Mr. G. H. BARNARD (Victoria):
Mr. Speaker, I just wish to say a word to correct one or two misapprehensions which appear to exist in the minds of some hon. gentlemen with regard to the facts in connection with the Songhees reserve and the present condition of the Indians. Hon. gentlemen opposite are possibly too readily disposed to believe statements which have appeared in the newspapers and the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) has made statements with a desire possibly to shield his leaders from the effect of the
words of a telegram which has been referred to in this debate this afternoon. The hon. member for South Wellington no doubt thought he was helping his leader in so far as the telegram addressed to Sir Richard McBride was concerned, in which that gentleman was told to make any bargain he liked, when he said that the Government knew all the time what the price of the Songhees reserve was. The hon. gentleman is absolutely mistaken. This Government had sent agents to the Indians and the local Government had been endeavouring for years to get a figure from the Indians. Until that bargain had been struck by the local Government the Dominion Government had no idea what the Indians would take for their land and neither had anyone else.
I want to ease the conscience of the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) as to the condition of these Indians and I do not think it is fair to them that the statements that have been made in this House should go unchallenged. I am afraid that my hon. friend the acting Minister of the Interior (Mr. Crothers) was a little bit too anxious to combat that resolution and for the sake of combatting it, he accepted the statement as a fact that these Indians are existing in a state of depravity and debauchery.
Topic: K1TSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.