February 27, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative


I raise my protest because the proposal about to be made here is of a most far reaching character. Not only the school lands of Manitoba, but the whole educational fund of that province, is to be changed by a general Act, which must follow from what was said here the other day. I draw the attention of the right hon. gentleman to this. If these important changes are to be made on the lines laid down by him, then it follows that remedial legislation is in order as concerns Manitoba. The argument is an a fortiori one. Remedial legislation must follow, and it will be introduced in this House by the right hon. gentleman who warned the coun-Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.
try against such legislation eight years ago. There is this prospect for Manitoba, that all her schools lands are, in every probability, to be diverted this very session of parliament to other purposes than those to which they are devoted to-day by a general Act amending the Dominion Lands Act. Furthermore the Manitoba school funds are to be diverted by legislation which must follow as a logical sequence from the statement made the other day. Logically the right hon. gentleman is bound to introduce a Bill remedying the school grievances of the minority in the province of Manitoba, and yet these very so called grievances are due to the Minister of the Interior of this government and his friend (Mr. Greenway) who, I am told, is to be his immediate successor in this government. It was to give these hon. gentlemen an opportunity here to repudiate this language, to say they could not be parties to any such legislation, that I brought this mattter up to-day ; and in all probability the absence of the hon. the Minister of the Interior from this House ever since the beginning of this session and the absence of the hon. member for Lisgar, (Mr. Greenway) to-day are due to their desire to shirk their manifest duty in connection with this matter. The hon. the Minister of the Interior was here only for a moment the other day, and his absence no doubt is due, as well as that of the other hon. gentleman, to what is in the immediate future in store for them. If what was foreshadowed the other day is to happen, it must follow that those school lands are to be diverted from their present purpose and a Remedial Bill introduced this session, and the party, which claims to be the defender of provincial rights from one end of the country to the other, is to-day doing nothing to prevent the shackles being put on the provinces of this great and free Dominion. These provinces are to-day free, ahd my right hon. friend must know that if there is one thing which the people who breathe the free air of the prairies, the people of the great west, value, it is their political liberty ; and if the right hon. gentleman insists on shackling these people in connection with the dispossession of their school lands, he will make a great mistake. He apparently does not understand the genius of the western people if he thinks that by aid of any constitutional argument, he can interfere with the school lands of the province of Manitoba. I leave the case for the present but may have to return to it.

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