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Canada, it is almost too much to expect that the political effect of action for or against the minority should be wholly ignored and that party exigencies should be entirely disregarded. And if this be so in Parliament, what is likely to happen if such a question should reach the stage when it must be debated on political platforms, canvassed on the hustings, and voted upon by the electorate in the heat of a parliamentary contest? Of the wisdom of attempting to provide for the redress of grievances of provincial minorities in educational matters by federal legislative intervention I may be allowed, in the light of experience, to express the gravest doubt.
But in order to appreciate the full purpose of the several provisions of section 93 of the B. N. A. Act and their bearing and effect upon the relations of the civil authority in Canada to Catholic education, it is necessary to have in mind, in general outline at least, the circumstances in which Confederation was originally formed, the manner in which it was extended to embrace other provinces, and the conditions with regard to Catholic education which prevailed in the several original confederating provinces at and immediately pricr to the year 1867, and, in the cases of provinces subsequently taken in or created, at or immediately prior to their becoming members of the Union.
Before Confederation, there were east of the Great Lakes five British provinces-Canada (comprising Upper and Lower Canada), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Each had autonomous government by its own legislature, with a presiding governor appointed by the Imperial authorities. Separated in 1792 into two provinces-Upper Canada and Lower Canada—the two Canadas had been reunited in 1840, and they were thereafter governed by one legislature until Confederation. To the west of the Great Lakes lay the vast Northwest Territories, called Prince Rupert's Land, owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, and on the Pacific slope there was still another self-governed province, British Columbia.
The Union of the two Canadas had proved unsatisfactory. As a solution of the political difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada, confederation with the other British-American provinces was suggested. After several years of discussion and debate, a confederation scheme was accepted by the four original confederating provinces—Ontario (Upper Canada), Quebec (Lower Canada), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The terms settled
), . by the representatives of these four provinces were embodied by the Imperial Parliament in the British North America Act of 1867. Provision was made for the entry of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Rupert's Land into the Confederation by Imperial Order in Council. Newfoundland has not yet availed itself of this privilege. British Columbia came in in May, 1871, and Prince Edward Island in July, 1873. To these two provinces the B. N. A. Act, including section 93, became at once applicable.
In 1869 Canada acquired Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company. The Dominion Parliament immediately carved out of this territory the Province of Manitoba, which it constituted in 1870 by a statute called the Manitoba Act. This Act contained special provisions in regard to education-a modification of section 93 of the B. N. A. Act, designed to meet the circumstances existing in Manitoba in regard to denominational education, as to which I shall have something to say in a few minutes. Owing to some question being raised as to the power of the Dominion Parliament to create new provinces and to endow them with constitutions, this legislation was confirmed in 1871 by an Imperial statute, which also gave to the Dominion Parliament express power to constitute other provinces out of the territories acquired by the Dominion. Under this statute, the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were constituted by the Dominion Parliament in 1905. Up to that time the entire Northwest Territories had been without provincial organization. The Act establishing Saskatchewan and Alberta contains special provisions in regard to education in those provinces, the outcome of a prolonged debate in the Canadian House of Commons, which was accompanied by much agitation throughout the Dominion. Of these provisions I shall speak again.
In the net result, we have in Canada practically a different system and varying conditions in regard to Catholic educational rights in each province, dependent largely upon the situation which existed at, or immediately before, its becoming a member
of the Confederation. These conditions I shall now proceed to develop as briefly as possible.
Naturally the needs and requirements of the four provinces originally confederating received the greatest attention and the most careful consideration in the preparation of the federation scheme. Of these four provinces, Ontario and Quebec appear to have been the most concerned about minority rights in the matter of education. The reason of this no doubt was that in these provinces there had been a great deal of strife and contention upon separate school questions, and the nature and the extent of minority rights and the necessity for their protection by the guarantee of an Imperial statute were better understood and appreciated. It is therefore not surprising that, while the provisions of the 93d section have proved to be reasonably adequate for the protection of the rights and privileges of the minorities in Quebec and Ontario, in other provinces—New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island-rights and privileges which the Catholic minorities supposed they possessed have been found to be not within the protection of the Act, and these minorities have failed in their efforts to sustain their claims.
