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


Henri Sévérin Béland



Ontario can match her alleged intolerance against the boasted tolerance of any people on earth. It is an outrage that such a province with such a record should be the recipient of lectures on toleration from the bigots of Quebec.
Well, let us see if it is true that Ontario can match her tolerance against the tolerance of Quebec. In Ontario the Protestant population is 1,800,'000, and the Catholic population 390,000. On that basis the Protestants of Ontario are entitled to 72 members in this House and the Catholics to 14 members. Wbat is the representation in reality ? Seventy-nine Protestants and seven Catholics, just one-half of what the Catholics are entitled to by their population. These are the figures, irrespective of parties, for they include all the 80 menu bers from the province of Ontario.
But this is not all. Let us take the Dominion as a whole, and see how the representation stands. According to their population, the Catholics are entitled in this House to 87 members, and we have how many ? Seventy-two. I hope that my good friend who publishes the Toronto ' Telegram ' will publish these figures, which are exact, being based on the census of 1901. That would be only an act of justice on the part of the ' Telegram,' instead of misrepresenting the people of the province of Quebec, as it has done in the past.
I wonder, Mr. Speaker, what the average man of Ontario thinks when he reads such articles as are published to-day in the Toronto newspapers ? I wonder if the average farmer of the province of Ontario has ever been taught in his school-I hope he has-what the Catholic clergy have done for this country of ours. I wonder if he has been taught that that same clergy have rendered eminent and inappreciable services to the British Crown during the last 140 years, especially in the acute and critical days of early British rule in America. I wonder if he has been taught that, if he has been informed of the Catholic clergy's unshakable loyalty to the kings and queens of Great Britain since*fate went against us on the Plains of Abraham. If the good farmers of the province of Ontario were taught that the Roman Catholic clergy in the province of Quebec have resisted time and again temptations and inducements to take part in agitations for annexation; if he were taught in his early days what education in the Roman Catholic colleges and universities has done towards supplying this country with men who have gained distinction in literature, in the professions and in agriculture, and. who, every one will admit, will stand comparison with those of any other country; if he knew that the great idol of Ontario, the late Sir John Macdonald, declared on a memorable occasion in the city of London, that amongst the most faithful subjects of Her Majesty in (Canada were to be ranked the French

Canadian Catholic clergy and population; if he were taught >
in the schools these things, I would have no fear for the result, and' would be confident that he would resist any malicious appeals, because he is a moderate man and a man who ponders well before he acts.
Mr. Speaker, I am about to close-I have detained the House longer than I Intended, but I find .1 must claim your indulgence a little longer. I say it is of vital interest, admittedly, that the citizens of this country should not lose sight of their rights but it is far more important that they should not overlook their duties. To sum up my idea, this is the inevitable conclusion to which we must arrive, that the efforts of statesmen and public powers shall always be vain and fruitless if they are not founded' on the spirit of good faith and toleration; on that broad spirit of Christianity, vivify-i ing hundreds of thousands of firesides throughout this great land. That spirit of toleration and mutual forbearance between creeds and nationalities in the great west as well as in the older portions of our bei loved country, will alone give that social,, intellectual, moral and material foundation, without which no nation can rise to permanent greatness.
Let us not shelter ourselves under the flimsy parapet of legal technicalities ; and if ever doubt should enter our minds, ifi our path should appear full of difficulties, let us rise to the great responsibilities of our office with courage, justice and a spirit of fair-dealing. Let us ignore both the zealot and the bigot, and plant our feet in the solid ground of honourable compro-i mise. Let us above all remember that this is a land, unparalleled, perhaps, and certainly unsurpassed for its immense resources,1 and its future possibilities, to which we invite the civilized nations of the old world,' and if we desire to be a true nation, a worthy product of the 20th century, we must be prepared to sink and melt our individual differences in the warm rays of the sun of justice and liberty.

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