Frederick Laurence SCHAFFNER

SCHAFFNER, The Hon. Frederick Laurence, B.A., M.D., C.M.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Souris (Manitoba)
Birth Date
August 18, 1855
Deceased Date
May 22, 1935

Parliamentary Career

November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Souris (Manitoba)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Souris (Manitoba)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Souris (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 203 of 205)

April 14, 1905


Mr. GRANT moved the adjournment of the debate.

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April 14, 1905


How many opposition members were returned ?

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April 14, 1905


Out of a total of forty members ?

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April 14, 1905


What majority was Mr. Greenway returned by when you were turned down ?

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March 15, 1905

Mr. F. L. SCHAFFNER (Souris).

Mr. Speaker, I would not rise to-night to address this House on this question, which has been so well discussed this afternoon -perhaps I shall only be repeating very many of the statements that have been already made-were it not that I felt it to be an imperative duty. There are one or two reasons why I believe it imperative that I should have something to say on this question. I will endeavour to-night, in the few remarks which I make, not to discuss the Bill. There seems to be a great temptation to enter into a discussion of the Bill. When the proper time comes to discuss the Bill. I hope to have an opportunity of making a few' remarks. But I will say right here that w'hen the proper time comes my effort will be to address this House on that question in a manner absolutely free from offence to any creed or any set of people in this House or in this country. I believe that this great question in connection with the formation of these two provinces in the Northwest is more than a provincial question ; it is a national question ; and I believe that w'hatever men, or whatever hon. members on this or the other side of the House think, that is the way in which we should endeavour to discuss it. There are one or two reasons why I w'ish to trespass upon the time of the House. One is that I represent a constituency of the west, which I can say-and I do not do it boastfully-has to-day more elevators and grows more w'heat, although it is somewhat of a large district, than any other section of a similar size in the Dominion of Canada. iOne other reason why I would like to make a few remarks is that the present government were good enough to give us, before the last election, increased representation. In order that we might have that increased representation, it was necessary that the constituencies that already existed should be divided. I was particularly favoured by having the honour of contesting a portion of the constituency which has been represented by the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton). I was given the south half. In the south half of that constituency, which

*was controlled by and which always elected my hon. friend the member for Brandon when he was able to bring those wonderful powers which he possessed to bear upon the electorate, he was able to secure a majority of 200 or 300. To-day, after that power has been withdrawn, the same people who elected him were good enough to elect me by a majority of a little over 500. Knowing, as I do what these same people think on this great question, I feel it my duty to trespass upon the time of the House for a short while.

Now, Mr. Speaker, although I am new in this parliament, I am not very new in the matter of years, and I am not very new in my knowledge of the political aspect of this country and of my friends who sit on the other side of the House. Living so near as I do to the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton), we became to same extent at least chums-I do not know if that is a parliamentary expression, but it is at all events a somewhat endearing term. I do uot suppose the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) wants my sympathy, but I cannot help being a little sensitive for him and I feel very deeply the manner in which he was treated in connection with this Bill. Some time ago, when we asked the First Minister as to when the member for Brandon might be expected back, we were told he was in the south for his health. Soon after that Bill was introduced, and from a health point of view it was very unfair to compel the Minister of the Interior to make such a break neck journey to Ottawa, and after getting here to force him to rush out on the street to ascertain what were the contents of the Autonomy Bill which had been introduced to parliament. The Prime Minister told us to-day that the member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) had asked for three weeks' delay between the first and second readings of this Bill, but hon. gentleman will remember with what derisive cheers from the government supporters that request of the member for East Grey was met at the time. The three weeks asked for by the member for Grey have passed and although this House of Commons has not been very busy, we are still waiting for the second reading. To-day the honoured leader of the opposition endeavoured to get some information from the premier as to when the second reading would be moved, and when that request was made a gentleman on the Liberal benches remarked : You will know soon. Well, I for one, would like to know how long that ' soon 'is. We have the information now that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) was not consulted as to this Bill, that the Minister of Finance was not consulted either, and that Mr. Haultain, the Prime Minister of the Territories was not consulted as to the educational clauses. The Prime Minister tried to make out that Mr. Haultain had been consulted, but I have too much confidence in the ability of 82

