March 5, 1912 (12th Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Rogers (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)


gentleman opposite took office, one of the first things they did was to dismiss Manitoba's representative on that commission, in order that Manitoba might be penalized1 and punished. Following that, when a Liberal government was in power in Manitoba, an effort was made by the government of the right hon. gentleman opposite, during 1898, the first full year after they came into power, to convey certain swamp lands to the province of Manitoba. As will be in the knowledge of hon. members of this House, the Liberal government was defeated in Manitoba in the year 1899, and how do you suppose the province was then treated by the Liberal government at Ottawa in Tespect to its swamp lands? In the year following, in the first half of 1899, the province got 160 acres of swamp lands from the government of the right hon. gentleman; a short time afterwards they got about 60,000 acres more; in 1901, they did not get an acre; in 1902, in the first half of the year they got
20,000 acres more; in the last half of the same year they got 160 acres more. I will give you another sample, from a Minute of Council as prepared by the government of Canada, of how they deprived the province of Manitoba of a great portion of the territory that rightly belonged to her. That Minute of Council, which was passed on the 28th of September, 1904, after reciting that the inspectors had examined an area of 284,000 acres, goes on to say:
The minister states that of the area thus examined the commissioners find an area of 146,274 acres falling to 'the province as swamp lands.
That by a comparison of the schedules furnished by the commissioners 'with tihe hooks of the Department of the Interior and its agencies in Manitoba, it has been found that of the total area of 146,274 acres selected as such swamp lands, an area of 43,192-27 acres is available.
The minister submits a revised schedule of such of the lands included in the schedule of the commissioners as aire found available, comprising an area, of 43,192-27 acres, and, being satisfied of the accuracy of the same, recommends that the lands enumerated ther-in be vested in His Majesty King Edward VII, for the purposes of the province of Manitoba, under the provisions of the fourth section of chapter 47 of -the Revised Statutes of Canada.
By that one act alone the government of the right hon. gentleman were able to take away that which their own inspectors claimed belonged to the province of Manitoba. In that one inspection of 284,000 acres, they were willing to give to the province of Manitoba only 43,000 acres, and keep over 140,000 acres, which, as they themselves admitted, belonged to the province of Manitoba. I may say that the same condition was applied throughout, with the

result that nearly a million acres of the swamp lands belonging to the province of Manitoba were used by the government of the right hon. gentleman opposite for their own purposes.
I say it was no wonder Manitoba complained of her conditions and complained bitterly in respect to the matter of swamp lands. The same conditions continued all the way through. We had an interest in certain lands upon which a mortgage had been given by the province of Manitoba in connection with the Hudson Bay railway and Manitoba pleaded with the government of the right hon. gentleman opposite again and again to have those lands surveyed but without success, with the result that Manitoba had to accept the cash value of the obligation or even less than the cash value of the obligation out against them; and a few days after the Canadian Northern Railway got control of those lands they were able to come down here to the government at Ottawa and secure from them the right to go to Saskatchewan and select the very best lands found there. This prevented the province of Manitoba from getting justice and the resources of the Dominion of Canada were exploited entirely for the benefit of a railway corporation. I might continue with the discussion of the manner in which the district of Keewatin -was taken from Manitoba and various other matters but I shall not take up the time of the House In dealing with these details. I shall at once take up the question that has been so fully discussed by the right hon. gentleman' (Sir. Wilfrid Laurier) and by every other hon. gentleman on the other side of the House who has taken part in this debate. The right hon. gentleman complains that the terms and conditions as provided by this bill should not date back to the year 1908. I would remind my right hon. friend that this is no new course for this House to take. My right hon. friend undertakes to tell the House that it is a violation of the constitution that such a course should be taken. This House did the very same thing in 1869 and again in 1885 for the provinces of Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec and New Brunswick and the same principle; the same course that is being adopted by this government to-day was adopted by the governments of those days. My hon. friend from St. John undertook to tell us yesterday that Manitoba had made a final settlement of her claims in 1885 and told us something more, in which he was supported by the hon. member from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) that before this House approves of the bill now before us for 'consideration, we should invite a conference of the different provinces of the Dominion to consider whether or not the terms and conditions. being granted to the province
would be acceptable and satisfactory to the other provinces of Canada.

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