June 21, 1905

L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

I listened very carefully to the statement made yesterday by the First Minister as well as to the statement made by the Minister of the Interior. I

have also listened to the statements made by the hon. member for Calgary (Hr. M. S. McCarthy) and the hon. member for Montreal (Mr. Ames), and I am bound to say that no hon. gentleman can read the statements of those four hon. gentlemen and come to any other conclusion than that the figures given on the two sides are as far apart as Australia is from Canada. And yet the right hon. First Minister tells us that he wants to listen to other arguments from this side of the House before he answers the arguments advanced yesterday. If the right hon. gentleman wishes to shorten the debate on this question, the best plan he can adopt is to answer early in the debate the statements made by hon. gentlemen on this side of the House in order that other hon. gentlemen may not find it necessary to prepare themselves to prolong the debate. Surely the government ought to be ready to point out to the opposition in what respect the statements made by the hon. member for Calgary and the hon. member for St. Antoine are wrong. That can be done if the government is right; but any one reading the statements of the four hon. gentlemen who spoke cannot come to any other conclusion than that they) derive, their information from entirely different sources ; therefore it is necessary that some explanation should be made by the government. This is an important question ; and the idea of the government coming down with these two important measures, and having only the meagre statements made by the right hon. the First Minister and the hon. Minister of the Interior, is something I have not noticed in this House before on a serious question of this kind. In the case of our general distribution, we had more satisfaction than this. We are treated in a contemptible manner by the government on this question, and I am surprised at the course taken by the right hon. the First Minister on this occasion.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

The surprise of my hon. friend from East Elgin (Mr. Ingram), who is generally fair, is my own surprise. I am very much astonished at the surprise he manifests. When he says that there is a serious discrepancy between the figures furnished by the government and those furnished by my hon. friend from St. Antoine, I take direct issue with him. I say there is no serious difference at all between the figures furnished to the House by myself and my colleague of the Interior ai#d those furnished by the hon. member for Calgary and the hon. member for St. Antoine. This is a very plain statement; let us verify it. I said yesterday that we based our information upon the number of votes recorded at the last Dominion election, the number of votes registered for the same, and the figures of population in the census of 1901. These were three, not all, of the sources of information upon which we proceeded. The number of votes re-248*

corded, as I obtained it from the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, was 20,962. These figures- were not disputed. According to the statement given to me by my hon. friend from Calgary, for which I acknowledge his courtesy, the number of votes recorded in the last- election in the different constituencies of Alberta, with the exception of Peace River and Atkabaska, is put at 20,700, a difference of 262. Is there any very serious discrepancy there ? With regard to the number of votes registered in those constituencies, the figure I gave was 29,950, while the figure given to me by my hon. friend from Calgary was 30,077, a difference of 127. The addition in the one case was made by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery from the books of the votation furnished to him; the same books were furnished to the hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House, and they made their own addition ; yet the results correspond, with only the small discrepancies I have mentioned. Another source of information is the population according to the census of 1901. ~ I gave the population for these various constituencies at 69,441. Up to the present moment I have not seen these figures challenged. Therefore, I say there is no differeuce or dispute as to the figures on which we base our division. I shall have further remarks to make on this subject, but for the moment I simply call the attention of my hon. friend from East Elgin to the fact that practically there is no difference between the figures given on one side and on the other.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

My right hon. friend has been good enough to state the difference between the figures given by himself of the number of votes polled and the figures given by my hon. friend from Calgary. But the figures in regard to the number of post offices, the number of homestead entries and the number of school districts, have not yet been explained.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I want to keep to the discrepancy which my hon. friend alleged. He said we had given false information, which had been disputed. I ,said we had not. There is no discrepancy -whatever. There are other sources of information. We proceeded to make up our minds also on the basis of the number of school districts, the number of post offices and the number of improvement districts. I have not seen the statements or the accuracy of the figures disputed ; different conclusions have been drawn from them, that may be and I will come to discuss that directly. At the present moment I want to say-and I want this fact clearly put before the House- that so far as the figures brought down are concerned, there has been no dispute between the members on the two sides of the House. We have drawn conclusions from different sources. For instance, I said yesterday and repeat to-day one source of information which we took in order to arrive

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at the conclusion to which we arrived, was the number of post offices and the number of school-houses. The reliability of such information was questioned ; it was claimed that it did not give a fair, accurate statement of the population, and as another source of information the member for Calgary (Mr. M. S. McCarthy) quoted figures of the trade of the north and soutli and also the number of chartered banks which had offices in the north and south. From such sources of information he was led to his own conclusion, but I repeat again that so far as the information we have given to the House is concerned, it has not been disputed.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

The right hon. gentleman draws his conclusions from the number of votes polled. The Minister of the Interior claimed that that is a proper source from which to make the delimitation. Evidently that view is supported by the First Minister. The statement made by the member for Calgary (Mr. M S. McCarthy) is that owing to certain difficulties amongst the ranchers in the southern part of Alberta at the time of the general election of November 3, 1904, many men engaged in ranching were obliged by reason of an order issued by the government to absent themselves from the polling divisions at which they would have a right to vote and by reason of this thus absenting themselves the number of votes polled in the south was less than it ought to have been or otherwise would have been, bad it not been for the order issued by the government. But, on the other hand, in the north we have the statement made that more votes were polled than were on the voters' lists. Therefore the northern part of Alberta derives a greater benefit from calculating from the number of votes polled, by reason of the fact that more ballots found their way into the boxes than there were names on the voters' lists in the north while the percentage of votes cast in relation to the number on the list in the south was less than it should be, as I have said by reason of the men having to be absent to obey the order of the government or lose their cattle. Is that a correct statement of fact ? If it is then If you take the number of votes polled you are not doing a proper thing for the south as against the north. That is unfair if that statement is true and I have not beard it contradicted.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I do not dispute the statements which the hon. member has made ; I know nothing about it. There would be something in the argument if the source of information and the only basis which we had before ns in coming to the conclusion had been the recorded vote. When my hon. friend says there have been more votes cast than were on the lists that may he but there is nothing illegal in that.

