle line of the waters of lake St. Joseph, and thence along the middle line until it reaches the foot or outlet of that lake, and thence along the middle line of the river by which the waters of lake St. Joseph discharge themselves, until it Teaches a line drawn due north from the confluence of the rivers Mississipi and Ohio, which form the boundary eastward of the province of Manitoba.
And the Privy Council ordered that its finding should be carried into execution. In 1889 the province of Ontario, desiring to have the limits as found by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council confirmed by an Imperial statute, made, through a joint address of these two Houses, an application for that purpose. The recital of the Imperial Act of 1889, which was thus passed reads:
And whereas such boundaries, as far as the province of Ontario adjoins the province of Manitoba, are identical with those found to be correct boundaries by a report of the Judieial Committee of the Privy Council, which Her Majesty the Queen in Council, on the 11th day of August, 1884, ordered to be carried into execution.
. The Privy Council found the boundary for Manitoba extended as far east as the line of longitude which ran noTth from the confluence of the rivers Mississippi and Ohio. Speaking in reference to that, the Hon. Mr. Mills, in 1889, said: '
What both the representative of Manitoba and the representative of the Dominion maintained was that this meridian line was the eastern boundary of Manitoba, and beino- the eastern boundary of Manitoba so much of Manitoba as lay north of the Albany river remained in Manitoba under that decision It was never argued before the Judicial Committee that if Manitoba could not claim any portion of the territory south of the Albany river, she would not be entitled to any portion north of that river. That Question was not Taised, and I do not see how the Judicial Committee could do anything than as it did, leave to Manitoba that portion which was uncontested, and assign to Ontario that portion west of this meridian line which they believed belonged to the province of Ontario. I am pleased that the hon gentleman has brought forward this resolution, and I trust thalt this will be the last time we will have to discuss the boundaries of Ontario in the parliament of Canada.
Now, Sir, as the judgment of the Privy Council determined the easterly boundary of Manitoba, which extended as far east as the line of longitude running north Mr. AIKINS.
from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi, if that line was carried immediately north it would come almost to the northeast corner of the boundary of the proposed province. One wondeTS why was it, when the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decided that part belonged to the province of Manitoba, it was not given to the province of Manitoba? The late administration refused it. The province of Manitoba long ago demanded that in connection with the extension of her boundary north, and if that had been given to Manitoba when" it should have been given by the late administration, then no question would have arisen such as that raised by the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie), that the ports of Churchill and Nelson should belong to Ontario. Although the government of Manitoba made application to the late administration time and again to have their boundaries properly extended, it was refused, and that has been one of the causes whch has led to the disturbed feeling which prevails to some extent in the west of Canada. In 1903 the right hon. the leader of the opposition said:
I a-m aware that the boundary we have laid down has been disappointing perhaps to both parties. Judging by what I have seen of statements made by the premier of Manitoba he expresses disappointment although I do not believe it would be possible for the government or parliament to concede in full the claims of Manitoba. I have seen some flaming articles in some newspapers stating that the rights of Ontario have been sacrificed inasmuch as the two harbours of Churchhill and Nelson have been given to-Manitoba. Well, Sir, I think that tfhe province of Ontario has enough of wealth and of territory and of glory to enable her to willingly concede to the sister province what little advantages there may be in that. Moreover, the traditions of history would seem to indicate that the Churchill and Nelson rivers should belong to Manitoba. They were the avenue of the fur trade in the olden times when the fur trade was all the trade there was, and if we were to take away from Manitoba what advantage there may he in this, I think Manitoba would be entitled to complain on sentimental grounds. At all events I submit these reasons to the fair consideration of the House and I think they will impress themselves on all those who will give this matter impartial consideration.
One would assume, when the judicial decision of the Privy Council was placed before the late administration, that they would have given effect to it. But instead of doing so they decided to give that part of the territory to the province of Ontario. You may ask now: Why is it not now demanded by the province of Manitoba? Simply because, for a dozen years the province of Manitoba was demanding it, and1 all that was offered them was the easterly boundary

