February 17, 1914



Bill No. 72, respecting The Calgary and Fernie Railway Company.-Mr. R. B. Bennett. Bill No. 73, respecting The Canadian Northern Railway Company.-Mr. Currie. Bill No. 74, respecting The Central Ontario Railway.-Mr. G. V. White. Bill No. 75, respecting The Continental Fire Insurance Company of Canada.-Mr. W. H. Sharpe. Bill No. 76, to incorporate Les Soeurs de la Charite de 1'Ho.spital Saint Antoine de Le Pas.-Mr. Lavallee.


Right Hon. R. L. BORDEN (Prime Minister) presented a message from His Royal Highness the Governor General, signed by his own hand. Mr. SPEAKER read the message, as follows: Gentlemen of the House of Commons: I have received with great pleasure the Address that you voted in response to my speech on the occasion of the opening of Parliament. Arthur. Government House, Ottawa, 13th February, 1914.


Mr. ROCH LANCTOT (Laprairie and Napierville) begs leave to introduce Bill No. 77, amending the Judges' Act. He said: Mr. Speaker, the Act which this Bill is intended to amend provides in its section 19, that a judge after serving fifteen years on the Bench may be pensioned. The Bill which I now submit to the House provides that the word ' fifteen ' be struck out and words ' twenty-five ' substituted therefor. Under sections 20 and 24 of the Revised Statutes, and section 25 of the Act of 1908, embodied in the statutes of 1913, it is provided that a judge after reaching seventy-five years of age, or serving during a period of thirty-five years, though less than seventy five years old, may retire, and that in either case he is entitled to a government pension equal to the salary he earned at the time of his retirement. The object of this Bill is to amend that provision, so that instead of drawing his full salary 'the judge thus retired shall in the future draw a pension equal to only two-thirds of the salary be was drawing at the time of retirement. Should the judge have served for a period of less than five years, the pension shall not exceed one-third of the yearly salary he was drawing, unless such judge has reached the age of seventy-five. Under the new section 25 which I am moving, county judges having reached the age of seventy-five will be bound to retire. Besides I am submitting to the consideration of the House a further provision which will come in immediately after section 27 of the Revised Statutes of 1906, which further provision is to the effect that any person drawing a pension under such Act who later on draws a salary in connection with some public office in the gift of the Dominion Government, shall suffer a reduction of such salary equal to the amount of such pension . To conclude, a last section states that the provisions of the last section shall be applicable to whomsoever is drawing to-day such a pension.


Thomas Simpson Sproule (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I have not had an opportunity to look fully into this Bill, but in my judgment it is one which ought to be introduced by resolution. I notice that it provides a pension, which, I take it, would be paid under different circumstances from those specified by the general law on that subject. If so, it could only be introduced by resolution. Before the Bill reaches the second reading I will look fully into the matter.


Thomas Simpson Sproule (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)


It may be under different circumstances from those under

which a pension may be paid by law today.


Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


Mr. BORDEN laid on the table of the House a statement of the population of Canada according to provinces and territories in 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911, according to the census returns. He said: I observe in this that the population of Alberta and Saskatchewan, within their present limits are now defined, as set out in the census of 1901, according to a compilation that has been made by the Census Department, is to be found in the Canada Year Book of the present year. Of course, they were not constituted as provinces at that time, but the population within their area is set forth.