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L-C
LIB
LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir AVILFRID LAURIER.

These men were entitled to vote all the same ; it is perfectly lawful, and we therefore took the number of votes recorded. It may be that in the south as alleged some ranchers did not record their votes. That could not be a large number, I do not know the reason but I am prepared to look into the question from a broader point of view than that. It seems to me that is a small way ot looking at it. I am willing to give to the hon. gentleman the benefit of everything there is in those figures which I have quoted. I have taken these figures and they tell against us in some instances and against the hon. gentleman in some instances ; we have to take them as they are and to come to the best conclusion with such information as we have. I stated yesterday at the opening of the discussion that we took as the basis of the distribution which we made, the condition of things existing at the present time, the number of seats assigned to the province of Alberta in the present legislature of the Territory which amounts to 16. First of all we had to increase that by 10, we had to give to Alberta 10 more seats than there are to-day in the legislature of the Northwest Territories within the limits of Alberta. How are we to come to that conclusion ? We come to that conclusion upon information derived from three sources which we submit to the House to be challenged. We take first the number of votes recorded. We do not say to the House that this is the only thing we should take into consideration ; we say that is one thing which ought to be taken into consideration but not alone. AVe take next the number of votes registered ; we do not say that is the only thing to be taken, that is only one of many things on which we should form our judgment. Then we take the census of 1901. That is the best thing of all. If we had a census for 1905 we would not have to consider the number of recorded votes nor the number of registered votes, nor the number of .post offices, school districts or improvement districts ; we would take only the census for 1905. But we have no census of 1905 and therefore we have to make up our minds as to what is the actual population at the present time. We know that the population at the present time is double what it was in 1901, and we have to make our calculation accordingly. But though the population has doubled, I think it is only a fair suggestion that we must find a wealth of information in the census of 1901. AVe say moreover that we think this is something to go on, not the number of post offices, school districts and improvement districts. I will try to deal with the question as fairly as I can and give to the hon. gentlemen the benefit of these figures wherever they tell in their favour, and I shall ask them to give us the benefit whenever they tell on our side. I followed the speech of my hon. friend from

Calgary (Mr. M. S. McCarthy) with great attention yesterday. He made a very earnest speech from his point of view, but, when we have simmered the underlying thought of the speech of more than two hours which he made yesterday-and if 1 say two hours it Is not by way of reproach ; he had a task to perform on behalf of his constituents, and I do not blame him, quite the contrary-but the underlying thought which you find in every line, every word and every syllable of that speech is that this objection is taken to the distribution which we have placed upon the table of the House from one point of view only ; not because the constituencies are unfair towards each other, not because there is an unfair advantage given to one over the other, but simply because there is not in the south the number of seats which ought to go to the south. That is my hon. friend's point.

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Mr. M. S.@

McCarthy. Hear, hear.

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Mr. M.@

iS. McCarthy. The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) was the first to suggest the north and south division by proposing township 38 as the dividing line.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I believe it was neither the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) nor my hon. friend from Calgary (Mr. M. S. McCarthy) who first suggested that division. It was suggested, if I may say so, from other quarters. Some time ago, -when the question of the selection of the capital was brought to my attention, I was asked to take Red Deer, as a point midway between north and south. This is an idea that is running in the minds of my hon. friend and others. He is but re-echoing that which is in other minds. But, for my part, I am sorry that any matter of so great moment should be looked at in so narrow a way. Again I repeat, the divisions should be as warranted by population.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I see I have properly interpreted it. My hon. friend has taken the division of Red Deer, townsmp 38 as the point of division between the north and south. There are 23 divisions in old Alberta according to our new plan of distribution. Eleven are north of Red Deer, and 11 are south of Red Deer, and the point mT hon. friend has made was that there should be 15 south of Red Deer and 10 north of Red Deer, that is including Red Deer. Let us see whether there is anything to justify that or not. First of all I am very, very sorry that in a matter of this kind it should be reduced simply to a point of argument whether or not the seats should be put in the north or the south. For my own part I discard all that ; I do not consider whether they are to be in the north or the south ; they are to be placed wherever the population warrants it. That is the onlj argument, I think.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Is that accept ed ? I am more than delighted to hear it is accepted, and if it is there should be no more discussion.

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?

Mr LAKE.

I understand the minister to mean that there should be a fair distribution of population between the different seats .

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LIB
CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

How much margin would the Prime Minister allow ? There must be always a certain margin, would he say o per cent or 10 per cent.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I do not know what my hon. friend means by 10 per cent. I am willing that he should take all the comfort he can out of the figures I am going to place before him. He wants the division between the north and the south apparently a sort of Mason and Dixon's line, in the Northwest.

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June 21, 1905