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


John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)


Very well. We have never advanced that far in Ontario, and I do not think it would be worth while to offer that inducement because there would be very few to take advantage of it. Ontario has her lands, mines, and minerals and without them that province would have been starved years ago. Every year Ontario has found it necessary to sell from her timber limits and her Crown lands and to obtain large sums out of her mines and minerals. Notwithstanding that so far as we in the opposition during many years were concerned we never were able to find a surplus. It is true that the Liberal government always claimed they had a surplus, but that surplus was mythical as mythical could be, and when the books are now thoroughly audited it will be proved that not only has the province not a surplus, but that she is millions of dollars behind. What advantage is it for the new provinces to have borrowing powers if they have no security to offer ? Had it not been that Ontario could obtain a revenue from her natural resources, years ago that province would have been face to face with direct taxation which is the greatest calamity that could possibly happen to any people, province or country, and under this Bill that calamity is bound to overtake the new provinces. Manitoba has control of her swamp lands which in time will become most productive, and from them she derives a large income. Why should Manitoba have the swamp lands and the new provinces be denied them ? I venture to say that in the near future these provinces will be found coming here demanding better terms and putting up such a strong case that better terms will have to be granted no matter what government is in power. At this late hour of the night I will not speak as long as I had intended, but I shall for a short time discuss that vexed question of separate schools in the new provinces, which is to-day agitating the mind of the people in this fair Dominion as no other question has for many years. It is a question which will live, and which will continue to increase in importance, at all events until free and independent electors of Canada will have 125J
an opportunity to make themselves heard on it. We have had the legal aspect of this question discussed day after day and while no definite decision has been arrived at, nobody will deny that if the government had not seen fit to insert the separate school clause, there would have been no agitation and the people of the new provinces could decide on the question according to the dictates of their conscience and in their own best interests. It is not necessary to discuss here whether we are in favour of separate schools or not. I am glad to say that I am in accord with a number of those on the other side of the House wTbo have announced that they are not in favour of separate schools. The Minister of Finance has told us that he is opposed to separate schools ; the member for Edmonton told us, as he stated many times on the public platform that he was opposed to separate schools. He is an old war horse \yho fought for provincial rights in the past, and who stated that he would never consent that separate schools should be inflicted on the Northwest Territories, but now he has changed his mind, like many others, in order to save his party. For my part I would be sorry to deprive any people of their just rights, but the people of the new provinces themselves know best what rights should be respected. It has been argued that because we have separate schools in Quebec and Ontario there should be separate schools in the new provinces, but let me point out that they have no separate schools in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba or British Columbia. We have Manitoba on the one side and British Columbia on the other, free to regulate their schools, and these two provinces wedged in between them, with separate schools forced upon them for all time to come-a state of affairs which I think never should have existed.
The difference between the separate schools in Ontario and Quebec and those in the new provinces in this. By the consent of both parties, by an agreement entered into by Quebec and Ontario, after due consideration, separate schools were established in those two provinces in perpetuity, and the government was embodied in the British North America Act. That is a very different position from the position occupied by these two provinces. When they obtained their territorial rights they were in their infancy ; they were the wards of the Dominion government. They had no voice in the settlement of the school question at that time. The system was provided for in the Bill of 1875 after much discussion, both in this House and in the Senate. An amendment was moved, I think by the late Senator Aikens in the Senate, but was defeated by a small majority. It was then that those memorable words, of which so much has been made, were uttered by the Hon. George Brown, to the effect that in providing for

