April 26, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)


piesent measure. But the Prime Minister may have felt that he was taking the course of least resistance, and that in forcing the Bill hurriedly into the House before these gentlemen returned he would have less insistence to overcome than he would have to meet from other quarters if he omitted these clauses from the Bill altogether. It seems to me in looking into that feature of the case that the Prime Minister was a little over confident in taking the action he did, that his recent successes at the polls had led him to go a little too far and to take up a position which he found himself unable to maintain.
Now, Sir, not having a legally trained mind, I am not able to say exactly what the ordinances of the Northwest legislature in respect to the school question mean, but it seems to me that they are liable' to lead to a great many complications. We have the Finance Minister saying that by this process separate schools in the Northwest will gradually disappear ; while on the other hand we have the opinion expressed outside this House that they mean the introduction of the thin edge of the wedge, and will have the effect of multiplying them. Now, Sir, with all these opinions before us, would it uot be infinitely better at the present time to drop out these clauses altogether ? II submit that if the Minister of Finance is correct in the view he takes that separate schools will disappear altogether in a short time, and if he is supporting this measure because he believes that will be the ease. I cannot understand how his supporters, especially those from the province of Quebec whose views differ from those of other members in this House, can support that measure. Therefore, are we not drifting in another direction in this case the same as we drifted in 1896 ? Have I not proved to this House that the people of Ontario and the people of other parts of Canada generally believed in 1896 that the present Prime Minister was in principle opposed to separate schools in Manitoba, and are we not deceiving the people in the province of Quebec by this legislation ? Is this legislation which the people of Quebec want ? Will we not find this question cropping up again in the federal political arena in a very short time ? I think that is bound to happen, and I believe that this legislation will be the beginning of strife and discord in this country.
Now before resuming my seat I desire briefly to refer to the peculiar position occupied by the ex-Minister of the Interior, the member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton). I think I cannot better characterize his attitude upon this question than by saying that he has been trying to make a'wide turning-movement. He resigned to prevent separate schools becoming a part of the constitution of the Northwest provinces. The Prime Minister said it was a question of words only between himself and the member for Brandon, indicating

that it was not necessary for his colleague to resign, and that these clauses might have been amended so as to prevent his resignation. The ex-Minister of the Interior has told us in effect that the government were not able to draw a legal document, that they did not know the meaning of a legal document, that it was drawn by an office boy, or a draughtsman-I think the latter Was the word used-that a draughtsman must have drawn the first educational clauses of this Bill. When that statement was made I did not notice any signs of humiliation upon the face of the Postmaster General, nor any very marked sign of humiliation upon the face of the Minister of Justice. If 1 understood correctly, the speech of the ex-minister, taken in connection with the accompanying circumstances, he himself must have drawn these- amendments.
This is a great game, it seems to me. It has not been customary for the hon. Minister of Justice to sit silent when charges of that kind have been made in respect to his work. The hon. Minister of Justice does not lack courage and it is rather a peculiar position in which we find that hon. gentleman. We see him sitting docile and calm, taking the thrusts of the hon. member for Brandon. Is it because there is any brotherly love that we do not know of, or affection, or charity existing between these hon. gentlemen? Is it out of the generosity of his heart that he is not going to pay any attention to these things? No, it is not that. It is a larger game, a bigger game. The hon. member for Brandon knew', when he made that statement in reference to the draughtsman, that it was impossible for the hon. Minister of Justice to answer him. He knew he could not answer him. The hon. Minister of Justice wants a law enacted granting the privilege that the amendment is designed to grant, the privilege of separate schools by Dominion legislation, and the hon. Minister of Justice knew that if he got up and contradicted the hon. member for Brandon in respect to the amendments being radically different from the original clauses that the' Minister of Justice having a following in this House and his legal advice being respected, it would change the intention and belief of the seven members from the Northwest, and he knew that if the belief of the seven members from the Northwest in the cause of the hon. member for Brandon were shattered they would not vote for tliis Bill, that there would be another bolt and that might lead to a further bolt and the result was that the hon. Minister of Justice had to sit in his place and wait until every hon. member from the Northwest Territories and as many as possible from other parts of this country had committed themselves so that they would vote right. I think if I understand the temperament of the hon. Minister of Justice properly, at as late a date as possible he will get on Ms feet and say there is no practical difference between the amended
clauses and the original clauses of this Bill. That is the view I take of the position of the hon. Minister of Justice.
I do not intend to take up any very much time in referring to the conditions in England and France in regard to education to which some reference has already been made.
I do not think it has very much to do -with this question, because the circumstances in both 'these countries are so entirely different from what they are in our o \vn Northwest. They have no influx of different nationalities as we have and the question of how best to assimilate these different peoples and different races does not come before the people of either England or France. It Is a mistake to suppose, in so far as my information goes, that the chief study in the public schools of Great Britain is the study of religious dogma. The tendency in England is towards non-sectarian, civic control. Prior to 1870 denominational schools existed in Great Britain. They were not able to stem the tide of illiteracy and in 1870 the Forster law' provided for the establishmept of public and secular schools. From 1870 to 1902, forty-eight per cent of the children have been educated in these schools. The denominational schools, as they existed previous to 1870, have shrunken in number. They have fallen from 100 per cent, in 1870 to 52 per cent in 1902. By a law' passed in 1902 denominational schools came partly under civic control and in the denominational schools religious instruction is being brought more under civic control all the time. There seems to be a forward movement in England in respect to education.
In France what*s the situation? In 1879, under Jules Ferry, who was appointed Minister of Public Instruction, a measure was adopted by which public schools were freed from all relation with the church. By a regulation of 1886 the employment in future in public schools of teachers belonging to religious orders was forbidden. At the end of 1897 there w'ere 4,000,000 pupils going to secular schools and 1,500,000 pupils going to clerical schools. In the last few years schools 'maintained by religious associations have been abolished. In 25 years the national system has developed, the attendance has improved and there are better courses of study and better qualified teachers. I do not refer to this for the purpose of showing that the conditions which exist in England or in France are suitable to this country, but because of the explanation which has ' been made in this House by some hon. gentlemen that these conditions are different from those w'hich I have stated.
I do not intend to take up the attention of the House any longer. The question- is: How are we to Oanadianize the North-w'est? It is a very serious' and a very pressing question. It may be in the interest of the Northwest to continue the system of separate schools which they have had and which in all likelihood would be continued,

