« PreviousContinue »
Another remarkable document was a letter addressed to M. Laurier by Father Lacombe, Oblate missionary in Manitoba, in the name of the Roman Catholic bishops, urging the liberal leader to support the remedial bill, and saying that the church would do what it could to defeat the liberal scheme of a commission of inquiry. He stated that if, through refusal of the liberals to support the bill, the government should be overthrown, the bishops and the clergy would as one man "rise to support those who may have fallen to defend us."
Throughout almost the whole session efforts were made. to effect a compromise between the federal and the provincial governments. Shortly after the introduction of the remedial bill, Sir Donald Smith went to Winnipeg (of his own volition, it is said, and not on solicitation of the federal government). He held interviews with Premier Greenway, Attorney-General Sifton, and Archbishop Langevin; but failed to accomplish anything.
The Greenway government is backed up by an overwhelming majority in the province. In the elections held January 15 practically the sole issue was that of a universal system of national schools as against the restoration of separate schools; and on this issue the government swept the country, securing over thirty members in a house of forty. On February 27 the strength of the government. was revealed in a vote of 31 for to 7 against the adoption of Attorney-General Sifton's motion protesting against contemplated federal interference in provincial school matters. And the spirit of determination to uphold the established public school system, which actuates the people of Manitoba, is seen in the vote of 33 to 7 by which the legislature about March 1 rejected the following test motion introduced by Mr. Fisher (liberal):
"The house is of opinion that the present situation calls for prudent and conciliatory action, and to this end the time is opportune for a calm and dispassionate review by the legislature of matters at issue between the majority and minority, with a view to considering whether a reasonable settlement of the question may not be found, which will avoid all excuse for federal intervention."
Some indication of the strength of sentiment in Ontario also, opposed to federal interference, is found in the mass meeting of 5,000 citizens of various political affiliations, which was held in Massey Hall, Toronto, February Resolutions by way of protest against the remedial bill were proposed by Wm. Mulock, M. P., Dalton McCarthy, M. P., Hon. N. Clarke Wallace, M. P., and Dr. Sproule. This was followed on March 5 by the passage, in
the Ontario legislature, of a resolution amended in part as follows on proposal of Sir Oliver Mowat, liberal leader:
"That this house is of opinion that the proposal of remedial legislation by the Dominion should not be entertained until after the request of the Manitoba legislature for a thorough investigation on the part of the Dominion of all the facts is acted upon, and all reasonable and proper efforts for conciliation have been made and have failed.
"That hasty action by the Dominion parliament is, in the judg ment of this house, fraught with great danger to the best interests of the Dominion as a whole, including the interests of the Roman Catholic minority, for whose benefit the proposed remedial legislation is designed."
The second reading of the remedial bill Iwas moved on March 3 by Sir Charles Tupper, Bart.
Sir Charles pointed out that Sir Alexander Galt had caused to be placed in the Act of Confederation a clause providing for the protection of minorities, and covering the matter of education in cases where the rights and privileges of minorities were interfered with. It was under that clause that the judg ment of the imperial privy council had granted the
EX-PRESIDENT OF M'GILL COLLEGE,
appeal for the remedial SIR WILLIAM DAWSON, C. M. G., LL. D., F. R. S. E.,
Hon. Wilfred Laurier, leader of the liberal opposition, replied by a vehement attack upon the proposed bill, ending by clearly summing up his position and moving a "six months' hoist" to the bill as follows:
"I admit that parliament has power to interfere, but that power should not be exercised until the case has been investigated, and until
all means of conciliation have been exhausted. I therefore move that the bill be not now read a second time, but that it be read this day six months."
The division on the second reading of the bill took place March 20. M. Laurier's amendment-for a six months' hoist was defeated by a majority of twenty-four, and the second reading was carried by a majority of eighteen. The difference in the majorities is explained by the fact that three conservatives who were opposed to remedial legislation were also opposed to the treatment of the question proposed by M. Laurier.
The vote on the six months' hoist stood: For, 91; against, 115.
An analysis of the vote shows that there was defection on both sides. Eighteen conservatives, all except one being from Ontario, voted against second reading; seven liberals favored it. There were two pairs, one member absent without a pair, and three vacancies in Quebec seats. These, with the speaker, complete the full house of 215 members.
