March 24, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Adam Carr Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (Pictou).

Perhaps the hon. Minister will be kind enough to lay his volume on the table so that we may all see it. Then the minister went on to say that in 1890 the year-book, for some reason or other, suppressed the figures, and he supplied the figures himself. He said that the population of Canada during that year, according to the process of figuring" adopted Mr. BELL.
by the year-book, was 5,210,000. But I find that the year-book gives the population as 4,792,605. In 1891, the hon. gentleman represents the Year-book as giving our population at 5,345,000-ten years too soon, as he said-but I find that it gives the population as 4,846,377. The Minister of Trade and Commerce is therefore out in his count as follows :-
1887 218,000
1888 258,000
1889 336,000
And in 1900, when he supplied the figures off his own bat, he is out 417,000, and in 1891, 498,623.
I think it but right to call the attention of the minister to these facts, and the only reason I can suggest for the discrepancies, is that possibly he may have discovered some edition of the year-book not issued for general use.
But my hon. friend was not satisfied with simply discrediting the year-book. He proceeded to discredit every one who had anything whatever to do with the taking of the census in 1891. He attributed motives, in the most reckless and unlimited fashion, to every one who had anything to do with it. He told us that when the census of 1891 was taken the Conservative party was in a discreditable position, and that the enumerators were presumably men in close contact with the powers at Ottawa who knew that Sir John Macdonald's government was in a desperate position and that it was necessary to place before the people census returns which would show that the national policy had been a success. Now, what possible connection could the census of 1891 have had with the election which was run by the Conservative party under Sir John Macdonald in that year. The general election took place on the 5th March, 1891, and the census enumerators were not appointed until April, 1891. And so far from Sir John Macdonald having been in a desperate position then, we find that the very first division in the House of Commons, after that general election, gave him a majority of 29, which was increased at every subsequent by election, until at the end of the term beginning 1891, the Conservative party had a majority in this House of 46.
I think my hon. friend will find it rather difficult to atone for his strictures with respect to the census of 1891. According to him Canada is not at all a desirable place for immigrants and he should not be surprised if they do not come in greater numbers. If it be correct that some 2,500 enumerators in 1891,-there were 5,000 last year, violated their solemn oath, we must conclude that perjurers are as common in this country as black flies in May. Not only have the enumerators, according to the hon. gentleman, violated their oath, but so have the commissioners and the other census officials, every one of whom was sworn to do his

duty faithfully and make no return which was not absolutely correct.
The Minister of Trade and Commerce deliberately asks the people of Canada to believe that you can find in this country, in every province, enumerators who are willing and ready to perjure themselves simply to serve the purposes of the administration of the day. I think that is the most monstrous charge that was ever made by any public man in Canada. Judging by the lengths to which the hon. gentleman had gone when in opposition in extravagant denunciation of his opponents, almost anything might have been expected of him, but this last outrage against the people is by far the worst of all, and the matter will not be allowed to rest there.
The hon. gentleman caused an investigation to be made in the province of Quebec into the taking of the census of 1891. Judging from the return which has been laid upon the Table, the government put it in the hon. gentleman's power, or the power of the commissioner who acted for him, to violate public confidence by disclosing private information given to the census enumerators in the belief that the confidential nature of this information would be respected. The evidence of this is to be seen in the documents placed upon the Table the other day. These schedules have been taken from the custody of the census officer and have been exposed to the public. I will read a paragraph from the one for the county of Bagot :-
The stuffing in the town of Acton Vale and in the parish of St. Andre of Acton, is still larger. and the evidence of it is absolutely undeniable. .

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