Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)
Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
My hon. friend will agree with me that there is no comparison whatever between the Yukon and Gowganda and Cobalt. The latter places are within easy reach of the forces of the government of Ontario in case a riot should break out. But if we had a riot at Dawson, unless we had a military force there, how could we assert the authority of the law? This consideration alone is, I think, sufficient to warrant us in maintaining the force there. We do not want to see a repetition there of the early days of California, when every man was his own constable. We must maintain law and order in the Yukon. I agree with my hon. friend that we should reduce the force when possible, and we are reducing it gradually. My hon. friend asks if the force continues to do the service it did at one time in collecting the revenue. We are gradually withdrawing it from that duty, and when we do that altogether, there will be less occasion for the number of men we have. I think we have reduced the force as rapidly as it has been possible to do it without jeopardizing the peace of the country.