April 26, 1905

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

comes to the House, as my hon. friend knows very well, the House is not bound by the advice of the Minister of Justice and my hon. friend (Mr. Henderson) does not follow his advice very often. I think then the criticism of my hon. friend with regard to the absence of the Minister of Justice is not well founded.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Hon. gentlemen opposite are taking different views from those which they entertained in days gone by. ' When the position of Solicitor General was created it was with a view to his assisting the Minister of Justice in matters of this kind, that the House might have the benefit of their opinion. That was the view of hon. gentlemen opposite who were then on this side of the House when that office was created, so it is rather surprising to find this change of front.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

I do not think the duty of the Solicitor General is to advise the House of Commons. I would be much surprised if that was the reason given when the office was created. I always understood, although there is no definition of the duties of the office, that the Solicitor General was simply called upon to argue cases in which the government was interested.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I am going to take the part of the Minister of Justice as I did a moment ago, although my view of the situation did not seem to be appreciated by hon. gentlemen opposite. Although the Minister of Justice does not advise the House of Commons, he advises the government and the government guides this private legislation. My hon. friend (Mr. Borden) shakes his head. He is so new a member of the government that he does not understand the workings of the department. Does he not know that these private Bills go to experts in the different departments ? Certain of them which relate to banking and commerce always go to the experts in the Department of Finance. Does he not know that the government undertake certain duties with regard to them ? Does he not know that where questions which require legal advice arise in connection with Bills they are always placed before the Minister of Justice or the Solicitor General ? I am not making any criticism myself upon the Minister of Justice, although he has given a very good opportunity to my hon. friend from Halton to make a certain retort to an observation of his the other afternoon, but I think it is just as well that we should have the opinion of the law officers of the Crown upon any question of tin's kind which arises. I remember very well hearing Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons in connection with the Government of Ireland Bill giving simply one answer and making one justification when lawyers on different sides of the House were making strong arguments pro and con with regard to a section of that Bill. He said : The

government are simply bound to abide by the opinion of the law officers of the Crown and that is all there is about it.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The Government of Ireland Bill.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

A public Bill certainly. But as I have pointed out the government have duties with regard to private legislation. If the minister looks at any book on parliamentary government he will see that. Otherwise why go through the form of having these private Bills submitted to the experts in the different departments V It is in order to see that in matters concerning the public interest, as this does, the legislation shall be in such shape as will best conserve the public interest.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It seems to me rather strange that the government should not look at the legislation in this House. That is the object of having a government. When a Bill of this kind appears before the Railway Committee it is the Minister of Railways who objects to certain clauses and his expert Mr. Collingwood Schreiber is always there with him. He is there for two reasons ; first to see that there is nothing in the Bill which conflicts with the government's policy or aims and that the Bill is in accordance with the usual principles of such Bills. The government overlooks these Bills at every stage and the law clerk of course goes over them as well. This is all under the direction and control of the government, because the government is responsible for all legislation which passes this House ; whether it be a private or a public measure, it makes no difference.

Progress reported.

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SECOND READINGS.


Bill (No. 139) respecting the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway and Navigation Company.-Mr. Duncan Ross. Bill (No. 140) respecting the Northwest Coal and Coke Railway Company, and to change its name to the Great West Railway Company.-Mr. Galliher. Bill (No. 141) respecting the Ivaslo and Lardo-Duncan Railway Company.-Mr. Galliher. Bill (No. 145) respecting a patent, No. 69772, of the Underwood Typewriter Company.-Mr. Grant. Bill (No. 146) respecting certain patents of the Underwood Typewriter Company.-Mr. Grant. Bill (No. 137) respecting the Kingston, Smith's Palls and Ottawa Railway Company. Mr. Galliher. 3ill (No. 143) to incorporate the Owen Sound and Meaford Railway Company.-Mr. Telford. Bill (No. 144) to incorporate the Fessenden Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada.- Mr. Telford. Bill (No. 136) to incorporate the Anthracite Coal Railway Company.-Mr. Galliher.


PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.


House resumed consideration of the proposed motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the second reading of Bill (No. 69) to establish and provide for the government of the province of Alberta, and the amendment of Mr. R. L. Borden thereto.


LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. A. A. WRIGHT.