Right Hon. R. L. BORDEN moved second reading of Bill No. 62, to readjust the representation in the House of Commons. He said: I desire to offer just a few words upon the second reading of the Bill. When the Bill was introduced, I stated that it was precisely in the form in which the Bill of 1903 had passed Parliament. That is not precisely correct, because sections 7 and 8 as they appeared in the Bill of that time have been omitted from the present Bill. The reason for that is that those sections were repealed in the following year by a Bill which was introduced by Hon. Charles Fitzpatrick, Minister of Justice at that time, who in introducing the Bill made these observations: . The object of this Bill is to correct two or three errors which, through inadvertence or oversight, crept into the Representation Act of last session. Sections 7 and S of the Representation Act slipped into their present position in the body of the Act through error. They are taken from the Quebec Act, Revised Statutes of Quebec, chapter 2, sections 67 and 68, which define the provincial electoral districts. The intention was to insert these particular sections 6 and 7 where they ought to be, in the Quebec schedule. They have been incorporated in the body of the Act, which would make them applicable to the whole Dominion. Of course, this is absolutely impossible under the system of dividing constituencies as they exist elsewhere. As the sections had been repealed in the following year and were held to be inapplicable, for that reason they were not included in the Bill which I introduced a week ago to-day. Upon the introduction of the Bill, my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. E. M. Macdonald) raised a question as to the effect of subsection 4 of section 51 of the British North America Act, which is as follows: On any such readjustment the number of members for a province shall not be reduced unless the proportion which the number of the population of the province bore to the number of the aggregate population of Canada at the then last preceding readjustment of the number of members for the province is ascertained at the then latest census to be diminished by one-twentieth par or up war!'. And it has been suggested that in giving this section its effect there should be no reduction in the representation of the Maritime provinces and possibly of Ontario, under the results disclosed by the last census. I regret as much as any hon. gentleman in this House the necessity that the provinces mentioned shall lose representation in this House, and, as I assured my hon. friend from Pictou on the occasion alluded to, I would be only too glad if I could find such assistance or aid from this section as would do away with the necessity for reducing the representation as it is proposed in the Bill. I fear, however, that there is no such assistance to be derived; and the question as I understand it may be illustrated by a concrete example. Let us suppose that a certain province in Canada, to which is applied the unit of representation as defined by the population of Quebec, finds itself confronted with the loss of one or more members. It is necessary to consider the effect of subsection 4, to see whether or not there is any sufficient safeguard in its provisions. In order to avoid long and complicated fractions, let us suppose that such province finds itself in this position: that at the -last preceding readjustment the proportion which the number of the population of that province bore to the number of the aggregate -population of Canada was one-tenth. And suppose that upon the readjustment under consideration it is found that the proportion which the number of the population of the province bears to the number of the aggregate population of Canada at that readjustment is one-twelfth. The question then is as to the meaning and effect of subsection 4. If you reduce these proportions to a common denominator, you will find that at the preceding readjustment the proportion was six-sixtieths, while at the readjustment under consideration it is one-twelfth, or five-sixtieths. As I understand the meaning and effect of the section, there is a reduction from six-sixtieths to five-sixtieths in the proportion which the population of that province bears to the aggregate population of Canada. Therefore, I would consider-and this is the view that has been taken on all occasions in the past, as I understand-that the proportion which the population of that province bears to the aggregate population of Canada has been reduced, in the suggested case by one-sixth, that is, from six-sixtieths to five-sixtieths. The argument, as I understand it, which has been put forward in contradistinction to that is this: that inasmuch as the proportion in question at the previous readjustment was six-sixtieths and at the present readjustment is five-sixtieths, the proportion in question has been reduced by only one-sixtieth; but I think that upon the slightest consideration it will be found that that contention cannot be sustained. At the former readjustment the proportion stood at six-sixtieths, at the readjustment in question it stands at five-sixtieths, and therefore the proportion, according to my view, has obviously been reduced by one-sixth or more than one-twentieth, and therefore the province finds no aid or'assistance in the provisions of subsection 4 of section 51 of the British North America Act. I went into the general subject somewhat fully in introducing this Bill; therefore I do not find it necessary to add anything further at this stage.


Rt. H@

Ere we come to a final conclusion upon the second reading of this Bill, perhaps it would not be inadvisable if we should endeavour to lay down the principles which should guide the committee which is entrusted with the'task of recasting the electoral map of Canada, so as to give each one of the provinces which now are a part of the Dominion the representation to which it is entitled according to its population ascertained at the last census. I shall be pardoned, although the article has been cited more than once, if I call the attention of the House to the provisions of. section 51 of the British North America Act which is the basis of all the dispositions which affect representation under our system. The language is somewhat peculiar, and I commend it to the attention of the House:

On the completion of the census in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, and on each subsequent decennial census, the

representation of the four provinces shall be readjusted by such authority, in such a manner, and from such time as the Parliament of Canada from time to time provides, subject and according to the following rules.

