We have several times asked the question whether the government did not think, in view of the reducing population of the Yukon, that they could do with less men and less expense. It seems a pretty large item for policing that territory. if the population is about 10,000, it costs $10.50 a head for policing that country. When the police force was first sent there the population was very much larger
than it is now and things were supposed to be not in as high a state of civilization as at the present time. Do the government think it necessary to keep up such a large force (100) to look after about 10,000 people, and do they think that the expense cannot be reduced materially in a part of the country where we are told that the streets of Dawson are just as quiet as the streets of Ottawa, and where there is no more lawlessness and no more disposition to lawlessness than in the older settled portions of the country? If that is a fact it seems to me that we should be able to make some reduction in the number of the force and in the expense that is incurred in maintaining it.
I think it is quite true, and it is our boast that the streets of Dawson, Whitehorse and all the creeks in the Yukon are just as safe as are the streets of the city of Ottawa, but that is the result, I believe, of the presence of the police. If the police were not there I think the result would be very different and we could not hope that the streets of those placesovould be as secure as they are to-day. There are now 10,000 people in the Yukon, but it is a mining camp. Mining camps are not proverbially very orderly, and unless we have police the order may not be what it is today. At all events, that is our supposition and that is the representation which is made to us. We started in the Yukon with 300 men and we have reduced the force to 100 men. It is our intention to reduce it still further as we think we are justified in doing so. At the present time I do not know whether it would be justified or not. We have had no mail from the Yukon of late and we would not undertake to reduce the force unless we had had previous communication with the commissioner, Mr. Henderson. If we are advised that we can, with security to the territory, reduce the force ii is our intention to do so. At the same time I would remind my hon. friend that I would doubt the wisdom of withdrawing the whole force at the present time. The Yukon is far away from communication. At one time we had information that there was a party of desperadoes in Skagway that wanted to raid the territory and that was the first reason that induced us to send in the force. If that was the case, and I think there was good reason for so believing^ for self-protection it is advisable that we should not withdraw the force altogether at this moment but that we should reduce it as far as circumstances will allow.
While we may not take the force away entirely it does seem to me that it might be materially reduced without any great danger of a disturbance of the" peace. The minister says that mining camps are proverbially turbu-
lent. We have two important mining camps in Ontario, Cobalt and Gowganda. The provincial constables look after the policing of those mining camps, and we do not hear of any outrages being committed there any more than in the Yukon. Yet there is not one constable there for every ten, perhaps every fifteen, that there is in the Yukon. With the reduced population, and with the turbulent element largely gone, if we can believe the information which we have received from year to year, it does seem to me that it ought to be part of the duty and of the desire of the government to get an annual report from their inspectors on that phase of the question. There is in the Yukon a quasi form of government that ought to do a great deal in the administration of justice to relieve us of the necessity of maintaining a police force there. It is true, we have reduced the force from 300 to 100, but still it seems to me that the 100 is a large number of men to look after 10,000 people, if there are that number-because we are sometimes told that there are only
5,000 or 6,000 in that country. Does the force d,o any other material work that could not be done by civil officials? They used to collect the customs revenues, I think; are they doing that work any more than they did, or are they simply performing the duties of police constables?
My hon. friend will agree with me that there is no comparison whatever between the Yukon and Gowganda and Cobalt. The latter places are within easy reach of the forces of the government of Ontario in case a riot should break out. But if we had a riot at Dawson, unless we had a military force there, how could we assert the authority of the law? This consideration alone is, I think, sufficient to warrant us in maintaining the force there. We do not want to see a repetition there of the early days of California, when every man was his own constable. We must maintain law and order in the Yukon. I agree with my hon. friend that we should reduce the force when possible, and we are reducing it gradually. My hon. friend asks if the force continues to do the service it did at one time in collecting the revenue. We are gradually withdrawing it from that duty, and when we do that altogether, there will be less occasion for the number of men we have. I think we have reduced the force as rapidly as it has been possible to do it without jeopardizing the peace of the country.
Of all the great changes which have taken place in our great west, the one which causes the old timers the greatest regret is the passing away of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. For some time the withdrawal of the police from the centres has been going on, and we do not see them on our streets to-day as we did in former years. I personally endorse the policy the right hon. gentleman has followed, but I am sorry that we cannot see more of these men. They have done a great and valuable service in our country; they have served the country and served it well, and I am sorry that we cannot do more for these men than we have done. I am quite in accord with all the right hon. gentleman has done, and I support the vote.
I wish to point out a reason why the vote should be taken at the figure stated, even though later experience should show that the number of men mentioned in the vote is not required. In a country like the Yukon it is a very difficult thing to estimate a year beforehand what number of police may be required. At any time there may be a fresh discovery and an influx from the neighbouring portions of Alaska or from other places, of a population which would necessitate the presence of a large force of the police. I think in any case that when we are making an appropriation of this kind we should provide for a sufficient number of men to render the force capable of coping with any possible contingency that may arise.
Subsistence, forage, fuel and light, clothing, buildings, repairs and renewals, horses, dogs, arms and ammunition, medical stores, billeting, transport, water service, stationery and contingencies, $425,000.