When the House took recess at six o'clock, I was referring to the most excellent advice given by the hon. member for East Toronto (Mr. Kemp), in the ' Globe ' and other Toronto newspapers, to the government to open a constituency and see whether the people were in accord with them on this Autonomy Bill. I referred also to the success which had met this appeal to the people of Edmonton. My hon. friend from Durham (Mr. Ward) undertook to explain how it was the good people of that constituency had given such an unmistakable expression of their opinion by returning the hon. the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) by acclamation. The reason was, he said, because sixty per cent of the people in that section are Roman Catholics. But if sixty per cent of the people of that section belong to that faith, and if, during the thirty long years in which they had been enjoying the splendid advantages given them by the separate school system now in operation in the west, they had acquired such an amount of common sense and intelligence as to return the Minister of the Interior by acclamation, I think that is one of the strongest arguments in favour of the continuance of that system. That system cannot surely be other than a good one which instils so much common sense, foresight and sterling wisdom into the minds of the people.

There is one factor which, I think, should not be lost sight of, and that is this. When the good news reached the city of Edmonton that the mantle of the ex-Minister of the Interior had fallen on the shoulders of so worthy a representative as Mr. Oliver, they came to the conclusion that it was only just and right that they should give the new minister a reception worthy of the occasion. And they did so. They turned out in magnificent force. Thousands of the stalwart voters of that constituency, thousands of tht^

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

When did the hon. gentleman (Mr. Wright) change his opinion?

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LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. A. A. WRIGHT.

Well, I may explain

that to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Ingram) before I get through. I did not know that I had given my opinion to the hon. member or any body else on this subject, but I purpose giving it now, and I am not ashamed or afraid to do it, either. Now. the question is, why do I support this Bill? I support it, in the first place, because the Prime Minister and his government, having carefully considered the clauses of the British North America Act and of the Act of 1875 which established the Northwest Territories, have come to the conclusion that power was constitutionally given to the Northwest to establish separate schools. And, looking at the history of those Territories for the last thirty years, I find that they have been in the enjoyment of these separate schools. I find also that everybody who took part in the enactment of this Act of 1875 thought that the establishment of separate schools was a permanent thing. That being the case, I think we should act in good faith and maintain that system, especially when it has resulted in so much good. I believe that nations should have the same respect for their word that an individual has. And when a man gives his word he should stand by it. I believe with Voltaire who in his history of Charles XII., of Sweden, informs us that he could not see why a nation's word should not be as true as the word of an individual. We have promised the people of the Northwest Territories that they should have the privilege of separate schools, and surely we are not going back on our word. Another reason why I believe this Bill should be passed is that it secures good public schools to the people in the Northwest Territories. You may call them separate schools, but in reality they are public schools. The hon. member for Souris (Mr. Scbaffner)-I think it was- stated that he did not want these schools to be called separate schools, but to be called two sets of schools.

Mr. Speaker, I was engaged in teaching for a good many years. I taught, fitst of all, in the province of Ontario. And now I would ask the hon. gentleman who asked me why I changed my mind to pay particular attention to what I am about to say. I attended the normal school in Toronto and took out a first-class certificate there. I taught school in tlyi province of Ontario for three years. I then decided that I would go to the province of Quebee and take a course in the French language and see what kind of a system of schools they had there. Before I went to Quebec I had a terrible idea of separate schools. I had the same idea of