I need not cite the rules, but I call the attention of the House to these peculiar words:

The representation . . . shall be adjusted by such authority, in such manner and at such time as the Parliament of Canada from time to time provides. ,

These words have been a puzzle to many of those who have studied our Constitutional Act. It has been difficult to ascertain from the mere context of the Act what was meant by the fathers of Confederation when they used these words: ' By such authority as Parliament from time to time provides '. The debates of the Legislature of Old Canada, when the basis of the Act was debated at Quebec, fail to give any indication of what was meant by its framers. Nothing that was said or written at the time discloses what was the inner meaning of these words. Although I have read somewhat extensively the history of that period, I have not been able to satisfy myself what was the peculiar object which the framers of the constitution had in their minds. Many have suggested -it has been suggested on the floor of this House more than once-that this clause of the Act meant that Parliament should create an independent body, say a c m-mission of judges, to make after every census the apportionment of the representation between the different provinces. Although this opinion has been expressed more than once on the floor of this House, up to the present time neither one party nor the other has been willing to part with the authority that is vested in this Parliament. Neither one party nor the other has been willing to transfer to any other hands than its own the duty and responsibility which devolve upon Parliament after all to determine what shall be the representation in this House.

We have had, since Confederation, four Redistribution Bills; this is the fifth. The three first were made under the auspices of the Conservative party, and the fourth was made under the regime of the Liberal party. Since my right hon. friend has adopted the principle which we laid down ourselves in 1903, I am anxious, at the present time, to avoid anything contentious; but I think I may say without any recrimination that, as a matter of history the three first redistributions, that of 1872, that of 1882 and

that of 1892, which were carried out by the Conservative party, failed to give satisfaction to the minority, and I think I am justified in saying that in many instances they failed to give satisfaction even to the whole of the Conservative party. The method which was followed was to bring in a Bill which was cut and dried and in the preparation of which the minority, tlie Opposition in this House, had no voice. They had nothing to do but offer criticism or approval; they were not allowed any voice whatever in the preparation of the measure.

When we came into office it became our duty in 1903, after the census of 1901 to provide for a redistribution of the representation. We thought it preferable to introduce a new system, and we presented a Bill with a schedule in blank, leaving to a Committee of the House the full work of preparing the map which it is the duty of Parliament to prepare. The committee was composed of seven members, and on that occasion, as on the present and similar occasions, of course, the majority must have the deciding voice. No one can object to that; it is a part of our parliamentary system. The system will work well if the majority on the committee will be guided, not by a desire to have an advantage over the minority, but simply by the principles of equity, justice and fair play. I am aware that in the committee which was appointed in 1903, there were sometimes very severe cleavages of opinion and some very hot discussions; but I think I can claim, to the credit of the committee, that when its report was presented to the House it was, after all, in the main, accepted as fair. So far as my recollection serves me, and I think I am right in what I now state, there were only two dispositions of the report which were very severely criticised. One was the disposition which had been made for the representation of the county of Hastings and the other was the disposition which had been made for the representation of the county of Waterloo. There was an animated discussion on the floor of this House. It was then my duty, my privilege and my responsibility to be the Prime Minister, and while I was not perfectly satisfied that the objections were well taken, I thought that it was better to err upon the side of generosity, and we accepted the views of the minority and amended the Bill accordingly. I think I can say-and I am in the judgment of the House in this-that from the day on which His Excellency the Governor General of that time gave his assent to that Bill down

to the present, there has been no serious criticism-indeed, no criticism at all-as to the fairness of the redistribution of 1903.