which is offered now, and as further effort was useless with that administration they were almost obliged to accept it subject to a proper financial settlement, which they have been unable from that time until this administration came into power, to secure. Having once accepted that eastern boundary from the late admin:stration, they could do nothing else than accept it now. Although it was thus settled by the late administration, we find the hon. member for Softth Wellington trying to stir up the feelings of Ontario against the west concerning it. We find only recently, on the 21st of February last, the leader of the opposition in the Ontario house moving a resolution insisting that the boundaries should be extended north to the Churchill river. Just a little previous to that the same hon. gentleman declared that it was desirable there should be no antagonism between the west and east of Canada, still he moved that resolution which would disturb the whole of western Canada. Why should that old trade route by York factory and Nelson river be given to the province of Ontario? We find hon. gentlemen on the other side of the house, for instance, the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugs-ley), trying to stir up the other provinces against this settlement with Manitoba. We find the hon. gentleman who has just spoken trying to set one province against another province in the west. The policy of hon. gentlemen opposite thus appears to be to sow discord and create strife, and disharmony, in order that out of the resulting confusion they may in some way or other derive party advantage. However, I am sure that as the province of Ontario and the province of Manitoba have agreed with the Dominion on a settlement, all the efforts of hon. gentlemen to cause a cleavage between the east and the west will prove futile, because these provinces and the Dominion have agreed to settle their differences in order that peace and harmony may prevail between the east and the west.
Therefore, Ontario has no right to complain. Both political parties in Manitoba, practically accepted the eastern boundary, as laid down by the late administration and this administration. The only question for settlement was the question of financial terms, to which I wish to refer for a moment. In 1878 the University of the province of Manitoba realized that in consequence of the small income that the province was deriving it could not give much assistance to it. Therefore, the university applied to the Dominion government for a grant of land to assist it in its educational work. In 1881 another application was made to the Right Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, and in 1884, prior to the passing of this Act
of 1885, he wrote to the University of Manitoba stating that the government would make the grant. We, nevertheless, find that it is incorporated in one of the clauses in the Better Terms Act of 1885. Section 2 of that Act provides that:
An allotment of land, not exceeding one hundred and fifty thousand acres, of fair average quality, shall be selected by the Dominion government and granted as an endowment to the University of Manitoba for its maintenance as a university capable of giving proper training in the higher branches of education, and to be held in trust for that purpose upon some basis or scheme to be framed by the university and approved by the Dominion government.
Approved not by the provincial but by the Dominion government. Before coming to this question of the basis of trust let me say that, although the grant of land was to be of fair average quality and saleeted by the Dominion government, no step was taken by the Dominion government to make that selection and most of the fair average land had been taken up as homesteads, given in grants or otherwise disposed of. Up to 1886 or 1887 no arrangement had been made for the selection of the land. The University of Manitoba pressed strongly that the selection should be made. They were practically told that they would have to make it themselves. Accordingly, they spent money and the province gave them some assistance to make the selection, but as the best land had been alienated, they were not able to select the first quality of land. In consequence of the delay and difficulty in making their selection of land, application was made to the Dominion government to commute the grant for a money payment. In January, 1888, a committee appointed by the university reported an interview with the Minister of the Interior which stated that with respect to the land which had come back to the government by the non-fulfilment of homestead conditions, the minister was unwilling to withdraw it from homesteading and would prefer the grant of a sum of money in commutation of said land. In February, 1888, the Minister of the Interior made a recommendation to the Governor in Council that he had been waited on by representatives of the university council and favoured a commutation as a way of settling the difficulty in procuring lands and he thought that the commutation would be an advantage, both to the interest of settlement and of higher education in the province, and, therefore, recommended the commutation and suggested legislation. But commutation was not carried out because, as was stated afterwards, the revenue of the Dominion was not in a buoyant condition. The only

Not merely a subsidy, but:
-costs incurred in the government of the disputed territory or the reference of the boundary question to the judicial committee of the Privy Council and all other questions and claims discussed between the Dominion, and the provincial government up to January 10, 1885.
Therefore, when' you come to consider either commuting the value of the university land or the restoration of the other lands to the Dominion you must consider tlie fact that they were not given solely for the purpose of subsidies but partially to defray the expenses of the government of that disputed territory, for that disputed territory was governed for a time bv the province of Manitoba; it was formed info an electoral district which sent a representative to the local legislature, until 1884 or practically 1885, when the judicial decision was given that it did not properly belong to the province of Manitoba. It is, therefore, improper to argue this question solely on the ground that the swamp lands and the university lands were given only as a subsidy to the province of Manitoba. Mr. Speaker, you cannot compare things which are utterly dissimilar; you cannot contrast one condition with another condition in no way identical, and, consequently you cannot contrast the position of the western provinces with that of the east-