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them as the most arrant Orangeman. It had been dinned into my. ears all my days that separate schools were dangerous and that we should have nothing to do with them. Well, I went to the normal school in the province of Quebec, passed my examiuation and took out my certificate as a teacher in that province. And I taught school in the province of Quebec for four years. Then it was that I began to see that that separate schools as they existed there were not as bad as I had thought they were. The separate schools seemed a different thing as I saw it in Quebec from what I thought it was when I saw it in Ontario. I saw that the people who enjoyed the advantage of separate schools in Quebec would hardly know what to do without them. And when I taught in one of those separate schools and saw what difficulties we should have to contend with if we had no separate schools. I began to see that the system was not such a bad thing after all. And I thought that if the Roman Catholics in Quebec give even-handed justice to the Protestants of that province, we Protestants in Ontario should do no less for the Roman Catholics here. And we are doing it. Having had a long experience in teaching, there is one thing I wish above all others, and that is that our children should have a first-class common school education. And I believe that if this Bill is passed the children in the Northwest Territories will have an education of that kind. I have no belief 'in the words of Pope: A little learning is a dangerous thing Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring. I I believe that even a small amount of education is a good thing for anybody. If they cannot have a great deal of education, let them have what they can get. If one of our boys or girls has the benefit of a common school education and then will read regularly one of our influential daily newspapers he will become an educated man. He may not be highly instructed in some of the specialities, but he will be a man well qualified to fit himself for any walk in life. This is what I want, that every boy and girl who lives in the Northwest Territories and in those new provinces which are to come into the union on the 1st of July next, shall have a first class education so that they can go out into the world qualified to occupy any walk in life. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that this school system which they have adopted in the Northwest Territories is one of the best separate school systems, if you can call it so, that is to be found in the world. We live here in a mixed community, and there has got to be a certain amount of respect for one another's feelings. We do not all worship at the same altar, we do not all believe in the same doctrines. We Protestants believe that the main things our children should 1584 be taught are the usual scholastic subjects taught in schools ; the Roman Catholics believe that a certain amount of attention should be given to teaching the Christian religion. Now, if they believe that and are sincere in it, and are willing to pay for such teaching to their children, why should we not allow them to have schools of that character? Now, here in these Northwest Territories is a system of schools to which I cannot see there should be any objection. It is in reality a national school every hour in the day except from half past three in the afternoon until four o'clock. Now, Sir, I want in particular to draw attention to a description which has been given of these schools by the ex-Minister of the Interior when he was speaking on this question, and I am particularly desirous that this description should go on record in my speech in order that my friends who will read it may know the reasons why I support this Bill. The ex-minister spoke as follows : My hon. friend the Minister of Customs discussed the matter with great clearness 'last evening, and read from the ordinances to give the House a definite idea of what the condition of affairs was. Let me give what I conceive to be an accurate resume of the provinces which are in force and carried out by these ordinances. Here are the ordinances as described by the ex-Minister of the Interior: We have one normal school with uniform normal training for all teachers, and when I say all teachers, I mean teachers of all schools, separate and public ; uniform curricula and courses of study for all schools of the same grade ; uniform text books for all schools whatever ; uniform qualification of teachers for all schools whatever ; complete and absolute control of all schools as to their government and conduct, by the central school authority set up by the legislature under the ordinances ; complete secularization of all schools between 9 o'clock in the morning and 3.30 in the afternoon, except that any school, if the trustees so desire, may be opened with the Lord's prayer ; distribution of the legislative grant to all schools according to educational efficiency on principles set out in chapter 31. Then, where there is a public school, the minority, Protestant or Roman Catholic, may organize a separate school ; but every separate school is subject absolutely to all the foregoing provisions, and is in every sense of the term a public school. If the Protestants are in the minority in a district, their school is called a separate school ; if the Catholics are in the minority in a district, their school is called a separate school ; hut both are public schools. They are absolutely similar save for one distinction : where the trustees are Protestant, there is Protestant teaching from half-past three to four, and where the trustees are Roman Catholic, there is Roman Catholic teaching from half-past three to four. That is absolutely the only distinction between these schools.



Now, Mr. Speaker, I c-aunot for the life of me see liow the people in tlie Northwest can do anything else than support such a school system as that. This class of schools has been in operation now for thirty years, it was instituted by the people themselves, it has been voted upon and approved as it now stands, ever since 1892. It has given the very best of satisfaction, and the people say themselves that if it were left to them to decide they would continue this identical system. Now why should we not allow them to do so, especially when we find the system itself so excellent? Now we are told by people in Toronto and other places that the people in the Northwest Territories do not want these schools, that there is a terrible state of excitement in the Northwest. Well, Sir, I would like to give you a little evidence of how the people in the Northwest look at this subject, and I will read a letter which has just appeared in the ' Globe ' from a gentleman in the Northwest. He is one of my constituents and has lived in my constituency for many years, but at present he is travelling on the road. The letter is written by Mr. A. B. Howe. He says : I have been in the west-meaning British Columbia, the Territories and Western Manitoba-since the new year, visiting the lodges of our brotherhood, the Maintenance of Way Employees on the Canadian Pacific Railway- Mr. Speaker, I do not feel able to go on any further ; I regret that I shall have to stop. Mr. [DOT]CAMPBELL moved the adjournment of the debate. Motion agreed to. Your committee recommend : 1. That the services of H. R. Fiset, a member of the staff of translators of the offcial report of the debates be dispensed with and that his salary he paid him up to the 30th instant. 2. That the chairman of the committee be authorized to employ, in a temporary capacity, the services of a substitute to replace Mr. Fiset, and that such substitute be paid during the time he is employed as translator at the same rate as that paid the other members of the staff. 3. That the necessary authorization he given the committee to appoint an additional proof reader on the staff and that the said appointment and remuneration, viz., $1,500 per annum, date from the 1st May next. 4. That with a view of expediting the printing of the French edition of the debates the services of a competent person be secured to superintend the printing of the edition in question. All of which is respectfully submitted.


HONORE GERVAIS,

April 26, 1905