The same duties are now confronting the committee who are going to be appointed. 1 have every confidence that, following the precedent which was laid down then, they also will be guided by the spirit of fair play, justice and equity as between party and party. I know that upon the members of the majority of the committee there will always be, as there has been in the past, severe pressure, not so much from within this House as from outside of this House, perhaps, to have the scales weighted on the side of the majority rather than on the side of the minority. That is nothing but natural; but, I believe that events have justified our expectations, and that nothing is to be gained except by the application of the principles ot justice and fair play in the preparation of a Bill such as that we have now in hand.

In the work which is to be accomplished by the committee, I might say a word as to the principles which should guide it. My right hon. friend, in introducing the Bill, insisted upon the position which I have taken, both in opposition and in office, as to the guiding principle which, in my judgment, should be dominant; that is, the equalization of population as between constituency and constituency. My right hon. friend quoted some words which I uttered in 1892, when the Bill of that year was before Parliament, as follows:

But I fully recognize that in such a measure the guiding principle should he as far as possible to equalize the population in all the constituencies.

I have nothing to retract of those words. Nay, more, I am sorry that my right hon. friend did not quote to the House what I said further on that occasion, because I reproached the Administration that whilst laying down a principle they were not acting in accordance with that principle. This is what I said:

The hon. gentleman stated, also speaking in answer to myself, that he could not accept the proposal we had made for a conference, because he said I had laid down a principle which was an obnoxious one, and to which he could not agree; the principle, as he stated, I think, that the redistribution should take place so as not to disturb the equilibrium of parties. It may be, Sir, that my language was not sufficiently guarded ; but I certainly meant to say that in a redistribution measure the equilibrium of par-, ties should not be disturbed at the expense of one party by giving an unfair advantage to the other. So far I meant to express myself, and no further. But I fully recognize that in such a measure, the guiding principle should be as

far as possible to equalize the population in all the constituencies. This is the principle that was stated as the guiding principle of this measure in the speech in which the hon. member introduced it; yet this principle is not to be found anywhere in the four corners of the Bill.

I have nothing to retract from what I said there. That was the principle, which, when afterwards loaded with the responsibility of office, I endeavoured to carry out, and that is the principle which, as in 1892 and 1903 I affirm to-day. There is another principle of almost equal importance, and that is regard for the compactness of the constituency, and, as far as possible, for the county unit. Under our system, the county is the unit of population, so far as public life is concerned. Let me repeat: the county and the municipal organization in this country is the unit of population in so far as the public life of the country is concerned. The county is the basis of our judicial system; it is the basis of our municipal system; and our municipal system and our judicial system are in turn the bases of our public life, our political life, I may say our national life. The selectmen in every county have to meet several times a year for-the discharge of their judicial functions as jurors and their municipal functions as municipal councillors, and at these meetings they prepare themselves for the public life of the country. They discuss not only the matters pertaining to their Judicial or municipal functions, but naturally the larger questions which concern national problems. It is evident that this predisposes men to proper and safe judgment upon all matters of public interest. It seems to me obvious that if you interfere with the lines of the county unit, separate those who meet periodically for the discharge of their municipal and other duties, and provide that they shall only meet once in four or five years to decide on political questions, you detract from, rather than add to, their appreciation of public questions.

These views have been put before Parliament more than once since Confederation by the most eminent men we have had in this House. Mr. Blake made them the subject of many a pronouncement, and Mr. Dalton McCarthy, who was an authority upon such matters, not only spoke many times on the question, but moved the following resolution in which was embodied the principle which I now contend for:

That the distribution of seats of the members of this House should, so far as practicable, be based on equality of population, due regard being had to the community of interests existing in localities, a full and fair expression of public opinion and the permanence and stability of constituencies.

That the most effectual way of accomplishing these ends is to assume county and city boundaries as the natural limits of electoral districts, with equitable divisions thereof constituted with compactness as regards geographical position, and based on well-known existing areas where the population entitles the city or county to two or more representatives.

