April 6, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)


And whether he and his colleagues and his followers are doing much thinking or not we may be certain that the people of this country are doing some thinking these days and I must say there is good material and plenty of it. But, Sir, let us ask now what my right hon. friend took such pains to deny yesterday. Lie took great pains to deny absolutely and categorically a great many things which are altogether of secondary importance. For instance he made a point against the Hon. Mr. Rogers because he said that they had not been invited on the initiative of the Dominion government to have a conference in Ottawa with reference to the extension or the boundaries. Neither did Mr. Rogers' statement declare that the invitation was on the initiative of the Dominion government. It might have been implied from that letter that it was or it might not, but in all conscience what difference did it make whether the invitation went from my right hon. friend in reply to a request or whether it was on his own initiative. As far as the facts of the case go what difference did it make ? But there was a very authoritative, a very absolute and a very much cheered denial on the part of my right, hon. friend of that first statement made by Mr. Rogers, fie thought he had triumphantly floored his opponent when he contended that the interview had not taken place on his initiative. He made another strong point in connection with the interivew in that the Manitoba government had from 1896 up to January of this year made no step by way of initiative towards getting an extension of their boundaries. The Manitoba government I suppose is a fairly sensible government. They knew that their legislature had backed up the demand for an extension of territory. It had done it once, it had done it a second time and possibly a third time, but a claim for extension of territory waits generally for the favourable period and during all this time there was the prospect of the erection of new provinces in the Northwest, a prospect coming closer to fulfilment and it was felt that the time when the Territories were to be erected into provinces would be an opportune moment for the Manitoba government to press for an extension of their boundaries,

so that the argument based upon that point was scarcely worth the time it took to state it. It was -within the right of the Manitoba government to choose their own time and the time chosen was that of the approaching creation of provinces in the west. Then they pressed their claim and I say that was an opportune time. The right hon. gentleman tried to make something out of the fact that he stated his policy with reference to the extension of Manitoba's boundaries on February 21st, and that therefore there was no reason at all for any person no matter what his position to attempt to gain influence for any purpose over the Manitoba government by holding out to them the idea that their territories might be enlarged. I take Issue with my right hon. friend in that respect. He did not state in detail the policy, of the Dominion government with reference to the extension of those Territories. He simply stated that they did not propose to extend those Territories until after conference with other provinces, and that steps would be taken at once or as soon as convenient to call the representatives of the different provinces that might be interested to come together and to talk this matter over. It would have been possible to extend the Manitoba boundaries to the northwest, to the north or to the northeast at any time; these districts were all perfectly open and they lay there with all their possibilities. Let us come to one other point, to the very small point that was taken to-day that Monseigneur Sbarretti did not see Mr. Rogers, he did not know Mr. Rogers, he had no conversation with Mr. Rogers, and that therefore the whole argument was against Mr. Rogers. My right hon. friend must have taken leave of his senses. Was the Hon. Colin Campbell down here on a private pleasure trip ? Was he down here as a private citizen ? He was down here with his colleague Mr. Rogers as a delegation of the Manitoba government backed by the resolutions of their legislature as cflicial as any commission could be made. They were here on an official visit and for an official occasion and it does not matter a single bit as to whether this conference was had with Mr. Rogers or Mr. Campbell.

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