September 23, 1903

LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

I did not say any such thing.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

What did you say ?

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

I said I would support it.

Mi-. SPROULE. In that case I misunderstood the hon. gentleman and I withdraw what I said.

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

I accept what the hon. gentleman says, but I would add that he was a member of this House when this matter of the Chinese immigration was brought up in this House on May 12, 1882. Mr. De Cosmos read a telegram saying :

24,000 Chinese in all are expected before August. The Chinese in the province will num-be 32,000, and will outnumber the whites.

Who was in power in 1882 ? The hon. gentleman was then ,in this House ; did he rise in his seat and give vent to his righteous .indignation ? No. Sir John Macdonald in reply to Mr. De Cosmos, said :

It is rather inconvenient that this subject should he brought up without notice of any kind ; and the hon. gentleman must be satisfied with a very brief and perhaps unsatisfactory answer. No complaints have reached the government of serious interference with white labour in British Columbia, from the influx of Chinese labour.

We all heard the hon. member for East Grey the other day saying that there were complaints prior to that; time. Here is the word of his leader whose word I will take, I will take the words of both of them, and the House can judge which is right in this matter.

Now he says further :

In fact, there is such a want of white labour in British Columbia, that if you wish to have

the railway finished within any reasonable time, there must be no such step against Chinese labour. It is certain that British Columbia suffers very much from the want of a steady flow into it of white immigration. Whether the hon. gentleman is correctly informed as to 24,000, or 10,000, or 5,000 Chinese coming into British'Columbia, I have no means of knowing. But if they are coming, it is merely to work on the railway, to finish it as soon as possible, and we may well put up with the temporary inconvenience, as I understand it, of the presence of these Chinese.

So there were 24,000 landed in that month, but the government had no information at all, and the hon gentleman Who has just sat down said on the floor of this House that there were complaints here long before 1882, but his leader of that day said that was not the case and I cannot find any other reference to this in ' Hansard ' up to1 that date.

Farther on Sir John said :

Either you must have this labour or you cannot have the railway.

I do not think the hon. gentleman emerges with any degree of satisfaction from the' situation that he has brought on himself. He is always willing to rush in and establish a record for himself by assuming that he knows it ail. The hon. gentleman spoke about boodling and asked who was the first man who was run out of British Columbia, for that offence. I do not know and I do not catch the point of his remark. But| the Chinese Exclusion Act was disallowed in 1883 by Alexander Campbell, who was then Minister of Justice, and X believe the records show that that gentleman was a Conservative. Every Minister of Justice from that time on has disallowed these Acts and there is no question, there is no hon. gentleman in 'this House and no person in British Columbia who does not recognize, that the province of British Columbia, while they were passing these Acts, knew very well that they were doing something which was ultra vires of the British North America Act. They have no authority for that. If the Dominion government have vetoed these Bills they have only done what they were obliged to do. I do not think they would have been vetoed if the nefarious habit'had not been introduced by a Conservative minister in 1883.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The nefarious habit which the hon. gentleman (Mr. Macpherson) of drawing on his imagination for his facts, has got the better of him again. He is just about as accurate and consistent in his statements as usual. In the first place he called the hon. member for East Greay to account because he said that the Chinese question was discussed in the House before 1882. What was the statement of the hon. member for Burrard ? It was that the Chinese were unknown in that country before 1882. My answer was that the question was brought up at various times before

that In this House by the members from that part of the country, and I am justified in saying that, as the record will show, if the hon. gentleman will turn up ' Hansard.' I agree that the question of excluding them came up in 1882, probably for the first time it became an important question as British Columbia was menanced by a great influx of people from China just then to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway and I recollect that Amor De Cosmos brought the subject up. There wa-s no white labour with which to construct the railway. It was utterly impossible to complete the contract within the time that the company agreed to complete it if they were not allowed to bring in labour from some quarter and employ labour other than that which they could get in the country. The statement was made over and over again that there was not one man for every ten that was required, and that unless they were allowed to bring in Chinese or some other kind of labour it would be utterly impossible to carry out the contract. That being the case, Sir John Macdonald said : We cannot prevent people from coining In now because it is desirable that the company should be put in a position to carry out this public work as it ought to be carried out. After the Act was passed by the British Columbia legislature for the purpose of restricting the introduction of Chinese, Sir Alexander Campbell, the then Minister of Justice disallowed it. That question lias been revived by the British Columbia members from time to time. The hon. gentleman says that there are no Chinese in eastern Canada, and that we do not know anything about the Chinese question here. He is as nearly accurate in that statement as in some other statements he has made. I wonder, if, while he lias been in Ottawa, he has not seen Chinese here. There is not a city and town in east-earn Canada in which you cannot find some Chinese. If he wants to do what he declares the people of British Columbia require him to do,, he will avail himself of the opportunity of supporting the proposition which is before the committee.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

The motion I made seems to have been the only one moved from this side of the House which has found a single supporter on the other side of the House, and, flattered as I am by the support coming from the hon. member for Burrard (Mr. Macpherson), I would only say, that, If by amending my motion by substituting the word ' asiatic ' for the word ' Chinese ' I would still further commend it to his favourable consideration, I would be only too glad to do so. I am pleased to know that I have one supporter, but I regret that the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Thompson) should oppose the motion. I hardly understood what was meant by that lion, gentleman, but I understand that he anticipates an influx of Chinamen to work on this railway.

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LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. THOMPSON (Haldimand).

No, 1 said that I thought that owing to the increase in the amount of the poll-tax there would be no influx of Chinamen from the outside, but that the Chinamen who are in the' country might themselves be used to some extent, and that therefore there would not be so heavy a draft made upon the farm labourers, who otherwise would have to do that work.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I understood that the hon. gentleman meant to say that if you did not import a large number of Chinamen tlie farmers would be very hard pressed for labourers. I had the good fortune to be present at a military review in Toronto a couple of years ago, and I have a recollection of having seen the hon. member for Haldimand at the head of a battalion In which there were one or two companies of Indians.

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LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. THOMPSON (Haldimand).

The hon. gentleman is in error. There were four companies of Indians.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

All the better. That being the case, I thought the hon. gentleman, in view of the pathetic picture he drew a few weeks ago of the depleted character of his battalion, would desire to have a more cosmopolitan battalion composed not only of Indians but of Chinamen. I shall have great pleasure in supporting the amendment that the hon. member for Burrard proposes by inserting the word ' Asiatic ' for the word * Chinese.'

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

Yes, I will agree to that.

Amendment to the amendment (Mr. Mac-pherson) negatived.

Amendment (Mr. Bennett) negatived.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

There will be one or two other amendments in regard to section 2, and I suppose we will hardly be able to dispose of them this evening.

Progress reported.

The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved the adjournment of the House.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

In case we get through with the discussion in committee on this Bill early in the day to-morrow, what business will be taken up ?

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?

The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The Redistribution Bill will be the next order.

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Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at 1 a.m., Thursday.



Thuksday, iSeptember 24, 1903.


September 23, 1903