Mr. GEO. H. BOIVIN (Shefford).
Mr. Speaker, I have only one word to say upon this question which has taken up so much 1581
of the time of the House. I want to give to you, Sir, and to hon. members here present, my reasons for voting against the amendment which was proposed by the hon. member for Yamaska (Mr. Mondou) and in favour of the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Beauce (Mr Baland).
I voted a few moments ago against the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Yamaska (Mr. Mondou), because I considered that this amendment was of a nature which rendered it either ultra vires or useless. Many legal minds have given opinions upon this school question, many eminent lawyers throughout the country have decided that it is impossible for the federal government to coerce Manitoba by the inclusion of any amendment or additional clause in this Bill without the consent of the legislature of Manitoba. I agree with these gentlemen, I agree with the opinion which was given in this House by the hon. the Minister of Justice, and that is one of the reasons which led me to vote against this amendment. It is true that it has also been stated in the course of this debate that the amendment did not have any great effect and that the principal reason why it was proposed was in order to place the new territory added to Manitoba under the same school system as the old territory. If that is the case the amendment is utterly useless because there is no doubt in my mind that the school system which exists in Manitoba at present will be extended to the new part of that province. But is that all? I claim that the hon. members who form the present government, the right hosn. the Prime Minister and his colleagues in this House, promised the people of Canada more than to give to this new territory the same school system which exists in old Manitoba. I claim that the Prime Minister indirectly and many of his ministers directly promised) the people of this country and especially of the province of Quebec that they would give separate schools to old Mianitoba, and that is what they are not doing when they present this Bill. It is very true that the Prime Minister very carefully refrained during the course of the last campaign from going into those counties in which the candidates were supposed to be of the Nationalist school and to have as their leaders Messrs. Monk and Bourassa. But he did come into Shefford and in Shefford the Prime Minister had as candidate Mr. James Davidson of Montreal who, on August 17, 1911, published a manifesto signed by his own hand which cannot be denied. In that manifesto he writes among other things:
If I am elected I will endeavour to have
the rights and prerogatives of the Catholic French Canadians of all provinces respected and recognized as are the rights of the English Protestants of the province of Quebec
with recognition of their schools, and of the French language, etc., eto.
And on August 30, or 31, the present right hon. Prime Minister addressed a meeting in Granby in favour of Mr. Davidson. Mr. Davidson was unquestionably his candidate and to-day he brings before the House a Bill in which he says not a word about separate schools. I did not vote against the amendlment proposed by the hon. member for Yamaska because I am against separate schools. I am in favour of separate schools. I think that separate schools should exist throughout the Dominion, both Catholic and Protestant; but they can only be established in Manitoba by the government of Manitoba, they cannot be forced upon that province by this government. Conferences *and conciliation, the policy of the Liberal party for the past thirty years, are the only way that improved conditions can be obtained for the minorities of Manitoba. The hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland), .asks that a further conference be held and I believe that if ever there was a time in the history of Canada when separate schools could foe obtained from the Manitoba government, it is precisely now, when we are passing a Bill to increase the territory of Manitoba giving them thousands and thousands of square miles of territory and .millions of dollars. Now is the time to have a conference with the Prime Minister of Manitoba and to obtain from him the passage of some law in the province which would improve upon the Laurier-Greenway agreement of 1897.
Topic: TWISTS TO COMPULSORY EDUCATION ISSUE.