Paul-Émile LAMARCHE

LAMARCHE, Paul-Émile

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Nicolet (Quebec)
Birth Date
December 21, 1881
Deceased Date
October 11, 1918
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul-Émile_Lamarche
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=b2925dc2-8db1-4078-ac23-5c61603d6eed&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

September 21, 1911 - September 21, 1916
CON
  Nicolet (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 9)


May 11, 1916

Mr. LAMARCHE:

Has my hon. friend any statistics as Tegards the Algonquin or any other tribe of Indians in Canada?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE BILINGUAL QUESTION.
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May 11, 1916

Mr. LAMARCHE:

We are much obliged to you.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE BILINGUAL QUESTION.
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May 11, 1916

Mr. LAMARCHE:

According to the Rules of the House I have to accept the explanation given by the minister, and I can only regret that he has waited so long to give it. He has allowed this country and his compatriots to be guided by what I still consider the good legal opinion circulated by the New York Times. My hon. friend says he was misquoted. This interview seems to have been well prepared; it is even accompanied by a very good picture of the hon. gentleman. Unless he thinks that the photograph is not as good as the original, I am sure he will not deny thrt part of the interview.

As a consequence of the enactment of Regulation 17 a great deal of discussion has taken place in this country, and recently a petition was sent to the Executive of Parliament asking the Governor General in Council to grant disallowance of a statute which elevated to the dignity of the law Regulation 17. I have not studied very carefully the report laid on the Table

by the hon. Minister of Justice; but from what I can gather at a first perusal, some of his conclusions seem to me extraordinary. A great part of the report is taken up with allegations and arguments to the effect that this Government can not grant disallowance of a regulation, but only of a statute. We knew that; the people of Canada knew that; the 500,000 petitioners knew it; and the best evidence of what I say is that they never asked for it. What they asked was that the statute elevating Regulation 17 to the dignity of a law be disallowed. I agree with the right hon. leader of the Opposition that in every case disallowance is ineffective in practice, inasmuch as the Government which has passed the law complained of can the very next day pass a similar one; nevertheless, I wish to go on record that had I been a minister of the Crown I should have voted for disallowance. The reasons given by the Minister of Justice for not granting disallowance can be put under two heads: first, a law can hardly be disallowed that is within the legislative power of a province, and this law is alleged and seems to be within the rights of the province of Ontario, dealing as it does with education; secondly, if this law is ultra vires, the proper remedy is not to seek disallowance, but to apply to the courts. As a consequence, a law being either intra vires or ultra vires, the fathers of Confederation have put this provision in the.Act for no purpose. I do not believe that that explanation will be accepted in toto by the population of Canada, or at least by the numerous petitioners who have petitioned the Government. However, I do not wish to deal with this point any longer. The question is between the Executive and the petitioners, and they will probably have an opportunity of settling it one day or the other.

I was very pleased yesterday at the clever and admirable speech of the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle). He and I do not always see eye to eye, particularly in this case. But I have the greatest for him, and for two reasons: first, because in this Parliament he always discusses any kind of question in a very moderate tone and on a very high plane; secondly, because I know-and I am sure in this case as well as in many others'- that the bases of his opinions are his personal convictions, and not mere petty questions of politics. On several occasions,

of Study in the class. But where this is so permitted, the time assigned to it is one hour. But the inspector can, without giving any reason, and whenever he chooses, reduce that hour to three minutes or to one minute.

This " privilege,!' as it is called, is limited in another respect. Article 4 of this regulation provides:

In schools where French has hitherto been a subject of study, the public or the separate school board, as the case may be, may provide, under the following conditions, for instruction in Frencfti, reading, grammar, and composition in Form I to IV. (See also provision for form V, public school regulation 14 (5) addition to the subjects prescribed for the public or separate schools.