but what I contend for and what I hold is that we should leave that question to them, and that we should not start out by emphasizing by Dominion legislation the importance of dividing the children up into different camps and cliques. It may be necessary to do that, it may be in the interest of . the people of the Northwest that there should be religious education, but what I say is that we should not emphasize the fact at this time taking everything into consideration by our legislation. The new provinces should be permitted to deal with this question in the way which may seem best suited to their conditions as time goes on. What are their conditions? In these Northwest Territories we have colonies of Swedes, Finns, Bohemians, Hungarians, .Tews, Austrians, Germans, Russians, Icelanders, Men-nonites, Galicians and Doulchobors. The question is how to assimilate these races and how to secure their co-operation inVbuild-ing up the nation. It requires every effort we can possibly think of to establish this union, and I think, Mr. Speaker, in no way can this great task be better accomplished than by national public schools. This, Sir, is a provincial question. It is a provincial question in the province of Quebec notwithstanding the British North America Act. If there were not a word in the British North America Act in reference to the situation in Ontario and Quebec, the school system would be precisely the same as it is at the present time, because it is by provincial legislation that these matters are regulated and the people of Quebec, Ontario and all the other provinces know better how to regulate these matters to suit th^jr conditions than we do in this parliament. One condition is necessary in the province of Quebec where certain conditions prevail, another system in Ontario, another system in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and perhaps another system in Manitoba or in our great Northwest which is growing and into which so many different nationalities are going. I say it is essentially a provincial question. It is a provincial question in Ontario and Quebec, notwithstanding the fact that reference is made to it in the British North America Act. I believe that upon the seven members from the Northwest must rest the responsibility for this legislation, because if these gentlemen had insisted upon the question being left to the provinces, there is no doubt but what they would have won the day. I am sorry for the course which events have taken. I believe that if the question had been left to the provinces the government would have been less embarrassed than they are at the present time by reason of the course which they have taken. I and other hon. members have said that it is unconstitutional to interfere with this question. We are doing something that is unconstitutional. We are amending the constitution. I say in the name of peace and in the name of harmony let us drop these educational clauses out of the Bill. They Mr. KEiMP.
are unconstitutional in any case, and let the provinces be free to act in their own best interests as time goes on.'

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