September 23, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


The hon. gentleman is not well informed on parliamentary more than on any other history of his own country. If he were he would know that when the Mackenzie government were in power there was nothing done to keep out the Chinese, and that the first attempt was made by the government of Sir John Macdonald, which imposed a poll tax of $50. That government afterwards appointed a commission to get information on which the House could act intelligently and independently, and that information is in the possession of the present government: and the House. The hon. gentleman said that he was instrumental in getting the $500 poll tax imposed, but every member from British Columbia could say the same thing. All were instrumental individually. But whether they were instrumentally, individually or collectively, it was only in a very tardy way and at a very late hour that the present government carried out their express promise to the people of British Columbia. Does not the hon. gentleman remember the celebrated telegram that was sent out to the Pacific coast when the government desired to have one of its supporters elected, that, whatever the desire of the people in regard to the Chinese question was, it would be carried out. The government candidate was elected, but the promise on the strength of which he had been elected has not yet been carried out. The people of British Columbia asked the exclusion of the Chinese, and. assuming that the government were honest and intended to carry out their wishes, they expected to see the promise of the government fulfilled. But that promise was not fulfilled, and it is only lately that the government have made a move in

the direction the hon. gentleman referred to, by putting on a tax of $500.

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