I am aware that the principles which 1 lay down cannot be applied mathematically. In the equalization of population it is not possible to have arithmetically the same number of people in each constituency. I am well aware also that you cannot with absolute rigour maintain the municipal boundaries; but I submit to the House that while it would be pedantic to assert that these principles have to be applied without any exception whatever, still reason and commonsense can be made to prevail. There are few rules to which there is not an exception; but the principles I now lay down ought to be the guiding principles for the committee in the discharge of the duty with which we now entrust them.

I am aware also that it has been stated in the press and in this House that our practice has not been in conformity with our precept in this regard. I have heard it stated that on more than one occasion we ourselves departed from the principles I have just laid down. I have heard it stated on the floor of the House that in the Bill of 1903 we departed from the principle of county boundaries in the case of Lavaltrie, Caughnawaga, Lacolle, Notre Dame de . Stanbridge, Notre Dame des Anges, St. Pie, St. Marcel. It is true that in the Act of 1903 the parish of Lavaltrie was taken from L'Assomption and placed in Berthier. It is true also that the village of Caughnawaga was transferred from the county of Chateau-guay to the county of Laprairie; that the parish of Lacolle was transferred from Mis-sisquoi to St. John-Iberville; that the parishes of Notre Dame de Stanbridge and Notre Dame des Anges were transferred from the county of St. John to Missisquoi; that the parish of St. Pie was transferred from Rouville to Bagot, and that the parish of St. Marcel was transferred from Bagot to Richelieu. But I say now that the transferring of these different parishes from one county to another county in 1903, far from being a departure from the county unit, was, on the contrary, in absolute conformity to the principle of the county unit, because these parishes, by the redistribution of 1892, had been transferred from the county to which they belonged to another county.

I should say here that our county organization in Quebec goes back to the year 1833. With a few exceptions which have taken place since it was constituted in the year 1853 by the Act 16 Victoria. By the Act of 1892 the parish of La-valtrie was taken from the county of Ber-their and placed in the county of L'Assomp-tion, with which it had not connection whatever. Lavaltrie continued to belong to the county of Berthier for municipal purposes,, for judicial purposes, and for electoral purposes, so far as the Quebec legislature was concerned. So that after 1892 the parish of Lavaltrie voted in the provincial elections in the county of Bel'thier and in the Dominion elections in the county of L'Assomption. In 1911 we brought back Lavaltrie to the county of Berthier, where it belonged. The same thing happened with the village of Caughnawaga. This village, by the Act of 1853, which is reproduced in the consolidated statutes of Lower Canada of 1861 was in the county of Laprairie, and in 1892 it was placed in the county of Chateauguay. In 1903 we brought it back to the county of Laprairie, where it belonged.

The same thing happened with the town of Lacolle. Lacolle always belonged to the county of St. John. In 1892, it was taken from St. John to Missisquoi, and in 1903 we brought it back to St. John.

The same thing happened in the case of Notre Dame de Stanbridge and Notre Dame des Anges. They belonged to the county of Missisquoi and they were carried over to St. John in 1892. We brought them back in 1903 to Missisquoi. [DOT]

The most glaring case of all was the parish of St. Pie. From 1853 it had always belonged to the county of Bagot. In 1892 it was taken from Bagot and put into the county of Rouville, where it had no business at all. In 1902 we brought it back to Bagot again.

St. Marcel in 1892 was taken from the county of Kichlieu and put into the county of Bagot. In 1903 we brought it back into the county of Richelieu where it belonged.

The parishes of St. Guillaume d'Upton and St. Bonaventure d'Upton by the Act of 1903 were placed in the county of Yamaska, Up to that time St. Guillaume and St. Bonaventure had always belonged to the county of Drummond. Why did we place them in 1903 in the county of Yamaska, where they now belong? The reason is this. As far back as 1872 an Act was passed by the local legislature of Quebec to detach these parishes from the county of Drummond and district of Arthabaska, and to

annex them for all purposes whatsoever to the county of Yamaska. This is the disposition :

1. From and after the first day of January, 1S73, the parishes of St. Guillaume d'Upton and St. Bonaventure d'Upton shall be detached from the county of Drummond and district of Arthabaska, and shall be annexed to the county of Yamaska for all electoral, municipal, registra tation and other purposes.