the right hon. gentleman to think that he for one moment thought that he was making the House believe any such thing. So far as we know at present, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Haultain and the members of parliament from the Northwest Territories were not consulted on this matter. Right here I would like to say that this afternoon during the discussion of this great question, not one member from the Northwest Territories supporting the government was in his place in the House. I do not know all these members and that statement may not be correct, but I am told that it is a fact. Any way, whether they were here or not they were absolutely silent on the question and I suppose the inference is they are satisfied with what has occurred. I have not such a deep interest in the other members of the government as I have in the member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) and therefore I am not so concerned in the fact that the others were not consulted about this matter, but I really do feel chagrined that the Minister of the Inferior should have been so slighted. There are other gentle-ment in the cabinet, who, if they were consulted must have experienced an extraordinary conversion from their views if they gave their consent to such a measure as that now before the House. In 1896, when the Manitoba school question was before parliament, the present Minister of Militia (Sir Frederick Borden) said :

This measure proposes to make use of the powers of this House as has never been attempted since confederation, namely, to interfere, to amend, to supplement, to change1 the legislation of a province with reference to a subject over which the provinces have exclusive control under our federal system of government.

Even if I rested my case there, that is pretty strong language from the Minister of Militia and we have no reason to think that his views have changed since. How did it come that he gave his consent, or was it that he was not thought of vthen the consulting was going on. Sir Wilfrid Laurier (then Mr. Laurier, leader of the opposition) used this language :

But the hon. gentleman knows that the bitterness of the initiation of confederation, the feeling against the coercion then practised has never been removed, and never will entirely disappear until It Is buried in the grave of the last man of that generation whose manhood *was outraged by the arbitrary proceeding which trampled under foot the dignity and manhood of a proud people.

That reference to coercion was intended by Mr. Laurier for Sir Charles Tupper in relation to his efforts to bring Nova Scotia into confederation, but I am old enough to remember some things which were said and done by members of the present govern-

ment in reference to the same matter and which they would no doubt like to forget.

Now, it is my opinion, and I say it ffcelieving it from the bottom of my heart, that it will be more than ten years, when many of us who are now in this House will have reached the chloroform stage, before this question will be satisfactorily settled by the Bill which was introduced a short time ago. Again, the Minister of Militia said :

My hon. friend (Mr. Lauirier) might have gone *further than he did in his statement because it *will not only be the last man who was able to *exercise the franchise of that time but his ^children and his grandchildren will have to -ipass away before the memory of that unjust Act is effaced from the minds of the people of Nova Scotia. . . . When we think that we are about to pass a system of laws upon the subject of education which is exclusively a provincial right, and that we are going to impose *upon a great province this law for all time, no matter how the circumstances may change, or how the population may change, or how de

siro-us they may be to make a change in that matter, when we think that for ever that law, by our act here, is to be fastened upon that unwilling province, surely it ought to cause us to pause.

Again, be said, that nine-tenths of the .people were known to be opposed to that .legislation, just as the vast majority of the people of Canada to-day are known to be opposed to the Bill which these lion, gentlemen are now trying to force through this House. Further he says :

And I dare say it is fitting that the hon. gentleman who so successfully bull-dozed the legislation of Nova Scotia in 1867 could carry confederation through the House against the well understood wishes of the people of that province, should be brought here to coerce this House into passing legislation which the majority of the .people are opposed to and which is inimical to the interest of the province of *Manitoba and the interest of the Dominion at large. . . . We hear a great deal about the rights of minority. I believe in preserving and conserving the right of minority, hut, Sir, we are here under a system of responsible government, and the very foundation stone of responsible government is to govern in the interest of the majority with a view to the greatest good of the greatest number.