An understanding of the state of affairs in Ontario and Quebec will give the best idea of the conditions which section 93 of the B. N. A. Act was intended to meet, and of the purposes which its framers had in view. It will also aid in the appreciation of the effect of this section and of cognate provisions of other statutes upon the educational rights of religious minorities in the several provinces of Canada.
To do justice to the history of the separate school movement in ‘Upper Canada would require much more time than we can afford to give to it this evening. I must content myself with glancing at its more important events and summarizing the principal features of the separate school system.
Upper Canada was separated from Quebec and organized as a province in 1792. As early as the year 1807, we find school legislation. By an Act then passed, and amended in 1808, 1816, 1819 and 1824, the establislıment of public schools was provided for. The government of these schools was left entirely in the hands of local trustees chosen by the ratepayers of the section. There
was no system of inspection, no prescribed series of text-books, no government supervision. The early settlers were too intent upon clearing the land and making homes for themselves and their families—the struggle for a livelihood was too strenuous and unremitting—to permit of their being disturbed by religious feuds and dissensions. They were dependent upon their immediate neighbors for companionship, and often interchanged with them labor and the very necessaries of life. A kindly and tolerant spirit was thus fostered. In the few places in which they were in the majority, even where they formed a minority of considerable numbers, the reasonable views and demands of Catholics were respected in regard to the courses of study, the selection of text-books and the management of the schools. The methods and conduct of each teacher were largely guided and controlled by the ideas and wishes of the trustees and principal supporters of the school in which he taught, as to the moral and religious training to be imparted. But there were no separate schools in those days—none which were in any proper sense denominational, except, perhaps, in the larger cities and towns, a few private schools under the immediate management of church authorities. Each teacher of a public school which sent to the Government a report of attendance and management received from the province a grant of $100. The rest of the expense was paid by the supporters of the school in the local section. Grammar schools were established only in the district or shire towns.
In Lower Canada, the Protestant minority was less scattered, being found principally in the city of Montreal and in the Eastern Townships near the United States' border. The public schools being under Catholic control, the Protestants, wherever they were sufficiently numerous to support them, established dissentient schools under their own management. All these schoolsCatholic, Protestant, and, in some localities, mixed-shared proportionately in the provincial grant. It will thus be seen that the idea of separate or dissentient schools for the benefit of re
ligious minorities was first introduced into Canada by the · Protestants of Lower Canada, and first obtained public recogni
tion in French Catholic Quebec, in the government of which, however, the English Protestant element was then dominant.
Such were the conditions in regard to education when, as an outcome of the rebellion of 1837 and pursuant to the recommendation of Lord Durham, who was commissioned by the Imperial authorities to investigate and report upon the grievances and abuses which had led to this outbreak, these two provinces were reunited in 1840, and the new province of Canada thus formed was granted responsible government. One of the measures passed at the first session of the new Parliament in 1841 established a common school system for the entire province under the management of a Board and Superintendent of Education. Government aid to the extent of £50,000 was provided. Other moneys required to support the schools were to be raised by local assessment. Special provisions were made for religious minorities. They were enabled by a simple process to establish under the control of their own trustees a public separate or dissentient school in each rural district. In cities and towns the schools were placed under the management of a Board of Examiners appointed by the Governor in Council, of which the membership was one-half Catholic and one-half Protestant. The Catholic section had complete control of schools exclusively Catholic, and the Protestant section of schools exclusively Protestant. Mixed schools were managed by the Board as a whole. The jurisdiction of urban boards and of rural trustees included the examination and employment of teachers, the prescribing of courses of study, the authorization of text-books and all matters of management and discipline. All the schools-public, separate or dissentient, and mixed-received a proportionate share of all public moneys devoted to school purposes, whether granted by the Government or raised by local assessment. This eminently fair measure accorded similar treatment to Protestants and to Catholics. But in 1843 it was thought desirable that each of the former provinces should control its own system of education. The public grant of £50,000 was accordingly apportioned, and a new educational Act was passed for Upper Canada, Lower Canada continuing under the Act of 1841.
Under the Act of 1843 the conditions on which a religious minority of a district in Upper Canada might have a separate school were, that the public school was taught by a teacher not