Mr. GEO. D. GRANT (North Ontario).
Some few weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the discussion on tills Bill, my hon. friend from Leeds (Mr. Taylor), Mr. GALLIHER
who is not now in his seat, I am sorry to say, was good enough to say that he would like to have an expression of opinion on this Bill from the member for North Ontario. In the course of his remarks on that occasion, my hon. friend referred to a by-election which took place in my riding some two or three years ago, the contestants in which were the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and myself. The hon. gentleman said that the Manitoba Remedial Bill was one of the issues, if not the principal issue, in that campaign. Now, I cannot let that statement go entirely unchallenged. Necessarily I took considerable interest in that by-election, and therefore must be supposed to know what the issues in it were, and I have this to say that not only was the Manitoba Remedial Bill and the action of the late Conservative government in reference thereto and the action of the ex-Finance Minister (Air. Foster), then a candidate, in the same connection- not only were all these matters not principal issues but they were not issues at all. Furthermore I do not think that the Manitoba Remedial Bill or the Manitoba school question has been at all an issue in the province of Ontario since the general election of 1896. I am much afraid, Mr. Speaker, that the memory of my hon. friend from Leeds (Mr. Taylor) is not at all dependable; I am afraid his memory plays pranks with him. And in this fear I am rather confirmed by what fell from the lips of his late leader, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, who spoke in another place on the 1st of March last. Speaking of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Taylor) in relation to another matter then under discussion, Sir Mackenzie Bowell said :
I am utterly at a loss to know or understand how Mr. Taylor could have given utterance to such a statement, unless it be that he talked it over so often with others that he finally believed it himself. That is an idiosyncrasy of some people, as we know.
Well, in the best of good nature, I rather think that in his recollection of what took place in the election in North Ontario that idiosyncrasy of my hon. friend from Leeds has shown itself.
The hon. member for St. Antoine, Montreal (Mr. Ames), who preceded me in this debate on Thursday last, made, in my judgment, a very moderate, calm and dignified statement of the case. He told how generously, how very well indeed, the Protestant minority of Quebec were treated by the Catholic majority of that province. But I rather think, in fact I am strongly of opinion, that the hon. gentleman marred it forceful and eloquent speech by the reference he made to the attitude of hon. members on this side of the House who support the government on this question. On more than one occasion, more frequently than was necessary to my mind, the hon. member for St. Antoine thanked ids
pleader for the freedom of action which bad been given to individual members of tbe opposition on this question. He seemed indeed very grateful that freedom of action bad been granted. In fact, he said, if not in so many words, yet in ,effect, that had it not been for that freedom of action given by tbe leader of tbe opposition to bis followers, be doubted whether be would take tbe position which be is taking upon the Bill. I have nothing to quarrel with in that attitude of tbe lion, gentleman. But be went on to express bis great sympathy for members on tbe government side who, be seemed to think, were bound to stand by the government-bound in what way I do not know-in its proposed legislation in regard to the Northwest. I must say to the bon. gentleman that we cannot accept his sympathy on this side-we do not want it. And I take strong exception to the innuendo in his remarks as to the attitude of government members iii supporting this Bill. I cannot understand him. Surely tbe bon. gentleman will not say that tbe same arguments for toleration, for respect for tbe rights of a minority, which appeal to him may not also appeal to individual members on tbe government side. Tbe boil, gentleman said-and I think it is not beside tbe question for me to refer to bis words and to clear up these points before entering upon the consideration of tbe main part of tbe issue-that bis leader-
has told them that they shall one and all
consult their constituents and their conscience and shall then vote as they see fit upon this Bill.
I want to tell tbe bon. gentleman that no instructions, no advice, different from that has emanated from the right bon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who leads tbe government to his followers.
Topic: PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.