April 18, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG (East Lambton).

Although I do not agree, Mr. Speaker, with many of the arguments which the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. Laurence), who has just taken his seat, presented to the House, yet I cannot help but recognize the able manner in which he placed those arguments before us. I cannot agree with the hon. gentleman when he tells us that this Bill will settle the question of education in the new provinces. In my opinion, the best way to settle that question would be for my hon. friend to advocate and vote for the amendment moved by the leader of the opposition. I cannot agree with him when he says that if a province has a sectarian system of education established when it enters the union, under which the rights of the minority are secured by law, that system can never be altered under our constitution. According to that contention any province, such as those now entering the union, although it had no choice in establishing a law such as the Act of 1875, would be compelled to abide by that law tecause it happened to be on its statute-Irooks at the time it entered the union. I do not think that any such doctrine would be fair or reasonable or consistent with provincial rights. My hon. friend has told us that an attempt is being made to stir up strife in this country. He did not directly charge hon. members on this side with the responsibility, but he insinuated as much. Let me, however, call his attention to the fact that it is the government which, by presenting the legislation submitted to us, is responsible for the agitation now going on in the country. I was sorry to hear the reflection which the hon. gentleman made on the worthy leader of the opposition. He charged that hon. gentleman with lacking courage on this question. I cannot believe that my hon. friend is well acquainted with the leader of the opposition or he would not have ventured any such statement. The leader of the opposition, Sir, has submitted his case to this House and the people in the strongest possible language, and there has not been a man on the government side, even the hon. gentleman himself, who has dared to attempt to refute the arguments which my hon. leader submitted. The hon. gentleman tells us he is not surprised that hon. members should disagree on this question, and yet he would lead us to believe that our leader has not the courage of his convictions regarding it.
But, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman was not so severe in his remarks as was the hon. member for North Ontario (Mr. Grant) yesterday. That lion, gentleman made use of this language :

Full View