Mark the purposes:

For all electoral, municipal, registration and other purposes.

From the first of January, 1873, the two parishes of St. Guillaume d'Uptoii and St. Bonaventure ceased to belong to the county of Drummond and were annexed to the county of Yamaska. From that time, these two parishes voted in the provincial elections in the county of Yamaska, and continued to vote in the Dominion elections in the counties of Drummond and Arthabaska. Following the principle of county unit, the legislature of Quebec having thought it proper to annex these two parishes to the county of Yamaska, to which they belonged geographically much more than to the county of Drummond, we thought it equally right that these two parishes should belong to the county of Yamaska also for federal purposes.

The parish of Ste. Flore has also been mentioned. As to this, I have not the same information, but I understand that the parish of Ste. Flore was in 1903 detached from the county of Champlain and put into the county of St. Maurice. I do not understand why it was in the county of Champlain, because the county of Champlain is bounded on the west by the river St. Maurice, and Ste. Flore is to the west of the river St. Maurice, so that between Champlain and Ste. Flore there is the river St. Maurice, and naturally, geographically and for the sake of compactness, Ste. Flore has belonged to the county of St. Maurice.


Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)


There was another parish left west of the river-St. Jean des Piles.


Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)



I understand that. I have not been able to refresh my memory as to why that was done, although I know that it was done. I know that the committee made a suggestion which was corrected by the House, but, so far as I remember, Mr. Monk, who was a member of the committee, did not object at the time. I speak subject to correction, because I have not had an opportunity of looking again into this point.

We have endeavoured to follow the principle of county unit in every case. Of course, there may be exceptions to all rules. If there is such an exception, it is the only one on which I have been able to refresh my memory and, even if there is such an exception, it would only go to maintain the principle for which I have all along contended and for which I still contend, that we should always preserve the county unit.

The task of the committee is not an easy one. The committee will have these two principles to work upon: first, equalization of population between constituency and constituency, and, secondly, maintenance of county boundaries. I have no doubt whatever that occasions may arise when these two things may clash, and then the committee will have to come to some decision as to what to do under such circumstances. In the majority of cases, however, there ought to be no more difficulty in maintaining the principle in 1914 than there was in 1903.

There is another principle which must also be taken into consideration, and to which my right hon. friend alluded when he introduced this Bill, that is, that the unit of population cannot be the same in urban as in rural constituencies. It has always been admitted, in 1872, in 1882, in 1892, and in 1903-that the unit of population cannot be the same for cities as for rural constituencies. It is useless for me to dilate upon the reasons why this should be so, because the principle has always been admitted by both sides of the House. Therefore I am satisfied that, on this occasion as on previous occasions, the committee will have to adhere to that principle, and to say that in the cities the unit of population must be much larger than in rural constituencies. Without going into all the reasons, there is one supreme reason, namely, that in a country like Canada, where there is a very large territory with a sparse population, if you were to give the same unit of population to cities and counties, in rural constituencies you would have such a large area of territory as to be almost impossible to control or to cover. This is quite sufficient to justify the principle which has been adopted on every occasion on which we have had redistribution.

