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


Robert George Macpherson



No occasion whatever. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) says that a commission was appointed by the Conservative government to inquire into this question. Did that commission consist of men from the west, or of men from the east, who are not in sympathy with the idea of putting on a head tax ? The hon. gentleman is conversant with the history of Canada for the last twenty-five years, and he knows that that commission was composed of men living in the east. I looked over the report and I failed to find a solitary straight-forward statement asking that a head-tax be imposed or an Exclusion Act passed to keep these people out of British Columbia. I am not finding fault with the commission. They may have reported according to the evidence they took. But the people of British Columbia still clamoured, for the redress of their wrongs. Then the present government come into power. The hon. gentleman asked me if I remembered a telegram that was sent to British Columbia. 1 do, and I was glad to see it. It told us that the wishes of the members from the west should prevail there. It took some time. But for my part I am prepared to accept a reform when I can get it. It was a pretty hard pull. If the hon. gentleman
was sitting on this side lie would understand the difficulties that face a government in this matter. He knows very well the opinion of the people in the east and he would have to deal with members of the government some of whom, perhaps, had given many hundreds of dollars to spread the gospel, among the Chinese, men raised in the same school as the hon. gentleman and who think it pretty hard that these people should not come into this country. Besides, these hon. gentlemen have the responsibility of government upon them. There is not one man in ten living east of the Rocky mountains who looks upon this question as we do. And for the simple reason that they are not up against the proposition as we are. They do not see their sons driven out of the country by the competition of these Chinamen. They do not see, in a kitchen, where a white girl should be working, a long tailed greasy Chinaman. They look at this question in the abstract.

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