April 6, 1905

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Or with the two of them together.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh ; order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

It was with an accredited representative of the Manitoba government. But oh, says my right hon. friend-and this is liis final argument-this was a private conference. It was not a public conference. In what way would a conference take place? Would it be supposed that Monseigneur Sbarretti would put an advertisement in the newspapers, would send a bellman about the streets to tell everybody that at a certain hour he was going to meet the representatives of the Manitoba government to talk over certain matters of policy ? Would he do tliat ? In what way could any conference take place between these gentlemen that would not ncessarily be a private conference ? But it was not private in this sense that both of the contracting parties have thought that it was their right and their duty to take the public into their confidence and to tell them what transpired at that conference. So there does not appear to be much in that argument.

There were certain things that my right hon. friend however did not deny and they are quite as remarkable as the things that be did deny. He has been told times without number to his face in this House and be has not once risen to deny it, it has been very courteously brought to his attention to-day and he has thoroughly ignored it, that before he brought down his educational clause on February 21, 1905, there had been numerous conferences between himself and Monseigneur Sbarretti with reference to the provisions of that Bill. Will the premier deny it now ? He does not. Mr. Speaker, I ask you, I ask this House, I ask the people of this country if it has come to this that in Canada the representative of any church I do not care what it is

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Through its accredited highest head

must be visited by the premier of this country before he dares to bring down the policy to be adopted for the Northwest provinces ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

The right hon. gentleman has not denied it yet. Then I wish to ask one other question to aid this thoughtfulness that I am sure is pervading the country at the present moment. Is it proper for the right hon. gentleman as leader of a government to have frequent conferences with the Papal ablegate in Ottawa with reference to a dominant part of his policy in creating new provinces and to give the go-by to the representatives of the people of the government ?

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. gentleman did not consult the Minister of the Interior who represented the Northwest Territories, who was their sole representative in the cabinet in reference to the educational clauses of the Bill, but he sits in abject silence and allows me to state here in the House endorsed by that silence that he did care to consult the Papal delegate here in Ottawa. The right hon. leader of the government did not consult the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding). Will the right hon. gentleman tell me now whether he consulted on that educational clause more frequently the one than the other, his Postmaster General or the Papal ablegate ? Why all this trouble and talk in the country because Monseigneur Sbarretti goes to the

representative of the Manitoba government and tries to get sometlmg for his people there ? Why all this heated denial, this hedging. this twisting, this turning, in respect of a province which is able to defend itself, which has the absolute legislative power confirmed by the highest judicial authority in the British empire, which is able to stand up like a man and defend itself, if it wants to or which is able like a free man to give what it pleases if it gives it out of its own generosity and good will ? Why all this fuss about such a thing as that, whilst, when it comes to a question of infants in arms, the wards of my right hon. friend, when their manhood and their rights 'for ever are to be given to them or abridged from them, my right hon. friend ignores the Minister of the Interior, ignores other members of his cabinet, but consults the Papal ablegate. Now, Sir, despite the fiery and incendiary speech of my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) which may be repeated here to-day-I do not know'-my position is simply this that if there was a high representative of the Methodist church, of the Anglican church, of the Presbyterian church or of any other church in this country who was here in such a position as the Papal ablegate, and if he were consulted in the same way I should make exactly the same objection. This country is not going to have any semblance of alliance between church and state. The people of this country come from a stock who absolutely denied that doctrine years ago, who fought for its overthrow and enthroned the opposite one in the constitution and laws of their country, and the people of Canada are born and bred to thesame idea and they will stand by it.The right hon. leader of the government may be as valiant as he pleases but I tell him that he has raised by

his tortuous course a question in this country which far transcends the Manitoba controversy. Why is Monseigneur Sbar-retti here ? My hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) gave what he considered lie could fairly gather from what he knew of the circumstances that led to the coming here of Monseigneur Sbayretti : What were they ? Dare I analyze them for a moment?