separate schools In the Territorial Bill, they were establishing them for all time to come. He did not wish to imply that they would have to be placed there ; but, being a far-seeing man, he knew that the fact of that provision being made would be used for the purpose of perpetuating separate schools in those provinces ; and it is well known that he was always opposed to separate schools. Now, what guarantee have we that the separate schools in these two provinces will continue as they are at the present time ? I submit that we have no guarantee. We find that the provisions of the Bill are very hazy, so much so that lawyers might place very different interpretations upon it ; and the ordinances only guide the Territories, but do not ensure the schools as they now exist being continued for all time to come. While no great hardship may be experienced at the present time, it will certainly be a hardship to the majority in newly settled districts to maintain two weak and sickly schools where there might be one vigorous and healthy school. The Territories have no guarantee whatever that these schools will remain for all time to come as they are at the present time. I suppose they could change them for a system of schools similar to what exists in the province of Ontario to-day. According to a judgment given by Mr. Justice McMahon some three months ago, there are one hundred and five teachers teaching in the separate schools of Ontario to-day who have never passed a legal examination. This is a serious state of affairs; and yet these teachers are going on teaching month after month. It is true they have appealed the case to a higher court, and I suppose it will ultimately go to the Privy Council. These teachers are now teaching contrary to the law, except that the late government gave them permits to teach until a decision of the higher court could be obtained. Many of these teachers are not educated. It is said that many of them are priests, who are educated ; but many are iadies and others who have had no training whatever. The law with regard to separate schools in Ontario has been changed in many ways. For'instance, the law provides that all taxes paid bj corporations must be used for the support of the public schools ; but a private Bill was passed providing that the Sturgeon Falls Pulp Company should divide its taxes between the public schools and the separate schools. If that state of affairs can be brought about in the province of Ontario, why could it not in these new provinces ? The Minister of Customs endeavoured to make a point against the government of the Northwest Territories, particularly against Mr. Haultain, when he used these words :
Talk about Mr. Haultain not having been consulted. He was consulted frequently, but if he had never been consulted or if no Northwest member had ever been consulted, I ask what better indication can you have of the desire Mr. BARR.
of the people of the Northwest Territories than their own legislation ?
The legislation to which the Minister of Customs referred was a law of the Northwest council, of which Mr. Haultain was the head, particularly a law based on tlie school law which was handed down to them from this House. The law set forth that there should be an advisory board composed of not less than two Catholics and four Protestants. But it is only an advisory board ; it is not clothed with any power except to advise the Minister of Education, and he can change the regulations at any lime ; so that we might have a very different state of affairs in the near future from what we have at the present time. To my mind it seems most extraordinary that the exMinister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) was not consulted and more extraordinary still that he himself did not make it a point to be present at the cabinet meetings when this matter was being decided. He well knew that these Bills were being prepared and he should have made it his duty to impress on his colleagues and the right lion, gentleman the necessity of having them passed upon by him before they were finally drafted. In not taking this action, I submit he was recreant to his duty. I submit that he did not do what was expected of him by the people of the Northwest. It is indeed extraordinary that on the subcommittee of the cabinet which undertook to frame those Bills, there was only one representative from Ontario while there were three from Quebec. Mr. Haultain, the premier of the Territories was not consulted, and Mr. Rogers from Manitoba informed us to-day that neither was he consulted, and we must conclude that it was decided by two or three representatives from Quebec that this clause No. 16 should he embodied in these Bills. It is evident that the First Minister took upon himself to bring down these Bills and force them through the House without consulting his colleagues, proving beyond doubt that we have to-day in this country a one man government. Let us for a moment look at the position occupied by this government to-day as compared with the one they took in 1896. In the election of 1896, the position 1 admit was a unique one. The late government was endeavouring to force on this House remedial legislation against the province of \Manitoba. The right hon. gentleman, who was then leading the opposition, seized that opportunity to declare in the province of Quebec that if he were returned to power he would see that Manitoba gave the Catholic minority of that province what they desired. That was the stand taken by the Quebec wing of the right hon. gentleman's party, but what did they do in the province of Ontario ? In the elections in 1890 in that province, I took a rather active part and had the pleasure of hearing the First Minister and the Postmaster General on several occasions, and the arrangement