That is a noble and very old and tried -sentiment.

It is most gratifying to us on this side of the *House, whose policy has favoured this course from the first, because my hon. friend the leader of the opposition long ago laid down the policy of investigation and the policy of conciliation as opposed to the policy of blind coercion.

And I want to say that if anybody reads the speech then delivered by the then Mr. Laurier, uow the right hon. leader of this House, he will find that the very core of his Argument, the silver thread that ran through dt from beginning to end, was the argument Mr. SCHAFFNER.

of investigation. Now, it has not been shown to us that the First Minister took any great pains to make an investigation before introducing bis own Bill ; he did not even consult the members of his own cabinet.

What' possible good can be served by proceeding with this Bill 'until we know what becomes of these negotiations. It seems to me that the hon. gentleman who leads this House has conducted himself in such a way as to give every indication of the strongest desire to annoy the government and the people of Maitoba to the utmost extent of his ability. . . . Well, Sir,

I leave it to the hon. members of the House to judge who are mainly responsible if these fires have been kindled in (this Dominion-whether it is those hon. gentlemen who rush madly into this offensive course toward the province of Manitoba, or whether it is my hon. friend here, the leader of the opposition, who has always counselled moderation, who has always counselled conciliation, who asks only that all the facts of the Case be 'ascertained and the fullest information he secured before this tremendous step is taken.

The right bon. gentleman said something to-day about creeds. I want to ask right here, who is responsible if we have any trouble with creed, race and religion in connection with this Bill ? Upon whom must this House and this country place the responsibility if it is not upon the right bon. gentleman and his cabinet who have introduced these unnecessary clauses into this Bill ? The hon. Minister of Militia went on :

Was the hon. gentleman able by himself to make up his mind what alterations should be made in (the tariff ?

He is asking when the great fiscal policy was introduced into this country by the gieat party which I have no hesitation in saying has introduced nearly all the great policies of this Dominion. I admit that these policies have been followed by our friends on the other side. They may not be very good introducers of policies, but they are first-class mimics. I am very thankful that in their fiscal policy they have come so near to adopting those rules and directions that were laid down by the members of the great 'Conservative party. The hon. gentleman said :

Was the hon. gentleman able by himself to make up his mind what alterations should be made in the tariff ? No, Sir, he took his two assistants, the Comptroller of Inland Revenue and the Comptroller of Customs with him and he went all over the country and called into his counsel people who are going to he affected by the legislation which he (proposed-that is, some of the people. But at any rate he laid down this principle that he was going to enact legislation which affected the rights and might affect prosperity of the people of this country, and that it was his duty to consult or confer with those people who are to be affected by thie legislation which he proposed to enact.

Now, there Is no use in saying that we have rumours. The rumours are regrettable,

but where there is so much smoke there must be some fire, and there is no doubt that there is a great disturbance in the cabinet to-day, a disturbance which is retarding business and is detrimental to this House and this country. Then the hon. gentleman referred to what was said by Mr. Kenny, a member for Halifax, as to the way the school laws were being operated in the province of New Brunswick, as follows :

I wag glad to hear him say he went further, and would be willing to leave it to the common sense of the majority of - the people of this country that they would not' inflict an injury upon any minority in this country. Well, Sir, if that is the case, if the hon. gentleman has so much confidence in the good sense of the people, why should he not leave the administration of the -law in the -province of Manitoba to the people who -are charged with -administering that law ? Why not give them an opportunity at any rate of showing whether they are- willing, by the administration of the law, to do as the government and people of Nova Scotia have d-one-that is, consult the prejudices or requirements of the minority -of that province. Mr. Speaker, in the -province of New Brunswick we have a law similar to that of Nova S-cotia.- I was he-re during -part of the time in 1872-73-74 when the question of the New Brunswick school was brought up by the present Minister of Marine and Fisheries, who invited us to interfere. Wisely, Si-r, we abstained from interference, and wh-a-t is the result to-day ? The result Is that in New Brunswick the law is being administered in a way that is satisfactory to all classes of the community. Suppose we had listened to the hon. gentleman who now fills the position of Minister of Marine and Fisheries, who so eloquently urged upon us the necessity of interfering with -the legislation of New Brunswick, and had undertaken to interfere with the laws of that province. Suppose we had interfered, what would h-ave been the position in that province to-day ? Think you that you would h-ave had the same amicable and friendly relations between -that province and this Dominion that exists to-day ? No, Sir. If the hon. gentleman had prevailed he wou-ld have sown the seed of discord throughout this Dominion. As a -result I say that to-day you have in the province of New Brunswick as happy a condition of things as exists in the province of Nova Scotia, so also In the province of Prince Edward Island. - There is a Public School Act and there is no difficulty -among the different denominations in that province.

