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The recent political history of the Dominion has comprised a series of ministerial crises, cabinet reconstructions, and party adjustments-all directly connected with the development of the Manitoba school issue. While primarily a Canadian issue, this question excites deep interest in circles far be
yond the Dominion. In it is involved a principle of fundamental importance as bearing on the general problem of popular governmentnamely, the principle of combining the greatest possible freedom of local government with the greatest possible federal strength; and the solution of the problem which may be reached in Canada will form an object lesson of deep interest for students of civil polity in all parts of the world. The Dominion Parliament.-Manitoba School Question. -The sixth and last
session of the seventh parliament of the Dominion began January 2 and ended April 23. The legislation actually accomplished was of only minor importance; but the debates. dealing with the educational claims of the Roman Catholic minority in Manitoba had surpassing interest. Hardly had the session begun, when, on Jaifuary 5, it was announced that seven members of the cabinet had resigned-Messrs. Haggart, Sir C. Hibbert Tupper, Foster, Ives, Montague, Dickey, and Wood. The full significance of their action is probably a cabinet secret; but it was connected, as explained by Sir A. Caron, with the premier's action in beginning the session with a vacancy in the ministry-and that a Quebec vacancy-still unfilled, namely, the vacancy caused by the resignation of M. Angers last July (Vol. 5, p. 393).
On receipt of the resignations of the seven ministers, the premier, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, contemplated retiring from office; but Lord Aberdeen, governor-general, declined to accept his resignation on the ground that his speech from the throne had not been considered. An adjournment was taken January 9-14, and in the meantime the premier succeeded in reorganizing the cabinet. All the members
who had resigned returned, with the exception of Sir C. Hib. bert Tupper, minister of justice; and two accessions to the cabinet occurred in the persons of Sir Charles H. Tupper, Bart., Canadian high commissioner in London, Eng., and Senator Alphonse Desjardins. The reconstructed cabinet was as follows:
President of the Council-Sir Mackenzie Bow
Secretary of StateSir Charles Tupper, Bart. Postmaster-General
Sir Adolphe Caron.
Minister of Marine and Fisheries-Mr. John Costigan.
Minister of FinanceMr. George E. Foster. John G. Haggart.
Minister of Railways and Canals-Mr.
Minister of Trade and Commerce-Mr. W. B. Ives.
Minister of Justice-Mr. A. R. Dickey.
Minister of Agriculture-Dr. W. H. Montague.
Minister of Militia and Defense-Mr. Alphonse Desjardins.
Comptroller of Inland Revenue-Lieut.-Col. E. G. Prior.
Sir Charles Tupper, Bart., was, on February 4, elected to represent Cape Breton in the commons, by a majority of 724. His opponent was the Hon. G. H. Murray (liberal), ex-legislative councillor in the Nova Scotia legisla
ture. The vote polled (3,705 to 2,981) was the largest in the history of the constituency-a fact due to the recent revision of the voters' lists. The post of high commissioner in London, which Sir Charles Tupper had resigned to run for a seat in the Dominion, was shortly filled by the appointment of Sir Donald A. Smith of Montreal, Que. The Remedial Bill.-On February 11 the government bill for relief of the Roman Catholics in Manitoba was introduced by the Hon. A. R. Dickey, minister of justice. It was entitled "The Remedial Act of Manitoba." It proposed to restore to the minority in Manitoba their educational rights by allowing them to establish separate schools, and presumed that the provincial government would accept the law once it was passed. Throughout its 112 clauses one principle was adhered tonamely, that provincial autonomy in the matter of education was not to be arbitrarily infringed: the Dominion was to be empowered to act for the relief of the minority only after a definite refusal of the province to do so: every authority conferred upon the federal executive in the premises was first left for the exercise of the provincial executive. Three months' time was to be allowed the province in which to decide upon its course. The bill was framed, as far as practicable, upon the lines of the Manitoba school act of 1890. It aimed to insure the same safeguards as to efficiency in the Catholic schools as in the public schools, by providing for provincial inspection and the withholding of financial assistance in cases of reported inefficiency. The text-books used. were to be those of the public schools of Manitoba or of the separate schools of Ontario,
Space forbids us to publish here all the details of the bill. The following statements were made by Mr. Dickey in explanation of its general scope:
"The general scheme is this. It was found impossible to restore to the Roman Catholic minority of Manitoba those rights which it was thought they were entitled to under the constitution, without establishing a system of separate schools. In order to make that work
WM. MULOCK, M. A., M. P.,
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
able, a board of education is to be established in the province for separate schools, composed of the same number of members as the Catholic section of the old board of education. This board will have power with respect to organizing and carrying on the schools. The standard of education to be sought in these schools, and the standard of the teachers who are qualified to hold licenses in the schools, are to be the same as in the Public School act of Manitoba-not identically the same, but of the same standard. The persons who contribute to those schools, the separate schools, are to be prima facie all Catholics in Manitoba. But the Roman Catholic who prefers that his children shall attend the public schools, and decides that he will contribute to the public schools, has the right to make that choice, by giving certain notice, which
will be found in the bill; and he becomes contributor to the public schools, and not to the separate schools.