I have already given the interpretation, which I think is the right interpretation, to this clause, an interpretation sustained by the practical interpretation given by Mr. Colquhoun in the Windsor case. And in the face of these things I can only conclude, and I state without fear of contradiction, that the privilege of having French taught as the subject of study can exist only in the schools where French was taught before the regulation was passed. My hon. friend from Frontenac has cited Regulation 15. That regulation provides for the teaching of German and French. But my contention is that, since the passing of Regulation 17, although the other regulation remains on the statute-book, one part of it at least has become inoperative, that part dealing with the French language. The only part of Regulation 15 which is still in force is the part which deals with German. We are to-day confronted with this state of things. Around Verdun, in France, on the one side people talking the German language are directing shells and gas against another people whose language is French. And to-day in this country, or at least in Ontario, we find privileges given to the language of the Huns which are refused to the language of those who are defending the altars of civilization.

I believe that no matter how you twist this regulation, no matter how cleverly you put it, you can come to only one conclusion, that its object is the gradual proscription of the French language in the province of Ontario. The hon. member for Frontenac calls it a concession, and says that the French Canadians never had as many privileges as those contained in Regulation 17. On the other hand, it is pointed out that there are people in Ontario who think that too muoh is given to the French

Canadians by this regulation. Then the matter can be easily settled. If, on the one hand, it is thought that the French Canadians get too much; if, on the other hand, the French Canadians do not like this regulation, do not care for this present from the Greeks, the matter can be easily settled by abolishing the regulation altogether, and then both sides-call them extremists if you like-will be satisfied. If you refuse to do that it is because you do not believe that you have given to the French a concession.. The hon. member for Frontenac has a very peculiar way of dealing with a problem of this kind. On the one hand he says: " This state of things was arrived at after proper resolutions had been passed in the Legislature of Ontario, and nobody made any complaint, even the representatives of your race did not make any complaint; therefore, you have no right to come and say that this regulation is oppressive or abusive." On the other hand, after dealing with the matter from other aspects-, he comes back to the same subject, and, notwithstanding this former statements, says: " Why are you condemning this? \ou do not know its effect; you have not tried it out." If we try it out we accept it. If the hon. member for Frontenac claims that we have accepted a state of things by reason of silence, if we try it out he surely will come and say: ** Not only have you accepted it, silently, by not raising a voice against it, but you have accepted it practically, because you have used it."

I was very glad to (hear the Prime Minister yesterday say that if ever there was a motion proposing interference by the Federal Government in the provincial politics of the province of Quebec, he would be the first to raise his voice in protest against it. I believe, however, thht he will never be put to that test, because in the province of Quebec the minority, which is English-speaking, is our star witness in this case. That minority is in a position to teach the people of Canada at large that the French Canadian majority knows something about justice, about tolerance, and about equity.

It has been insinuated, even affirmed, that the French Canadian population contain a greater proportion of illiterates than any other race in Canada. I have always thought that, if we know how to apply justice, if we know how to deal with questions of that kind in such a way as to deserve the compliment of being the province which

has understood better than any other the spirit of the Canadian Confederation, possibly it was because many of our men had given some time to the study of the treaties and to the study of our constitution and of such books as would instruct them in the science of justice. But even if we have to admit that there are among us so great a number of illiterates, compliment my race all the more, because then it has not acquired that science of justice by tuition or by education, but has possessed it naturally from birth.

The best test to apply to this regulation is to transpose it. I would recommend every member from Ontario who does not share my views to take a copy of this regulation to-night and to make just a few amendments in it. First, instead of Ontario legislation, make it Quebec legislation, and instead of the word " French " insert the word " English," and read it. If you are satisfied after perusing only once the regulation so amended-, I will be very much surprised.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE BILINGUAL QUESTION.
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May 11, 1916

Mr. LAMARCHE:

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE BILINGUAL QUESTION.
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May 11, 1916

Mr. P. E. LAMARCHE (Nicolet):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to>

take up much of the time of this House in dealing with the resolution which has been so weld and ably discussed by its mover and by hon. members on both sides of the House who have taken part in the debate. I feel that it is my duty, however, to state here, as fully as I can, the reasons why I give to this resolution my unqualified support.