There we have the three maritime -provinces of this Dominion presenting -an object -lesson to -this -parliament -to take note of and to take warning by that it is possible, nay that it is probable th-at if the province of Manitoba is left to the administration of its own -laws it wi-lil administer them in such a way in its own interests, if, it is wise that every -part' of the community shall be satisfied.

These are the words, these are some of the sentiments expressed by the Minister of Militia who, I suppose or really I cannot suppose, was one of those who sanctioned the Bill introduced some three weeks ago.

But hon. gentlemen -opposite propose, without having given that province an opportunity to 824

say whether -they desire to make their law satisfactory to -the minority of that province, to start out on a policy of coercion. They take the province of Manitoba by the throat by issuing -their remedial order, and then follow u-p that remedial opii-er by legislation.

Hon. gentlemen -propose to -coerce that province. Mr. Speaker, I -ask you -and I ask this House whether anything was ever gained anywhere by a policy of -coercion. I say you cannot -coerce Manitoba, -and the legislation will be a failure. We bear -a good deal about the rights of minorities.

And that is something of which we will hear a good deal when this question comes up for discussion. I said in the beginning that I believed in treating these questions freely, that I believed in treating them on high national principles and when we treat them in that way we will certainly settle all these questions to the very best interests of this country.

I have referred -to the particular view that the member for Leeds -takes- of the rights of the minority, but speaking seriously w-e -all desire from the bottom of o-ur -hearts to -protect the rights of the minority everywhere. The rights of the minority appeal to our best sympathy always. But, Sir, we h-ave to consider what la the best course in the- interest of that minority. Is it the best course to pursue in the interest of the minority to run a muck of the great majority of -the people of Manitoba an-d to -attempt coercive measures upon that province ? No, Sir, I think not. I think that no more fata-l mistake co-uld be committed in the Interest of the minority of Manitoba than to attempt to force this measure through this House at this time.

If we substitute ' the Northwest Territories ' for 1 Manitoba ' we will have a pretty good description of the Bill which is now proposed in this House, and which- no doubt this House will be asked to sanction. We have here just what the Minister of Militia thinks about this question, and if he thinks that, how is it possible that he could have approved of the present Bill which is contrary to the views which he expressed before. Now, let us sum up briefly the opinions which he expressed. First he objects to coercion. None of us like that word. Then he takes the stand that what is past cannot he changed even down to the third or fourth generation. I am afraid that before that time we will all be chloroformed. He also takes the stand for provincial rights he thinks the minority should be considered, he thinks that before any great change in the policy of the country is made there should be an investigation. He thinks that if Manitoba is left to administer its own laws it will administer them in its own interest and in the interests of all parts of the Dominion. I have taken some pains to find what the minister said on this question, and I want the House to take it into consideration that it is difficult to understand how this gentleman ever supported the introduction of a Bill of this spirit. As

