July 10, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. F. CLARKE (West Toronto).

Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair, I wish to draw the attention of the hon. Minister of the Interior to a statement which was made in the North-west Legislative Assembly some days ago by the Premier in respect to what are known as the Barr colonists. In view of the very large immigration which is taking place into this country, I think it is of the very highest importance that when serious statements are made respecting mismanagement and the non-fulfilment of pledges on the part of those who promote large immigration schemes, it is the duty of the government to make an exhaustive examination into them. Especially is this the case in the matter to which I desire to draw the attention of the hon. minister, because, if my information is correct, the statement which was made is a very serious one, and it was made by a gentleman who is well and favourably known throughout the country, a gentleman who has had a good deal of parliamentary experience, and who, I am sure, in making the statement, has kept well within the mark. The Barr colony is one of the first large bodies of English immigrants who have been induced to come and settle in the North-west Territories. That class of immigration is a most desirable class, and it would be a great misfortune indeed if, because of incorrect or untruthful statements or unfulfilled promises, the hopes of the immigraijts were not to be realized. It is a notorious fact that many statements have been made in Canadian, as well as in British, newspapers, by those who profess to be of the Barr colony, expressive of their dissatisfaction with the treatment which they have received. I think statements of that kind ought to be discounted to some extent ; but when a responsible gentleman like the Premier of the North-west Territories makes such a statement as 1 propose to present to the House, I think it is the bounden duty of the government to make an exhaustive examination into it, and to lay the facts before

tlie people as quickly as possible. I will not take up the time of the House, but X will merely read the statement which has been handed to me, and which is taken from the Regina 'Leader' of July 2nd. The matter was evidently being discussed in the territorial legislature, and this is the report of Mr. Haultain's remarks in closing the discussion :
Mr. Haultain closed the debate in a few words. Referring to Mr. Clinkskill's speech with reference to Mr. Barr, the premier said he did not wish to use his position in the House to make charges against Mr. Barr when the gentleman could not be present to reply. At the same time, he thought some remarks on the subject ought to be made, and had very properly been made. From conversation he had had with members of the colony on the trail between Saskatoon and Battleford, he was convinced there had been some gross mismanageemnt in connection with the colony, and something worse than gross mismanagement in certain financial dealings with it. The Dominion government by allowing Mr. Barr to reserve a certain number of townships had to that extent recognized the scheme, and it was the duty of that government to have all the charges cleared up by a thorough investigation. He said this was in the interests of the territories, and in the interests of some of the best immigrants that ever came into the country.
If this is a correct report of the statement made by Mr. Haultain, I think there cannot be two opinions as to the advisability of having some person make an exhaustive examination into the charges alleged. I think it is due to Mr. Barr, who is at the head of the colony ; it is due to the government, who set aside certain townships for the use of the colonists ; and it is due to the country, because if the allegations which are made are not disposed of satisfactorily, they will prevent that tide of immigration coming from the old country which we all sincerely desire. I wish to ascertain from the hon. Minister of the Interior what has been done, or what he intends to do, to clear this matter up. He is aware, of course, of the statements which have been made in the papers in the old country by members of the Barr colony expressing their dissatisfaction with some of the arrangements made.

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