I think wre may take the risk even though the hon. member for Labelle may frown against it. I ask this first question in order to clear matters : Were there any spiritual

difficulties between the bishops and clergy and the church Catholic of this country which made it necessary primarily that the Papal ablegate should be sent to this country ? There were no such. It has so been stated. It has not been denied. That gentleman would never have been asked for as he was asked for in his own handwriting by the right lion, gentleman who leads this government if it had not been that there was trouble in the Reform camp, that there was very deep seated trouble and the right

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

hon. gentleman conceived that it would be a good stroke of party policy to bring a very celebrated, distinguished and high dignitary of the church-to minister to his spiritual consolation ? To minister to the spiritual needs of my devout friend the Minister of Justice ? To minister even to the clear white conscience of my bon. friend from Labelle ? Oh, no, it was not spiritual consolation they wanted. It was party political consolation. That and that alone was the prime motive of the movement for bringing the Papal ablegate to this couotry. Who brought him ? Here is a letter.

Ottawa, 30th October, ISO".

Eminence,-I made known to you in the month of August last, when Your Eminence did me the honour to grant me an audience, the happy reSuit which the mission of Monseigneur Merry Del Val had accomplished among the Catholics of Canada, and the profound impression which his high Christian virtues and his talents as a statesman I say statesman, and the expression is not too strong

Not spiritual comforts, but statesmanship you see 1

had created in all classes of our population.

Having now returned to my country for several months, I wish to make known to Your Eminence that if these happy results are to remain permanent and efficacious, it is desirable, if not necessary, that the mission of Monseigneur Merry Del Val should be renewed, or rather continued, and that he should be present in the midst of us for a more or less prolonged time as the accredited representative of the Holy See.

I have established, since my return, that there is among a certain class of Catholics an underhand agitation against the work accomplished by Monseigneur Merry Del Val, a work of pacification, concord and union.

The same reason of state which inspired His Holiness in the affairs of France, and which caused him to prescribe to the Catholics of this country the duty of abandoning the old strifes of the past

In matters of religion ? In matters of church polity ? Nothing of the kind.

and to accept the state of things agreed

upon, has quite as much force in Canada as in France.

What state of things ? A spiritual con-corclat between the bishops or settlement of dissensions amongst the lesser clergy ? Nothing of the kind. Everybody knows what it refers to. It does not require any interpretation at all.

Such is the opinion of a great number of the Catholics amongst us. I admit that it is not the unanimous opinion ; this very divergence of opinion only renders more necessary among us the presence of a man at once firm and conciliatory like Monseigneur Merry Del Val, and of one who above all would understand all the danger there is of exasperating the men who are sincere, convinced, and who wish to be faithful to their duty as Catholics, while remaining faithful to what they believe to be their duties as citizens.

May I be permitted to ask Your Eminence to he good enough to lay these conditions be-

fore His Holiness, while assuring him at the same time of my profound respect and of my filial attachment.

Accept, Eminence, the expression of the high consideration with which I remain.

Now, Sir, that letter is signed by Wilfrid Laurier; it was written, I imagine, to His Eminence Cardinal Rampollo. So much with reference to that.

Let us carry this out a little further. Not only was this letter written by the right hon. gentleman, who then led and who now leads the government, but a certain counsel was arranged for who was accredited and instructed by this government to visit Rome and to bring about what the right hon. gentleman had made a beginning of in the letter which I have just read. The agent whom they used as an intermediary was appointed by this government after they had dismissed-for purposes of state I wonder, or what ?-one of the best and most eminent of the legal counsel that this government has ever had in the city of London. On the 26th of November, at Rome, in the year 1897, Mr. Russell writes the following letter :

Eminence,-I have just arrived at Rome once again at the urgent request of the Catholic members of the government and of the parliament of Canada, in whose name I have already presented myself to you. Although I have come so far I do not dare to present myself to Your Eminence, because I would not in the least like at this moment to seem to be bringing pressure to bear or to wish to Impede the complete liberty of His Holiness. Moreover, I know how busy Your Eminence is and X remember with what patience Your Eminence has so many times before heard our representations on the subject of Manitoba, which, besides Your Eminence now fully understands.

This is a very good pointer that it is not spiritual matters, that it is not any disagreement amongst the bishops or amongst the clergy, but that it is for party reasons, and for party reasons alone, that it is urged, reasons arising from the exigencies of the Reform party.

