April 5, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

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Mr. R. L.@

BORDEN (Carleton, Out.) I have very little to say in respect of what has fallen from the Prime Minister. I am glad to know that the Prime Minister to-day has not adhered to that reticence which has characterized him on similar occasions in the immediate past, and I suppose that it might be fair to assume, that if he had as good a case with respect to the ignoring of his Minister of the Interior and his Minister of Finance in regard to Important measures as that which he has made today, with regard to the matter with which he has dealt, he would have given us an explanation that has not yet been made with reference to the introduction of this Bill without even consultation with these two gentlemen. It is gratifying to
know that although two members of his own government could not be consulted with regard to the provisions of this Bill, the Postmaster General has been so strenuous in his advocacy of the rights of his province of Ontario that the ministers of that province had to be consulted. However, there is an old proverb that charity well understood begins at home, and possibly the rights of ministers to be heard with regard to important matters to be dealt with by parliament may be extended not only to the provincial ministers of Ontario, but to ministers of this very administration.

I do not know anything about the letter of the 23rd of February which has been referred to to-day except that I received a telegram only this morning from the attorney general of Manitoba, who evidently had observed that this letter had not been included in the documents brought down, and he asked me to mention the matter to the Prime Minister and to see that it was brought down with the other documents. That is the only knowledge I have with regard to it and it is quite evident that Mr. itogers and Mr. Campbell were thoroughly under the impression that that letter had not only been sent, but had been received by the Prime Minister. Assuming that that letter was written and should have been received it seems to bear out very strongly the view which Mr. Rogers had expressed in the interview alluded to by the Prime Minister. He says :
Sir, as we find it necessary to leave Ottawa to-morrow, we desire to refer to our interview of Friday, the 17th, respecting Manitoba's claim for extension of her boundaries westward and northward, when you were good enough to suggest that if we would come here for two or three days you would he in a position to give us an answer respecting same.
Theyr remained here not only two or three days, hut as the letter shows until the 23rd of February, and they departed without receiving any answer or any intimation beyond that. But they received an intimation from His Excellency Monseigneur Sbar-vetti which has been dealt with by the Prime Minister and by Mr. Rogers in his interview. As to that I have nothing to say to-day nor have I anything to say with regard to the whole situation, although it may afford an opportunity for a little more debate later on. It seems to me that the explanation of the Prime Minister which has been made in consequence of the interview with Mr. Rogers might well have been made at some earlier date. My right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) is surely not unaware that in two very important journals, one of which at least is in very close touch with the administration and is supposed to have been controlled up to a day or two ago by a very prominent member of this administration, this very reason has been put forward. I would think that when a distinct rumour of that kind is heralded throughout the length and breadth of this country it might have been well for the Prime Minister at an earlier date to take an opportunity of contradicting that which he has so strongly contradicted to-day. He knows that every prominent journal in Canada has published words which are to be found in the Northwest ' Review,' in the later part of February or early in March and which are as follows :
Two Says after the ' Telegram ' had trumpeted abroad the Hon. Robert Rogers' great hopes for the western extension of Manitoba, the same wise and prophetic journal deplores the
fact that there will be no such extension in any direction. But it omits to give the reason thereof. The only obstacle to the territorial expansion of our province is its iniquitous and cruel school system. Not even the wildest corner of any unorganized territory will consent to saddle itself with such a tyranny. Manitoba must he content to remain small and mean so long as it maintains its small and mean school policy.
That Is a pretty direct statement. In so many words it says that until Manitoba niters its schools policy it shall not have Its boundaries extended in any direction. That or a similar statement in the press was brought to the attention of the House and my right hon. friend paid some attention to it' then, but did not pay attention to it in this connection. I have observed his words carefully. He said there was no intention on the part of this administration to attempt any remedial legislation with respect to schools in Manitoba, but I did not observe in my right hon. friend's remarks on that occasion any suggestion that the statement I have read was absolutely without foundation, may I observe to the right hon. gentleman that it might have been better in the interests of the whole country that some such utterance as that which he has made to-day should have been made in consequence of the statement in the press to which I have referred ? In a journal, controlled as it is said-I know not with what truth-by a member of the administration until within the last two or three days, the same statement is made in very specific language, and it is right to observe also that this journal claims to be the special mouthpiece of the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). He has disclaimed that and I accept his disclaimer to the full. He says he is not interested in that journal, hut the journal itself declares that it is the organ of the Liberal party, and that it is under the direction and absolute control of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. That journal has said :
The school legislation of the little province

That is the province of Manitoba.

is not of a nature to attract immigrants
who people the districts. The Northwest has its separate schools, Manitoba has abolished them.
Every good act has its reward, every had act its chastisement.
Manitoba will remain lowest with her pretentious law.
A little before that the same paper says :
In proportion to her big sisters Manitoba will count as little more than a large county.
In view of these suggestions, they are more than suggestions, in view of these direct statements, one of them made by a journal supposed to be under the control of a very prominent member of the administration, and claiming for itself to he under the absolute direction and control of the

right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) in view of aill this, might I not respectfully inquire whether it would not have been well for the right hon. gentleman on an earlier occasion than that which he has selected to have made to the country the statement which he has made to-day.
I have nothing to say with regard to the position which is said to have been assumed by His Excellency Monseigneur Sbarretti. He is not in any sense responsible to this parliament, he is responsible only to his ecclesiastical superiors in authority. The only persons who are in any way responsible to this parliament are the government of this country, and I thought that my right hon. friend to-day might have gone a little further than he did go. He knows as well as any of the rest of us, that it has been rumoured throughout this country, not only rumoured but stated in the public press that there were negotiations with His Excellency with regard to education in the Northwest Territories if not in Manitoba. My right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) did not see fit to touch that question at all to-day and I suppose when he thinks a proper occasion arises he will deal with it, but in the meantime I may call his attention to the fact that the statements to that effect are being made in the press of the country ; upon what authority I do not know. All I do know is
this, that when statements made in a very much less direct manner, and on very slight foundation were current in 1895 and 1.89G, with regard to the Conservative administration of those days my hon. friend was always ready to come forward and ask for ministerial explanations and if necessary to move the adjournment of the House in order that they might be discussed.
In view of the attitude which he saw fit to adopt ten years ago, we might have expected that he would have gone a little further to-day when he called the attention of the House to these circumstances. As I said before, the matter may perhaps require to be discussed a little further. I was not j aware that the right hon. gentleman intended to bring it up to-day in this somewhat extended form. If necessary, it may be brought up and discussed on a future occasion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   WILFRID LAURIER.
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