The speaker who has just taken his seat, my hon. friend from Frontenac (Mr. Ed-

wards), opened his speech by saying that under the circumstances it would be very hard for him to be moderate, and he has, I think, given a fair illustration of the truth of his prophecy. Not only will I try to be moderate, but I. assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I will be moderate. Surely my.hon. friend from Frontenac will be astonished at the fact that we French Canadians have spoken in this debate moderately, because it is well recognized that in this squabble we are' the under dog. Mr. Speaker,. I have not devoted any part of my time to studying the different censuses, or to trying to assort the ignorance of this country into races, counties, and denominations, and that is the reason why I am not able at present to follow the figures given by my hon. friend from Frontenac. I remember, however-and I am sorry that I have not the documents in my hand-that when the statements just made before the House were published, not very long ago, the figures were repudiated by the proper department of the Quebec Legislature. I believe that some of the newspapers of this country will again repudiate the figures, since they have assumed more importance by being brought before this House. If I am unable to follow him in the statements he has made as to the proportions of ignorance or illiteracy, I believe that every one who has listened to the dehate which has taken place on this resolution will admit that there are in this House to-day representatives of the French Canadian race who surely know how to read and write and talk, either in French or rn English. Although I have differed on many questions from the right hon. leader of the Opposition, I was proud yesterday that one of my race could master the English language so well as to excite the admiration of both French and English in this country. Taking for granted, for the purposes of discussion, that the figures brought before the House by the hon. member for Frontenac are correct, what do they show? They do not show that the French Canadian people are not able to learn any subject of study as well as the Englishspeaking people. They do not prove that the French Canadian student cannot follow the courses in any school as well as his English competitor. They perhaps show that the results were due to non-attendance in the schools; and, if that is the case, the proper remedy is not to blot out French altogether from the schools, but to make necessary laws for compulsory 237i

education, and force every child in the province of Ontario to attend school; and the same thing might he suggested to the legislation of the province of Quebec.

My hon. friend from Frontenao was scandalized because such a question as this has been brought before this House because, he says, it is so remote from federal politics. He said it bad been brought here only to serve the purposes of the political followers of certain leaders. I remember that only a few years ago certain questions were brought into the federal arena for discussion not only in this House but also before public opinion in this country. Certain questions were brought up, and I am told that to those questions many members on this side of the House, at least, owe their seats. Were those questions foreign to federal politics, or were they solely within the province of the local legislature? We all remember the famous question of the Ne Temere decree. We all remember the turmoil which was raised in certain parts of the Dominion on account of the presence of the right hon. leader of the Opposition at the Eucharistic Congress. We all remember that, Mr. Speaker; and can it be said to-day that those questions were not more foreign to the federal arena than the question of education?

The question of education is a question which is dealt with separately in the British North America Act. There are three sections dealing with legislative powers: One section, 91, which enumerates the different subjects upon which this Parliament has power to legislate; the second, section 92, which enumerates the different subjects over which the provincial legislatures are supreme, so far as legislative powers are concerned; and there is a special section, section 93, devoted to education. In that section it is provided that provincial legislatures are supreme, so far as education is concerned-supreme in the sense that the Federal Parliament cannot legislate except in an exceptional case; the case of a remedial Bill. But they can legislate only within certain limits. The subject is

limited by a special proviso dealing with certain guarantees given to denominational creeds in this country. It is true that this guarantee contemplates religion. But I maintain that the French-Canadian

Catholics have in that section certain rights as well as their English-speaking cocitizens of the Catholic creed.