regards the extension of the boundaries of the province of Manitoba, I would like to say that I think that is a right principle. The people of that province have .been to a large extent pioneers in that western country ; they have been pioneers in reference to the government of that western country. In that case are they not deserving of some rights now ? When the First Minister wanted to make two provinces in the Northwest he seems to have been determined on making them so large that even the member for Calgary, who lives in that district, thinks they are too large and yet he did not even consult the Minister of the Interior or the Minister of Finance or I believe the Minister of Militia, or several other ministers. It is impossible, the First Minister says, to extend the boundaries of Manitoba unless he calls into council with him the province of Quebec, Ontario and the Northwest Territories. I claim that that is not fair to us in Manitoba. I cannot understand how it is that the hon. the First Minister could occupy as much time as he does in replying to straight away questions put from this side of the House, and say so little. It seemed to me that he absolutely failed to give information. I suppose, perhaps, that is part of the game and that I have not been here long enough to understand, but I think on some points at least we should have the information we asked. He said to-day that although this question had been before the people for some three weeks the only fault found with it was in connection with the school clauses. This House must remember that the people who are most interested in that clause are scattered over very many hundred miles of this country and it takes quite a long while for mails to reach them, but if that hon. gentleman has not yet received any communication from that country objecting to any other clause except the school clause, I wish to read to-night a petition that has been received since the meeting of the House this afternoon, which will show that there are others and perhaps just as great objections to this Bill. This petition is as follows :

The undersigned settlers in and around the town of Neudorf, Assiniboia, do strongly protest against' the proposed action of the Autonomy Bill In regard to the compensation offered by the present government, for withholding our public lands from us. Also in regard to clause 23 which telaves the exemption of Canadian Pacific Railway from taxation for ever free, and lastly in regard to the educational clauses, and we wish to ex'press our indignation, to the above, by appending our signatures ias follows :

I am glad to have an opportunity of presenting this petition before the right hon. gentleman, and of assuring him that from this time forward, he is likely to receive a great many petitions of the same kind. A question that affects me personally, as greatly as any is the fact that that great Mr. SCHAFFNER.

country west of Fake Superior is not represented to-day in the Dominion government. However great his ability may be, no man on either side of this House at such a time in the history of the country as this can be Prime Minister and at the same time perform with satisfaction the duties of the Minister of the Interior. I hold that this cannot be done, and I want to say further that I do not want to detract from any eastern province. Nearly all of us who have been in that western country for 20, 25 and 30 years, who have been pioneers, nothwifchstanding that we have made that country our home, we are sons of the east -<1 am sure this is true of the majority of the people of that country-and we are loyal to the east. Personally, though I have been in the west for twenty-four years, 1 never hear the word * Nova Scotia ' spoken but it fills me with pride. And I believe that is true of every easterner. Every member of this House, I am sure, believes that if this Canada of ours is to be a great country like the country to the south of us, great in population, in trade and in wealth, the resources upon which its progress must be based lie west of Lake Superior. We have, perhaps, to take some of our lessons from the east, but if we are to become great:, if we are ever to have forty or fifty millions of inhabitants, it must be because of the resources of the west. And yet that country is deprived of a man in the council to represent our case as1 it _ should be represented. That is not a condition of affairs that ought to exist to-day. I think I need not say more on the subject of the extension of the boundaries. If I were to talk for an hour I could not make myself better understood than by the statement that I believe it is the right of Manitoba to have her boundaries extended. And we should have at once a Minister of the Interior, a man who can do our business for us. And I would like to make a suggestion-well, no ; I have no right to put it that way; I would like to submit a request-to the First Minister that when he, in his own good time, appoints a Minister of the Interior, he will appoint a man who is responsible to the people. We do not want a man, however great his ability may be, that belongs to some constituency In which he is not directly responsible to the people. I would like to see some constituency in the west opened up to test public opinion on these great questiohs. I think we are ready for it.' When this question was being settled for Manitoba the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) was very anxious for investigation. Well, Mr. Speaker, don't you think that -a very good way to find out what the people think upon this question would be to throw open one of the constituencies ? We are not very particular which constituency in the west these hon. gentlemen decide to open ; any of them will

if ARCH 15, 1905

afford a fair test. I tlianli the House very much for the kind attention with which they have heard me.

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