I do not think it would be proper for any one to say that this is an iniquitous gerrymander, but I recognize the difficulties connected with the redistribution of New Brunswick. I do not personally view the arrangement of the committee as being an ideal one but I recognize that when you turn your eyes over the province of New Brunswick it would be almost impossible to unite any other two constituencies more favourably than you can unite these two. It would seem to me that an i leal arrangement as far as the situation in New Brunswick is concerned would be a division of the county of St. John. That county has about 10,000 inhabitants. It consists of four parishes, two on the western side of the harbour and two on the eastern side. These eastern parishes have about the same population as the western parishes. The eastern parishes are joined to the county of King's. They have about 5,000 inhabitants and it would seem to me that the proper union would be to join these two parishes with the county of King's which would make a constituency of about 26,000. The western parishes would be united to the county of Charlotte which would make a constituency of about the same number in population. I recognize, however,, that the principle laid down and adhered to very generally was that you should confine yourself to county boundaries and such being the case I recognize that it would be very inconsistent to make a change such as was proposed by myself or outlined in my remarks just now. The county of Albert is isolated. I quite agree with my hon. friend from St. John (Hon. Mr. Blair) that it would be almost impossible to unite Albert county with the county of St. John. There is an impenetrable barrier between these two counties such as he has described. They have not even highways communicating with each other and they only unite on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. There is no water communication, there would be very high hills and mountains to get over and therefore the difficulty described by the hon. member for King's. N.B. (Mr. Fowler) in respect to the people of Albert getting to the extreme western end of the county of King's would be only itensified by the union of the county of St. John with the county
of Albert because they would have to go away around by tbe several railroads passing through the entire length of the county of Albert, through about fifteen miles of the county of Westmoreland and thence through the county of King's to the city of St. John. It is not an ideal union for this reason : In the province of New Brunswick the nomination proceedings are always of interest to the electors. I do not know what the habit is in other sections of the Dominion but I do know that in New Brunswick it is the ambition of all the electors who can possibly do so to attend the nomination proceedings. The union of these three counties will make it almost impossible for the electors of Albert to attend the nomination because the county of King's, being the larger and more important one as far as population is concerned, will naturally swing the nomination and that will be held at the shirej town, which is Hampton, about twenty-two miles from St. John. Therefore, this will prevent the people of Albert from taking part in the nomination proceedings. I quite agree with the statement of the hon. member for| King's to the effect that this union is not) agreeable to the people of Albert, or to a very great many of them, those who consulted with me in respect to the matter at least! Nor, do I think that it is agreeable to the people of King's, but it seems to be inevitable. I recognize that if you were to take any two constituencies and unite them, that it "would give dissatisfaction, especially to the more populous constituency. It would be impossible to unite the constituencies of Restigouche and Gloucester, because they are growing constituencies, and tire unit would be very much larger than the unit of King's and Albert. As you cannot very well unite the county of St. John and the county of Albert, and as you cannot very well unite the counties of Gloucester and Restigouche, the proposed arrangement is the best that can be made, if you adhere to county boundaries. If you do not adhere to county boundaries, then it would seem to me that the county of St. John should be divided, the eastern portion of it attached to the county of King's, and the western' portion to the county of Charlotte. I do not think that arrangement would be satisfactory. It appears to me that under the circumstances, the proposed arrangement follows the line of least resistance, and having regard to the principle of county boundaries, I certainly would not move an amendment.
From the point of view of community of interest, the union of Restigouche and Gloucester would be unobjectionable. The only point against that union would be that the population is increasing more rapidly in these counties than in the counties of Albert and King's.
How could that possibly be ? So far as the relation of the islands to the mainlands of Gloucester is concerned, that inconvenience already exists, and how could it be any worse if you added the county of Restigouche ? These two counties lie for their whole length beside each other. Their main roads are connected, and there is a constant interchange of trade between the people of both counties. The difficulty there is that the population of these united counties would be about 4,000 larger than the population of Albert and King's. However, that difference has not stood in the way in Nova Scotia and other provinces, and I do not see why it should be considered here. Another way to get rid of the difficulty is to have one member for the city and county of St. John.
That is the proper solution of the difficulty, and I am sure it would please the member for Westmoreland. It certainly would please the people of Albert and King's, and every o*e in New Brunswick, except perhaps the member for St. John.
I move that the following be added as section 4 (a) :
Whenever in the said Bill, a municipality or place is wrongly referred to as a city or a town or a village, but there is within the territorial limits of the electoral district in the description to which the reference refers, a municipality or place, the same name as the city or town or village, but is not of the class of a city, town, or village, as the case may be specified in the schedule ; the reference shall be taken to be that municipality or place.
I will now move that the committee rise ; report progress, and ask leave to sit again. This leaves for consideration clauses 36, 37 and 50 of the schedule which refers to the counties of Grey, Hastings and Waterloo. Of course, I need not say that if my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) has any objection to the changes which have been made in Quebec, we shall give him the facility of being heard.
Some communication was made to me privately by my hon. friend from West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott) with regard to some slight change which he thought would be desirable in the boundaries of one of the constituencies in the North-west Territories. I was not able to assent to it, because I was not familiar with the conditions to which he referred. For what length of time will the Bill stand ?