In the clause as it now stands there is no reference to the school lands. There is a reference to the distribution of public moneys, but my hon. friend did not ask about that, he asked about school lands.
I oppose the Bill because in my opinion it is unconstitutional, it is a matter That should be left wholly and entirely to the new provinces to deal with. 1 have not said nor will I say one word against separate schools. I live in a town with a population of about 4,000, of whom about one-third are French and Irish Roman Catholics. We have no separate school there. We had a separate school there 25 or 30 years ago when it was a small village containing about 1,000 inhabitants. We then had a public school and a Roman Catholic separate school, but the Roman Catholics themselves closed up their school, and ever since their children have been going to the public school. I have heard the archbishop of Kingston when laying a . comer stone, saying: We must have a
separate school. But we cannot have one in Gananoque because his own people are better satisfied with the public school and they cannot establish a separate school because the Roman Catholics themselves will not have one in our town, and this is the history of Ontario generally, there are very few separate schools, because our public schools in Ontario are national, and not a word is said in them which is offensive to the religious opinions of any child attending them. It is not so with the public school in Quebec. No Protestant can send his child to the public school in Quebec on account of the religious teaching given there, but it is not so in Ontario and the Catholics know it, and they support and approve almost unanimously the public schools of Ontario and send their children to them. I cannot approve of nor agree with the statement of the Minister of Finance and the exMinister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton). I have made a proposition to let the lawyers on both sides of the House get together and frame an amendment embodying their speeches and I am satisfied if that is done, the Orangemen of Ontario will be satisfied with it because as I have said it is a pure^ ly national school. Because these gentlemen know that it means a great deal more than this is the reason why they are trying to force the measure through the House. But I propose opposing it because in my opinion it is unconstitutional and being unconstitutional I feel it to be my duty to vote against the Bill and in favour of the amendment of the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. I.. Borden) who as I stated before, is in my opinion the best legal authority we have in this country. In his speech he gives it as his opinion that the measure is unconstitutional and that the matter should be left to the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan to deal with exclusively.
It is not contemplated that any announcement will be made until the conclusion of the debate on this Bill, but it is expected that it will follow at a very early stage after this matter is disposed of.
That is what I wished to ask about, whether the Budget will be delivered before the Bill has passed the committee stage. The hon. gentleman, I understand, has not come to a decision on that and is not prepared to make an announcement on tuat question.