Mr. J. E.@
Marcil, M.P., for Bagot, is residing in Acton Vale for the last forty years, and for thirty years he has been engaged in business, either as a clerk or as a merchant. He has consequently, opportunity of knowing every one in the locality. Mr. Marcil examined in our office the schedules of 1891, and has pointed out to us the names of those who had left the town of Acton Vale for the parish of St. Andre of Acton many years previous to the census of ten years ago.
These schedules, collected by the census officers in 1891, contained information entrusted to them by the people of Canada under the seal of confidence. But, for party purposes, they have been hawked about and exposed to the gaze of all and sundry, in order to discredit the census of 1891. It will not do for the government to leave this matter where it is. If there is to be an investigation, it will not do to have that investigation held by an officer of the government; it must be held by a commission of men whose reputation shall be beyond reproach or question. And not only the census of 1891 must be inquired into, but the census of 1901 also. And, indeed, in order to a thorough investigation, perhaps
the census of 1881 and the census of 1871, if investigated, might yield valuable information. But, after the speech of the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the facts revealed by him in that speech and in the papers laid upon the Table, nothing will satisfy the people but a searching inquiry into the census of 1891 and 1901 as well. It was not necessary for the Minister of Trade and Commerce to go as far as he did.
1 suppose these Star Chamber inquiries might have been made, perhaps are made frequently-and if the matter had been kept quiet, if it had not been so trumpeted abroad, if the Minister of Trade and Commerce had not been given this opportunity of showing his eloquence, his bitterness, and his capacity for going beyond all reasonable length in attacking his opponents, the present position need not have been reached. But the hon. minister has brought these matters forward deliberately; and I maintain that it is incumbent upon this administration to set at rest, as far as they can, this question as to the honesty of the enumerators, as to the motives that influenced the different administrations that held these censuses as to the instructions they gave their officers, as to the good faith in which the information, given in good faith by the people of Canada in these decennial censuses, has been received and treated. Now, the Minister of Trade and Commerce, apparently to serve his own purpose for the moment, discredits the census of 1891. He maintains that the number of the people returned by that census was altogether too high. The hon. gentleman knows-no man better-that the census of 1891 was taken under precisely the same conditions, precisely the same instructions to enumerators, as was the census of 1901, which has just been taken by the government of which the hon. gentleman is a member. More than that, the hon. member must know that, if there were any error at all, It was not likely to be found by searching through the census of 1891. If he remembers the debates in which he took part in the House of Commons from 1882 to 1885, he will remember that it was admitted at the time that the census of 1881 was, probably, largely inaccurate and represented the people of Canada as having a larger population than was actually living in Canada at the time. There can be no question about that. Not the census of 1891, but the census of 1881, was the census that was exaggerated-and, probably also the census of 1871. In the discussions engaged in by Mr. Blake and the hon. member for South Oxford (Sir Kichard Cartwright), Mr.. Blake stated in most explicit language that the census of 1881 was stuffed largely with the names of people who had not been resident in Canada for ten, fifteen or twenty years. He states that most clearly in a discussion which took place in the House, in which he shows
tlie practice of the enumerators was to go to a house and say : ' Have you a son or
daughter V ' ' Are they in the States ? '
' Yes.' ' How long have they been there 1 ' ' Ten ' or ' fifteen ' or ' twenty years.' ' Do you expect them to return ? ' ' Oh, yes, I
hope to see them again.' And so that name went down. The hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce knows that, in taking the census of 1891 that system was changed. Though the de jure system continued in force, yet in addition to the questions formerly asked by the enumerators, which might lead to a dialogue such as was suggested by Mr. Blake and the enumeration of people who had not been resident in Canada for ten, fifteen or twenty years, a new question was added to those to be put by the census enumerators. It was made the business of the enumerators to ask whether the absent members of the family had been away for over a year, and if they had they were not to be counted. Whereas, in the census of 1881, it was possible to have persons counted who has been ten, fifteen or twenty years away from the country. Under the rules of the census of 1891, no person was likely to be counted who had been away for more than twelve mouths. Now, as it happens, this instruction to the enumerators -was adopted with the consent of the government of Sir John Macdonald. The census officer of that day suggested this, and said to Sir John Macdonald : This will make a more accurate census, but it will have the effect of reducing the population of Canada as compared with the census of 1881. And Sir John Macdonald said : What we want is an accurate census. And the government of Sir John Macdonald consented to this change in the i instructions. That government contained two future premiers, representatives of the Conservative party, Sir John Abbott and Sir John Thompson, and these gentlemen consented to this method, which had for its object the learning of the truth regarding the population that the men at the head of affairs might intelligently legislate for the country they were to lead. Now, as it happens, I think it would not be difficult to bring to the recollection of the Minister of Trade and Commerce the fact that he himself was consulted upon that subject, and he agreed that it would be a rational and advisable improvement, though it would have the effect of diminishing the population of Canada as revealed by the census of 1891. In respect to another matter, in respect to the instructions issued to the enumerators as to taking persons who were not living at home, such as domestic servants and clerks in the employ of other persons, in respect to that matter as well, a change was made in the census instructions so as to secure greater accuracy by providing against duplications and counting the same individual in two different census divisions.
At six o'clock the House took recess.