Referring to the different points raised by my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley) and to the remarks which were made by my hon. friend from Queens, Prince Edward Island (Mr. McLean), I may say that the case of Prince Edward Island had .been put 'before council previously to the argument which was presented to the committee on redistribution. As imy right hon. friend the Prime Minister (Mr. Borden) said when he introduced the Redistribution Bill, the impression made upon the members of the Government by the argument put before them by the Hon. Mr. Mathison and his friends was such as to lead the Government to believe that something should be done, although the Bill as introduced here did not suggest any solution of the Prince Edward Island difficulty, that -being left to the committee. The matter was again argued before the committee, and the members of the Government who were there, knowing the impression which had been made 334
upon their minds, and desirous of doing something, were quite in accord with the suggestions which were made and which have resulted in the suggestion which we find in the Redistribution Bill, and of which this claus-e before the committee, to a certain extent, is a reproduction. My horn, friend from Queens, Prince Edward Island, is right in saying that the Government have considered the proposition with a view of meeting the wishes of the people of that province as far as possible. If it had been possible to meet the full demand made by the Government of Prince Edward Island, it would have been done with the greatest pleasure, because I, for one, believe in treating the smaller provinces in the fairest possible way. The case of Prince Edward Island was not on all fours with that of British Columbia, the case of British Columbia is clearly settled by the statute which declares that the number of members for British Columbia will never be less than six. In the case of Prince Edward Island, the same wording is not employed, and the matter is very far from being as clear. There are elements and circumstances which go to show that there were expectations, at the time that Prince Edward Island entered Confederation in 1873, that the number of representatives might be reduced. Taking a broad general view of the situation in order to try to give general satisfaction, the members of the committee on redistribution, I am happy to say, adopted one of the suggestions the Government had in its mind. In order to be perfectly fair, I desire to say that the motion to that effect was moved by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Rhodes) and seconded by the hon. member for Pietou (Mr. Macdonald). That is my recollection of the matter. This report is before the House; it is unanimous. I do not know whether or not we may have to give further consideration to this question; but for the moment the Government will stand by the unanimous report of the committee.
My hon. friend the member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) said that, instead of reducing the number of members for the Maritime provinces and fixing the same limit as the one now in existence for the number of senators, we might have come to the conclusion to ask the Imperial Parliament to pass an enactment restoring to the Maritime provinces the number of members they had at the time of Confederation. I do not in-
Topic: REPRESENTATION IN THE SENATE.