I should not even like to give you the trouble to read this letter if I had not been very particularly asked to go to Rome by those whom I represent, and who, living far "from Rome, do not know quite what to do in order to plead teir cause and fulfil their duty to the Holy See.

This is therefore why I take the liberty of writing to Your Eminence as follows :

Some days ago the newspapers caused to appear an item by which it was set forth that His Holiness had published a letter condemning in the most formal termh the concessions obtained for the Manitoba schools.

Obtained by whom ? By whom were these concessions obtained ?

A few days afterwards a declaration of official appearance made it known that no such letter existed.

Although not resting upon any foundation, the publication of this news has created in 126

Canada such a state of feeling that my principals thought they would be wanting in their duty to His Holiness if they did not bring their respectful representations before him.

The object of my visit is to call the attention of Your Eminence to the subject upon which I have so often negotiated

He had been there before it appears and on the same errand !

to know that such a condemnation would

have the most disastrous effects for the peace of Canada and the cause of Catholic education in this country, while at the same time it would sow discord among the Catholics themselves.

Now, this is the gist of the whole matter.

We do not solicit His Holiness to sanction as perfect the concessions obtained, but that in his wisdom he will be pleased to regard them as a beginning of justice. With the aid of time and thanks to the patient work of persuasion by their compatriots, the Catholics of Manitoba may hope to obtain satisfaction. The condemnation of the concession made would, at the present hour, render (I am begged to insist upon this point)

Begged by whom ? By those who sent him there ; begged by the right hon. gentleman and those who sent him there.

The condemnation of the concession would, at the present hour, render (I am begged to insist upon this point) any future concessions impossible. My instructions enjoined me again to renew to Your Eminence the desire, which I had already the honour to express to you, that His Holiness will be pleased to name a permanent delegate in Canada. The representative of His Holiness would reside on the spot, but would'be outside local interests, and thus he could with more wisdom guide Catholics through the difficulties which they have to surmount.

There is another point which I dare to beg Your Eminence to be good enough to consider.

Almost immediately when the Batin text of the letter of the Holy Father appears, difficult and even contradictory translations will appear and, I am sure of it, most regrettable discussions will at once arise as to the interpretation of the words of His Holiness: In order to

avoid such a misfortune may I be permitted to suggest to Your Eminence how desirable it would be that the Latin text should be accompanied by authorized texts in French and English. This procedure has been followed, if I recollect aright, on several occasions in the case of France and of England.

I shall leave Rome on Saturday, till that day I am entirely at the disposal of Your Eminence.

This was written by Mr. Russell, who, as he says, acted under special instructions of the Catholic members of the government, including Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

May I ask what is the hon. gentleman quoting from ?

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Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I am quoting from a return brought down to the Senate.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Of what year ?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Or was it a question put in the Senate ? Let me see-you will And it in the Senate reports of 1898, page 678 ; part of it is on that page and the rest of it is on another page.

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Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

Is the hon. member very sure it is a return brought down to the Senate ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I took it from a question asked in the Senate.

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Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

Is it from a speech made by Senator Landry ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Will my hon. friend (Mr. Brodeur) rise in his place and deny that such a letter was written by Mr. Russell ?

' Mr. BRODEUR. I put a fair question to the hon. gentleman. He said it was a return which had been brought down to the Senate, and he thus implied that it was brought down by the government. I ask him is it a return ?

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Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

And I found it was not a return, and I stated where it was to be found and what it was. But the point is not whether it was a return, or an answer to a question, or from a statement made by a senator-'the point is : Was that letter written by the right kou. gentleman as I read it ? If it was not written by him, the right hon. gentleman can now rise and deny it. Was the other letter which I have read written by his accredited and instructed representative, for whose expenses the Cana-, dian public treasury paid ? Was it written by him or was it not ? If the right hon. gentleman will deny it, then that settles the controversy ; but he does not deny it.

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Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I do not know anything about the letters my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) has referred to, but I do know that Mr. Russell's expenses were not paid by the Canadian public.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

If my hon. friend says they were not so paid, I cheerfully take that statement back, and I am very glad to do so.

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Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Why was It suggested ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EXTENSION OF THE BOUNDARIES OF MANITOBA.
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April 6, 1905