"The inspection is of a double kind. What I may call the everyday inspection of the schools for the practical working, is to be carried on by inspectors to be appointed by the board of education. There is a further inspection to be made by inspectors to be appointed or to be authorized in that behalf by the governor-in-council in the province of Manitoba. These inspectors of the local government will inspect them simply for the purpose of certifying to the efficiency of the teaching in the schools. It is thought desirable that an entirely independent inspection should be had for the purpose of testing efficiency; but, as I have said, the practical, everyday inspection is to be made by what we may call domestic inspectors appointed by the board of education
"The bill provides for certain powers as to trustees, and as to ratepayers and other matters that are essential to the working of any school system, and which are necessarily in the nature of details, which cannot be discussed at the present time.
"One very troublesome question dealt with by the bill, is the question of school books. That gave a great deal of difficulty, but it was finally settled on this basis: that the board of education should have the choice of the school books, their choice, however, being limited to this-they should only select school books that have been the choice of the public schools of Manitoba, or the books in the public separate schools in the province of Ontario.
The financial aspect of the measure is this: The Catholics who become adherents to this school system, or rather who do not dissent from this school system, are allowed to tax themselves for the separate schools in their district, and they are exempted from taxation for the public schools of the province of Manitoba. The municipality is enjoined by the bill to collect the whole municipal taxes over the whole of the property in the municipality, and distribute it for the support of schools in the municipality.
"The subject of a legislative grant was one of very grave difficulty. * But, so far as the bill is concerned, the attempt that was made by the government was this: There were two aspects of the question, the sharing of the legislative grant, which was one of the rights adjudged primarily to the Roman Catholic minority in Manitoba in the privy council decision in England and Canada; that, therefore, was one of the rights to which they were particularly entitled. On the other hand, it was felt that for this parliament to attempt to interfere directly with supply granted by the province of Manitoba, would lead to enormous practical difficulties, besides being of a very highly offensive character-if I may use that term-to the local authorities. The government did not feel that this house had any constitutional authority to deal practically with the question of the legis lative grant; and, as far as the difficulty was considered possible of solution, it is solved in the bill which I propose to introduce, by adjudicating that the right to share in the legislative grant be one of the rights and privileges of the Catholic minority in the province of Manitoba."
In answer to a question from M. Laurier, Mr. Dickey stated that the board of education for the separate schools of Manitoba was to be appointed by the lieutenant-governor-in-council of Manitoba; and after three months' default in making any appointment, the governorgeneral-in-council is clothed with power to fill vacancies, or to appoint the board.
Speculation at once arose as to whether this bill, if passed, would satisfy the Roman Catholic minority. In this connection, probably the most authoritative statement is the following letter from Archbishop Langevin of St. Boniface, which appeared after the bill had made some slight progress in committee:
MONTREAL, April 13.
In the name of the Catholic minority of Manitoba, that I represent officially, I ask the house of commons to pass the whole remedial bill as it is now amended. It will be satisfactory to the said Catholic minority, that will accept it as a substantial, workable, and final settlement of the school question according to the constitution. A. D. LANGEVIN,
Archbishop of St. Boniface.