March 31, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)


Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)



I think it is quite true, and it is our boast that the streets of Dawson, Whitehorse and all the creeks in the Yukon are just as safe as are the streets of the city of Ottawa, but that is the result, I believe, of the presence of the police. If the police were not there I think the result would be very different and we could not hope that the streets of those placesovould be as secure as they are to-day. There are now 10,000 people in the Yukon, but it is a mining camp. Mining camps are not proverbially very orderly, and unless we have police the order may not be what it is today. At all events, that is our supposition and that is the representation which is made to us. We started in the Yukon with 300 men and we have reduced the force to 100 men. It is our intention to reduce it still further as we think we are justified in doing so. At the present time I do not know whether it would be justified or not. We have had no mail from the Yukon of late and we would not undertake to reduce the force unless we had had previous communication with the commissioner, Mr. Henderson. If we are advised that we can, with security to the territory, reduce the force ii is our intention to do so. At the same time I would remind my hon. friend that I would doubt the wisdom of withdrawing the whole force at the present time. The Yukon is far away from communication. At one time we had information that there was a party of desperadoes in Skagway that wanted to raid the territory and that was the first reason that induced us to send in the force. If that was the case, and I think there was good reason for so believing^ for self-protection it is advisable that we should not withdraw the force altogether at this moment but that we should reduce it as far as circumstances will allow.

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