they entered into was this. The First Minister went up to the western part of Ontario and entered into an agreement with the late Sir Oliver Mowat to this effect, that if the Reform party were returned to power-and the signs of the times pointed that way- jir. Mowat would resign his seat in the local cabinet and take office as Minister of Justice in the Dominion. Sir Oliver, being a canny Scotchman, was not going to take any chances and would not resign his premiership of Ontario until it was certain that the Liberals were returned to power in the Dominion. Contrary to his protestations in the past, that the provincial government should not interfere in Dominion elections, Sir Oliver Mowat took a very active part in those elections, and I had the pleasure of meeting him on several platforms. The position he then took was this. An effort, he said, is being made by the government of the Dominion to force remedial legislation upon Manitoba to deprive that province of its rights, and I ask the electors of Ontario to look back at my past history and say whether I have not on all occasions stood for equal rights. Have I not, he exclaimed, fought the battle of equal rights in years gone by, have I not fought it in connection with the boundary award and the license question and fought it successfully. And just as I fought it in the past in the local legislature, so I shall, when I enter Dominion politics, tight for the rights, not only of Manitoba but of all that great western country ; and he went on to declare that when in the near future the territories would be created provinces, he would see that equal rights were extended to them. He would never agree to separate schools or to remedial legislation for the purpose of forcing those schools upon Manitoba or any province in the great lone land. And if the time should ever come when he would not have that power, he would resign his place in the House. The Postmaster General took the same ground. He declared on many a platform that he would never support separate schools in the Dominion and would never allow remedial legislation to be forced on Manitoba. The First Minister was also loud in his denunciation of the late government. He declared that he had stood in this House, and was prepared to stand in any part of the Dominion, for provincial rights, and that he would never allow this remedial legislation to be placed on Manitoba. He would never shackle any province with legislation along that line. He would never put the fetters upon any of those provinces, he was opposed to separate schools, he was pleased to know that they could attend school together, that they could go to the polls and vote together, and the result was that all these statements had their effect in Ontario. Seat after seat that had gone Conservative in the past went by overwhelming majorities to the Reform party and the result was that in 1896 the
Reformers were surprised at the large vote which they received in Ontario. They obtained it under false pretenses in the way which I have pointed out. I ask the question how have they been able to swallow all these principles, to swallow themselves and to come here to-day after making these pledges in Ontario and endeavour to force separate schools upon this province, although they are the very men who denounced them in the past. I wonder how they in ten years succeed in swallowing all these promises. I cannot understand it unless in the words of the poet:
An all-wise and ever-indulging Providence has made them hollow.
In order that they their promises might swallow.
We have no separate schools in my county. We had them on one occasion but they have all disappeared. After a trial the Roman Catholics found that the public schools were much better and cheaper than the separate schools. It has been pointed out to us in the past that our public schools are Godless schools ; in fact some speakers almost seem to have the idea that as far as the Protestant religion is concerned there is no God in that. So far as our national schools are concerned they must remember that we had enacted the Ross Bible from which portions of scriptures w ere to be read each day. religious instruction can be given by Ministers of different denominations if they so desire and if the trustees and parents desire it and this is very often done. Under these circumstances I submit that it cannot be charged that these schools are Godless schools. So far as the county of Dufferin is concerned they do not want separate schools, and I venture to say that that is the case in many parts of the province as well. I have here a resolution which was passed in my county regretting that a provision for separate schools was placed in this Bill. I have here also the statement of the Minister of Public Works for Manitoba and I must say that it shows a most extraordinary state of affairs Indeed. We find that in place of the First Minister meeting these delegates, as naturally vie would expect, they were met by the Papal delegate. We have no objection to there being a Papal delegate in the Dominion of Canada so long as he confines his services to the work of the church, but just as soon as he interferes in our educational questions, then I say the line must be drawm and we have a right to take exception to his action. It has been going the rounds for many days that the Papal delegate met Mr. Rogers and Mr. Campbell by appointment and made a proposition to them. The proposition was that they should place a clause in the Manitoba school law that where there were in a rural district fifteen Roman Catholic children or in a city or town thirty Roman Catholic children separate rooms must be provided for them

and that the trustees if they so desired It must engage a teacher of their religious persuasion. Now look how that would work out; suppose there were sixty children in the district, then one-quarter of those would have one teacher and the other forty or forty-five would have one teacher, yet under that direction the trustees would be required to pay their equal share of taxes for the Catholic teacher who was only teaching fifteen children. I submit that this is a most unjust proposal and one that should not be entertained. If that meeting was not brought about I ask why the rumour has not been denied. I submit that it is up to His Excellency that he should set himself right upon it. Here are two men holding honourable positions, standing high in their province, men who have the confidence of their province, and they state distinctly that that meeting took place and that that proposition was made. Did the First Minister know about that meeting or did he not ? That is the question to be decided. If he did not know then I submit that the Papal delegate was going beyond his proper sphere in making that proposition and therefore taking it in any light youl can it was an improper thing to do ; it was wrong to make the proposition. He told them according to this report that if they agreed to put this clause in, it would expedite the enlargement of the province. What does that mean ? Does it not carry out the statements that have been made in the past over and over again that Manitoba need not expect any extension of territory unless she agreed to separate schools, and, here we have a proposition made that proves beyond a doubt that this was the case. I say again that we in this House object to any interference whatever in connection with church or state. We refuse to allow any foreign potentate to take any part in our legislation or to dictate how our children shall be educated in any part of this fair Dominion of ours.
Now in this age of the world when church and state are being separated in France, we in Canada are binding them together; I submit that is a state of affairs that should not exist. It has been said that in the) United States, because they have national schools where no religion is taught, the people have become unchristian, and we ard pointed to the eastern countries where state church schools have existed for so long. I have travelled through those eastern countries myself, I have seen the sun rise and set in many lands, and in travelling through them I have observed the way in which the Sabbath was kept, and have endeavoured to learn something of the results of the church schools which prevail there. I found that those eastern countries have not been going ahead as the United States has. Spain has had church schools for centuries, and today Spain is one of the dying nations of the world. France has had church schools;

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