ern provinces, their conditions are altogether dissimilar. It cannot be justly said that the conditions in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are at all similar to the conditions in the eastern provinces, or even to the conditions in the province of Ontario. Neither are the prairie provipces similar to British Columbia, and, therefore, what is done by the Dominion for one of these eastern provinces, or for the province of British Columbia, cannot be taken as a fair standard of what should be done for the prairie provinces which are not similarly situated and do not own their own natural resources or their lands. In what respect are the three prairie provinces similar. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver), has assumed that they did not come into confederation at the same time, but he ought to know better, for the fact is that the Northwest Territories and the province of Manitoba came into confederation on July 15, 1870. There was, no doubt, this difference: that full provincial autonomy was given to the province of Manitoba, whereas there was a limited government given to the territories, the Dominion government retaining certain control. In 1905, when Alberta and Saskatchewan were given their autonomy, thie conditions then prevailing in these two provinces were similar to those which prevailed in Manitoba. True, Manitoba had a larger population and a little more settlement, but settlement was going on in Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905. as I say, the conditions were generally identical, save that there was a greater burden of government on the province of Manitoba than on either Alberta or Saskatchewan. That being so, why was it that the Liberal government treated Manitoba in a different way from that in which they treated Alberta and Saskatchewan? Why? Because Alberta and Saskatchewan were practically the creations of the Liberal adtninistration, subject to its will, and the province of Manitoba was not. The hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugs-ley), has said: why do you not get all the members of confederation together in a family council and discuss the terms that are now to be given to the province of Manitoba? Let me ask the hon. gentleman why in 1905 the Liberal government did not call the family of confederation together to discuss the financial terms which were to be given to Alberta and Saskatchewan? The hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver), has asked why British Columbia should not be called into council now, why did not the Liberal government, 'in 1905, call British Columbia into conference when they were settling the financial terms for Alberta and Saskatchewan? Why is it that these gentlemen opposite now suggest that a different course should be pursued
by the present administration Irom that which they themselves pursued under exactly similar circumstances? Their former action and their present argument are utterly inconsistent. The Dominion government was supplying the funds for the Northwest Territories from July, 1870, to the year 1905, while during that period Manitoba was allowed to look after herself and to struggle as best she could with an insufficient subsidy. During that period the Dominion government was erecting in the Northwest Territories public buildings out of Dominion funds, while Manitoba was paying for her own buildings. I therefore claim, and I do not think it can be disputed, that the conditions in Manitoba were quite similar to the conditions in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905 when these two provinces were created and therefore the government cif to-day should have treated the province of Manitoba with the same consideration and given it the same subsidies as Alberta and Saskatchewan. And now, these gentlemen opposite complain because the increased amount of the subsidy is dated back to 1908. Well Sir, if full justice were rendered to Manitoba it might well be contended that it should date back to 1905 when the late administration should have treated Manitoba the same as they treated Alberta and Saskatchewan. But, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) has told us that the cost of administration was greater in the two new provinces than it was in Manitoba and in support of his idea he pointed to Manitoba with its large capital city containing almost one-third of the entire population of the province. I would remind the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) and his friends that the cost of governmental administration in a large city, with a new incoming population, is as great or greater than the cost of administration in rural districts, and whatever argument may be founded on that ground is altogether in favour of Manitoba. I would like to know how the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) makes out that with a smaller population in Saskatchewan than in Manitoba and with a still smaller population in Alberta, there was more settled country in these two provinces and a 'larger district to govern than was the case in Manitoba. I therefore contend that it was at least fair as a compromise for the government when making this arrangement with Manitoba, to have dated it back to 1908. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) tells us that the money subsidy we are giving to Manitoba is too large and in the same breath he tells us that the province of Manitoba is giving too much to the Dominion government when it surrenders these lands. I would like to know how that equation works out. If they are giving such valuable

lands back to the Dominion, surely the Dominion can give them financial compensation in lieu of that land. Well, Sir, considering the terms on the whole it seems to me that they are just and fair both to the province of Manitoba and to the Dominion of Canada.
A moment on the financial terms or subsidy. Hon. gentlemen opposite are evidently not at all agreed about them. When you hear some hon. gentlemen opposite say on behalf of the province of Manitoba that the government have not made terms sufficiently good for that province and others saying that the terms are too good for it, we may come to the safe conclusion that the government did the just and proper thing in making the terms they did. Therefore, this Bill should pass without very much more contestation.
It has further been suggested that it was wrong to give the province of Ontario a strip of land five miles wide running from the eastern boundary of the proposed boundary to the Nelson river. The property within the borders of Manitoba, the public domain, belongs to the Dominion government, and the Dominion government can do with it what it thinks proper, can give those lands as a subsidy if it likes for the construction of a railway across it or a port on Hudson bay. I am sure the province of Manitoba will be delighted if Ontario will join with it in creating such a port as there ought to be created for the whole of western Canada at the mouth of the Nelson river. The hon. gentleman who has just spoken has been complaining that we have not enough outlets for the surplus annual products of the west, and that therefore everything possible should be done to give facilities for the transportation of that surplus. Is there then any objection to Ontario building a railway through their own province to the eastern boundary of Manitoba and there being joined by a line, if you like, constructed by Manitoba, and thus forming another national line to carry out the surplus products of the west to the markets of the world? The west will be glad to have such a rkilway, will be glad to join Ontario in having a joint railway from a common point on such railway up to the port on Hudson bay, will be glad if on one side of the river the province of Ontario creates a splendid port there, as there should be. Let me say to hon. gentlemen and to the people of the west that assurances are given that there will be created either at Churchill or at the mouth of the Nelson river, by the Dominion government, a port which will help them to ship the western surplus products by a speedy route-through Hudson bay and Hudson Strait to the final market of Liverpool, to the great benefit of the west.

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