My right hon. friend, in this Bill, has refrained from making one provision, the absence of which seems to me a weakness in the Bill, and, I cannot but think, also a weakness on his part. He refused to

determine whether or not the Island of Prince Edward is to lose a member. He left that blank and referred it to the committee for determination. I have to represent to my right hon. friend that that is a matter upon which the committee cannot have any jurisdiction; it is a matter on which this House has no jurisdiction. Parliament in this matter is not a free agent; the whole question is simply a question of arithmetic. The very argument which my right hon. friend makes to-day in answer to the suggestion offered by my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) is an answer for the action-or rather want of action-with regard to Prince Edward Island. The right hon. gentleman stated categorically that he would like to give more representation to Nova Scotia than is given under this Bill, and I have no doubt that he did spend many an hour trying to escape the neces- [DOT] sary result of the census, the loss on the part of Nova Scotia of two members. That is quite natural. I have had in my day the same problem to deal with; but we had to come to the conclusion that we had no discretion in this matter-that Parliament must simply carry out the constitution as it stands. But when my right hon. friend leaves it to the committee to determine whether or not Prince Edward Island shall lose one member, what will he say to my hon. friend from Pictou or any other member from Nova Scotia should he suggest that it be left to the committee to determine whether or not Nova Scotia shall lose two members? What will he say to a member from New Brunswick should he ask that the same privilege be accorded to that province? What would he say even to the great province of Ontario, which under this Bill must lose four members, should a representative of that province ask why Ontario should be treated differently from other provinces? I say in this matter jurisdiction is not with the Prime 4 p.m. Minister, nor myself, nor the Committee, nor even Parliament; it is a matter of the law and the constitution; the provision of that constitution must be maintained whatever the consequence. Therefore I regret that my right hon. friend has introduced in his Bill a principle-no, I cannot call it a *principle, but rather a vicious feature- which might land him in very serious difficulties were its necessary implications followed to their logical conclusion.

Having taken this exception to the pro-

visions of the Bill of my right hon. friend -and it is the only criticism I have to offer-I will submit just one suggestion upon which I believe we can find it more easy to agree, and that is that the committee should be composed, not of seven, but of nine members. Under former redistributions the West had not the importance that it has since taken on. We have two more provinces in Confederation than we had even in 1903. We have four natural units of population-the Maritime provinces, Quebec, Ontario and the provinces west of lake Superior. I would suggest, and I hope my right hon. friend will receive that suggestion favourably, that the committee should have nine members, >so that we on this side may have four, one from each of these great sections of our country.

Having said this much, I have nothing . to add at present. Of course, I am glad my right hon. friend has taken the course of referring this matter to a committee. The work, then, is no longer in his hands, or in mine, or even in those of the House. The committee will have to seek our ratification of their work. I have every hope that the two sides of the House will be able to reconcile their differences, and that all members will be inspired by the sincere desire to make this Bill what it ought to be, a law to carry out the spirit of our constitution, and that spirit is that our system of representation should be so framed that, as elections take place from time to time, the results may be, as far as possible, an accurate expression of the public mind at the time, regardless of who wins and who loses.


Edward Mortimer Macdonald


Mr. E. M. MACDONALD (Pictou):


think the importance of this measure warrants the attention of this House to a little greater degree than would be given if the present debate were to close at this juncture. My right hon. friend who leads the House has proposed, to submit to a committee the task of filling the schedule in the Bill which at present is blank. The task thus referred to the committee is one of very great responsibility, and involves the recognition of certain rights which it is well, I think, that the House should in some degree define before the committee enters upon its duties. My right hon. friend and leader has directed the attention of the Prime Minister to a very important provision in the enacting clauses of the Bill in regard to the province of Prince Edward Island, and the effect of

that provision upon other provinces which might be affected by the comparison of population provided for under section 51. Perhaps it would not be out of place -to look for a moment at what rights and powers Parliament has in this matter, and what special limitations are laid down in the British North America Act with regard to this whole question of representation. The first section to which I will refer is section 40, which begins as follows:

Until the Parliament of Canada otherwise provides, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, shall, for the purposes of the election of members to serve in the House of Commons, be divided into electoral districts as follows:

And the special electoral districts in Canada in 1867 are set ont in detail in the Bill. The - language of this section is important, because, unless there is some limiting clause to be found in sortie other portion of the Act, the phase 'until the Parliament of Canada otherwise provides' under the 'implied powers' principle in the interpretation of constitutional laws, means that the powers of Parliament would he enlarged, and would extend not merely to increasing and reducing representation in this House, but to dealing with cases where specific provinces that have not kept pace with the rest of the Dominion in the increase of population.