If we go beyond the limit of Confederation, if we go back beyond the year 1867,

we find that education in Upper Canada was governed by the law of 1363, and that law of 1863 enabled the Catholics of this province to have their school matters regulated absolutely by a board of commissioners and by their own inspectors. The board of commissioners and inspectors were empowered to determine the kind of schools to be established and how those schools might be governed. They had the power also to say whether the schools would be totally English or totally French, or whether they would be French and English, that is, bilingual. That right existed before Confederation, and by section 93 of the British North America Act * all these rights have been preserved. Therefore, I say that the legislation passed by the province of Ontario is not only unjust, not only oppressive, but is also ultra vires. _

But it is not my intention to deal with that matter. The general terms in which this resolution has been worded allows, in my opinion, no serious objection to be taken as to the advisability of bringing it before the House. Its conclusion, if adopted, cannot be considered as binding in any way on the Legislature of Ontario. The subject-matter of the resolution is treated as a question of general policy in the light of British principles, which we all know, and which we all try to apply in this country as well as everywhere else. Furthermore, this resolution does not deal in any way with the constitutional or judicial aspects of the question. This enables me to say that even if all the contentions of our English-speaking friends in Ontario were maintained by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England, this motion would still be in order, because it is the duty of this Parliament to discuss all matters which are connected with the good government and welfare of this country at large and with the welfare of any portion of it, because this Paraliament is the national forum where, naturally, according to British principles, these questions must be aired.

I am a lawyer by profession, and I have learned the principles of law in the office of a gentleman who occupies a seat on the treasury benches; I mean the hon the Postmaster General (Mr. Casgrain). I have not been able to follow him always in politics, but I have always thought that he was a very good lawyer, and I still think so*. In order to illustrate that I am sincere, I am going to invoke his high authority on the very question that is be-

fore the House to-day. I would have preferred that the Postmaster General himself should have done it. He 'has very cleverly outlined the course which parliamentary procedure should take by attempting to show that this question should not come before this House, but in this case, Mr. Speaker, I must abide by the decision given by yourself yesterday, when you explained at length the doctrine applicable to such a case as this. I am at liberty to do so, especially as the Postmaster General has upheld yo-ur decision by his own vote. It having been settled by yourself, Mr. Speaker, and your position having practically been endorsed by the Postmaster General, that this is the proper place to discuss this question, and the Postmaster General having thought to put aside the question and not to deal with it upon its merits, it is my duty to the country at large to show what ihia position with regard to it is, lest some people might unjustly represent that the Postmaster General does not think the same way as we 5 p.m do upon it. I do not want him to suffer any harm from that. I will quote the opinion of the Postmaster General on the question of schools in Ontario given to the New York Times Magazine of February 13, 1915. I will give an extract from a legal opinion written by him, because I say that the Postmaster General passes not only in Montreal, but all over Canada as a high authority on these questions :

In Ontario, where there are 250,000 French Canadians, the difficulty is with the act of the provincial Legislature in hindering the teaching of French in some of the schools and actually prohibiting it in others.

I commend these words to the hon. member for Frontenao and the hon. member for Kingston:

Until 1912 the schools in the French sections of Ontario were bilingual, as much attention being paid to French as to English. But in that year it was enacted that thereafter in all schools then established French should be used exclusively only for French children during the first two years of their schooling and that beyond that age the language in all forms should be English except for one hour a day.

Now, since 1912, many new French Canadian settlements have been established in the province of Ontario, and of course they have their schools, but the provincial authorities iui ve, ruled that by the wording of an Act of 1912 no French whatever can he taught in the schools opened after that law went into effect.

When France ceded Canada to Great Britain it was stipulated in the treaty between the two mother countries that the French in Canada should retain all their civil, religious, and social

rights. And, furthermore, the British Nortn America Act, which is, in part, the Constitution of Canada, recognizes French as one of the two official languages of the country. So Ontario is violating both constitution and treaty. Two cases growing out of this very serious school disturbance, with its incidental strikes of teachers and pupils and protests of parents, are now pending in the courts and will be taken to the Privy Council of England for settlement. I believe that the final ruling will be in favour of the French Canadians, for the Privy Council has never failed to uphold our rights.

I agree entirely with the Postmaster General in the opinion he gave as a lawyer outside of this House, but I cannot agree with him in the opinion he gives as a politician sitting on the treasury benches.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE BILINGUAL QUESTION.
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