The strength of the government lay outside Ontario and Quebec, as shown by the distribution of votes according to provinces, which was as follows:
Prince Edward Island.
Had all the liberals voted with M. Laurier, the second reading would still have been carried by the conservatives by a majority of four. A defection of two more votes would then have sufficed to place the government at the mercy of the opposition.
Strong hopes for an amicable settlement had been revived by an announcement from Sir Charles Tupper, March 9, that the government intended, after the second reading of the bill, to reopen negotiations with the Manitoba authorities. On March 21 the ministers of justice and militia (Hon. Messrs. Dickey and Desjardins) and Sir Donald Smith were appointed a commission to confer on the school question with Mr. Greenway and his colleagues, "with a view to reaching a settlement, by provincial leg
islation, which will be mutually satisfactory to the government of Manitoba and to the Roman Catholic minority." The Manitoba legislature had in the meantime (March 19) adjourned to April 16.
However, this conference ended at the beginning of April, like all its predecessors in the way of effort toward conciliation, without results. The Dominion government would not refrain from pressing the bill in committee, and the Manitoba government refused to continue negotiations so long as a measure savoring of coercion was under consideration at Ottawa.
The further efforts of the opposition were mainly in the way of obstructing progress of the bill through committee. and transaction of government business; and so effective did the obstruction prove, that, in view of the nearness of the time when the session must expire, the government, in the middle of April, abandoned the remedial bill, and devoted its energies during the remainder of the session to passing the requisite bills of supply.
A new parliament will be elected June 16.
An interesting incident which occurred in the early days of the session, was the publication in the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto World of dispatches alleging that Dr. Montague had been guilty of writing certain anonymous letters charging Sir A. Caron with having accepted a bribe for his assistance in securing the passage of a railway bill through parliament during the session of 1894. Dr. Montague at once made an unqualified denial of the charge, and demanded an investigation. The subsequent correspondence between the two ministers, and the letters received by them from the governor-general, show that they are fully exonerated at the bar of public opinion.
Tupper Ministry Formed.-On April 27 Sir Mackenzie Bowell resigned the premiership to which he was called on the death of Sir John Thompson in November, 1894 (Vol. 4, p. 854). The task of forming a new ministry was intrusted to the veteran conservative leader, Sir Charles H. Tupper, Bart.; and on May 1 the members of the new cabinet were sworn in. The list is as follows: *
Premier and Secretary of State-Sir Charles H. Tupper, Bart., K. C. M. G.
President of the Privy Council-A. R. Angers.
*NOTE.-The above record of developments in Dominion politics is brought up to May 1.
Minister of the Interior-Hugh J. Macdonald, son of the late Sir John A. Macdonald.
Minister of Marine and Fisheries-J. Costigan.
Minister of Finance-G. E. Foster.
Minister of Railways and Canals-J. G. Haggart.
Minister of Agriculture-Dr. W. H. Montague.
Comptroller of Customs-J. F. Wood.
Comptroller of Inland Revenue-LieutenantColonel E. G. Prior.
Solicitor-General (without seat in privy council)-Sir C. Hibbert Tupper, K. C. M. G.
Without portfolioSir F. Smith, Hon. D. Ferguson, and Hon. J. J. Ross.
The Copyright Question. A new phase of this question was developed toward the end of January by a protest to the English government, from France, against allowance of the Canadian act of 1889 or any compromise biil based upon the "manufacturing clause," i. e., the principle of requiring foreign authors to have their books "manufactured" in Canada within a certain time and under certain other conditions. To impose upon foreign writers and publishers any formalities. other than those of the country of origin of the work seeking copyright, is considered by France to be a violation of the principle of the Berne convention.
SIR C. HIBBERT TUPPER, K. C. M. G.,
The protest was formulated by the French Syndicate of Literary and Artistic Societies for the Protection of Intellectual Property; and its principle has been adopted by the French foreign office as its own.
It will be remembered that a compromise of the Canadian act of 1889 had been drafted by Mr. Hall Caine and the Canadian publishers, containing a restricted applica