However, there" are other clauses which deal with this matter which must be looked at. If you come to section 52 of the British North America Act, a section which is but very seldom referred to in the consideration of this question, you will find that there is a certain limitation upon the general power given in section 40 in the following language:

The number of members of the House of Commons may be from time to time increased by the Parliament of Canada, provided the proportionate representation of the provinces prescribed by this Act is not thereby disturbed.

Interpreting that section, it will be found that in addition to section 40 there is this limitation, that Parliament can increase the total of its representation if you have regard to the proportions provided in section 51 of the Act; but it cannot decrease the total number of that representation by any special Act of Parliament unless that decrease is brought about as a result of the application of section 51 of the Act. The power, therefore, to increase the total representation of this Parliament exists in Parliament; but the power to decrease that total representation does not exist unless

it is worked out as a result of the application of section 51.

We come now to section 51 of the Act, which is the governing clause so far as the right of Parliament to deal with this question is concerned, having regard, to the general provisions of section 40, and we must move within, and can only move within, the power conferred and the limitations laid down under that particular section. One does not need to refer to this sub-clause of the Bill, you have the number for Quebec fixed at 65, and thereby determine the electoral unit for the whole Dominion. You ascertain what the representation of each province in the Dominion is by dividing that electoral unit into the population of the respective provinces. When you come to subsection 4 of the Bill, you come to the saving clause which is intended to prevent the loss of representation by the application of the electoral unit to the population of each province; and unless you can work out under the provisions of subsection 4 of section 51 of this Bill some right by which the provinces of Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island on this occasion will be saved the loss of their representation, it is impossible for a committee of this House or this Parliament, as a matter of law, to give to any one of those provinces any more representation than what you can obtain by working out this plan. If the right does not exist under subsection 4, it is not of much use for the right hon. gentleman to submit a Bill in blank and send it to a committee and ask it to be filled in, because the action of the committee would be wholly illegal and improper. So would the action of this

Parliament if we undertook to give to Prince Edward Island or to any other province a greater number of members than the number ascertained by the application of that section. I say that with the greatest possible regret, for the reason that I am convinced that a province like Prince Edward Island, maintaining its individual entity as a province, with all the paraphernalia of government which attaches to a province, occupying the insular position which it does, having its peculiar rights on account of that peculiar position, would naturally ask for some recognition of its peculiar rights in the parliaments of the Confederation. But if we can find no power to give to that province the representation which it now enjoys, it is impossible for us to give it to that province in 54

any other way. That this has been recognized by Parliament in the past to be an absolute rule will be found in the Act of 1892, which was the last Act introduced by hon. gentlemen opposite when they had to do with the question of representation in this country; and if you look at the preamble of that Bill you will find a declaration made by Parliament that the question of representation of those provinces had been fixed and determined unalterably in the following language;

Whereas by the census of the year 1S91, and in accordance with the British North America Act, 1867, and certain other Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and of the Parliament of Canada, the province of Manitoba is. by its present population entitled to seven members in the House of Commons, the province of Nova Scotia to twenty members, the province of New Brunswick to fourteen members, and the province of Prince Edward Island to five members respectively.

There you have the legislative declaration of the fact that the number of representatives of these provinces which then constituted the Confederation had been definitely and positively determined as the result of the then last census, and that it was not for Parliament to alter or to interfere with the result of the calculation. That was a legislative declaration made in an Act of Parliament in 1892 and it stands to-day as a matter of law and constitutional practice and of right, as positive and certain as it did at that time. So I submit it is impossible for us, much as we regret it, to consider under the law the possibility of filling in the words of this Bill so far as the province of Prince Edward Island is concerned, with any larger numbers of members than what she may be entitled to under the provisions of section 51 of the British North America Act.


Frank Broadstreet Carvell



You have as good a

right to make it six as four.


February 17, 1914