BC Sessional Papers

REPORT British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1912

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Submitted to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor by the Hon. Kichard McBride,
the Hon. W. J. Bowser, and the Hon. W. E. Ross on their mission to Ottawa
as a Delegation from the Government of British Columbia.
By Command.
Provincial Secretary.
Provincial Secretary's Office,
12th February, 1912.
To His Honour Thomas W. Paterson,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia:
May it Please Your Honoub :
The undersigned have the honour to report that, in accordance with your instructions, they
visited Ottawa as delegates to the Dominion Government for the purpose of settling matters
relating to the adjustment of financial arrangements between the Province of British Columbia
and the Dominion of Canada, and other questions in connection with the relations between
the Province and the Dominion.
The Delegation reached Ottawa on the evening of November 6th, 1911, and by arrangement
with the Prime Minister waited upon him next morning, and handed him the following letter
with the accompanying communication and memoranda dealing with the principal matters which
it was desired to lay before him:—
" Russell House,
Ottawa, November 6th, 1911.
" Hon. R. L. Borden,
Prime Minister, Ottawa, Ont.
" Deae Me. Borden,—I beg to hand you herewith a formal communication over the signatures
of my colleagues, the Hon. W. J. Bowser, Attorney-General, and the Hon. W. R. Ross, Minister
of Lands, and myself, with regard to certain matters which the Provincial Government is
desirous of taking up with you and your colleagues, with a view to an early adjustment of
the same.
" Yours sincerely,
" Richard McBeide."
" Russell House,
Ottawa, Ont, November 6th, 1911.
" Hon. R. L. Borden,
Prime Minister of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.
" Sie,—We, the undersigned, having been delegated by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor
of British Columbia in Council to submit for the consideration of the Federal Government
various matters affecting the relations between the Dominion and Provincial authorities, beg
to advise you of these as follows :—
" Asiatic Legislation.
" We feel satisfied that the determined stand of the Province of British Columbia against the
further immigration of Asiatics is well within the knowledge of your Government. The Province
in the past enacted and re-enacted a Statute, framed on the lines of what is commonly called the N 2 Mission to Ottawa. 191S
' Natal Act.' The Federal authorities repeatedly disallowed these laws. The constitutionality
of our legislation has also been questioned, but by reason of its disallowance immediately preceding an appeal to the Privy Council, there has been no opportunity of ascertaining from the last
Court of resort to what length, under the law, the local Legislature may go. We would most
respectfully urge upon the Dominion Government the necessity of some early and effective action
being taken, with the object of carrying out the wishes of British Columbia. It is obvious that
what is in the interest of British Columbia in this respect is undoubtedly in the general interest
of the whole Dominion. Asiatics are still coming to the country in large numbers, and to-day
are as much a menace against white settlement and white labour as ever before in the history
of the Province.
" Better Terms.
" This issue is one which has already been discussed at length with both the Dominion
and Imperial Governments. The data on file at Ottawa fully covers the position taken by the
Province. We most respectfully urge upon you the appointment, jointly with British Columbia,
of a competent tribunal, through whose agency the whole subject may be finally disposed of.
We are prepared, at your convenience, to go fully into the matter with you.
" Dominion Interests in Railway Belt and in Peace River Disteict.
" As the settlement of British Columbia proceeds, it becomes more and more patent, we
submit, that the development of the interests held by the Dominion Government in these districts,
in the way of settlement and occupation, can best be forwarded by administration through the
local authorities. We are prepared, on behalf of British Columbia, to purchase outright the
rights of the Dominion in these properties. Pending a final settlement, the Province will undertake to administer the lands under local laws and to account for all moneys received, less cost
of administration, to the Federal Government.
" Indian Reseeves.
" The title of the Crown in the right of the Province to Indian reserve lands in British
Columbia was never questioned until within the past few years, when certain objections were
raised thereto by the Department of Justice at Ottawa. We still maintain that the reversionary
interest in all Indian reserves is the property of the Province, and that it is essential in the
public interest that the attitude of the Province be maintained. It may be well, in this
connection, to refer to the large excess acreage held on account of Indian reserves in British
Columbia, and to the necessity, in view of the rapid increase in white population, of having
an immediate readjustment of all reserves, so that the excess acreage may be released to the
" Alien Labour.
" From the disclosures in the Courts in British Columbia during the past few months, it
appears that the laws with regard to alien labour have not been properly enforced. As a result
of this, resident labour has not received the protection that was intended by the Act. It is
respectfully submitted that the subject is one for prompt and effective action on the part of the
Federal Government.
" In addition to the foregoing, it is proposed to take up with yourself and colleagues the
following subjects:—
" Foreshore lands:
" Point Grey University site:
" Victoria Drill Hall site:
" Repayment to the Province of moneys expended on the construction of wharves in
navigable waters  and  for  mattress  and rock-work in the  Columbia and  Fraser
Rivers and other waters :
" County Court Judges' salaries :
" Fishery privileges:
" The introduction to and propagation in British Columbia waters  of whitefish and
" Construction   of  additional  cruisers   for  the   more  adequate   protection   of   British
Columbia fisheries. 2 Geo. 5 Mission to Ottawa. N 3
" In addition to all of these, there are various questions of a departmental nature which
with your concurrence we are anxious to take up with the various Ministers.
" We have the honour to be,
Your obedient servants,
" W. J. Bowseb.
" W. R. Ross."
" Russell House,
Ottawa, November 6th, 1911.
" Memo, fob the Honourable the Peime Ministee.
" Prince Rupert Foreshore.—In concluding with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway arrangements for the establishment of the Pacific terminals at Prince Rupert, the Province transferred
to the company 10,000 acres of land, and after the same was subdivided the Province received
back as its share one-quarter, which property for the most part still remains in the Province.
There seems to be very little doubt that as Prince Rupert was not a public harbour when the
Province entered Confederation, the title to the foreshore is in the Province rather than the
Dominion. At the same time, it will set at rest any question of title to the property held by
British Columbia if your Government would quit-claim to the Province any rights the Dominion
might claim in the foreshore.
" Songhees Reserve.—The Provincial Government, with the consent of the Indians and the
Federal authorities, recently concluded the purchase of the Indian reserve, which is known as
the Songhees Reserve, in the heart of the City of Victoria. It is proposed very shortly to
subdivide these lands, so that portions may be set aside and sold for railway terminals, municipal
and commercial purposes. While it is true that the Department at Ottawa has released all
claims to the property heretofore held on behalf of the Indians, it is highly desirable, so as to
remove any possibility of doubt as to title, that the Dominion should execute a grant in the
nature of a quit-claim to all the property, including foreshore. In extinguishing the Indian
rights and providing a new reserve for the tribe, the Province has expended to date upwards
of $800,000.
" Foreshore Lands in General.—It is contended by the Province that a very large majority
of the foreshore lands in the Province is entirely the property of the local and not of the
Federal Government. It appears that in the past grants of leases of Provincial foreshore land
have been made from Ottawa without any reference to the Province. We are pleased to note
that the Hon. Mr. Hazen, very recently, in connection with an application for foreshore lands
at False Creek, Vancouver, instructed the city to take the matter up with the Province as well,
as there might be involved in the transaction certain Provincial rights. In order to safeguard
against any clash in the future between the Federal and local authorities, we beg to submit
that hereafter, before final action is taken with reference to foreshore lands, Indian or military
reserves, the Province should first be consulted and its approval obtained."
" Russell  House,
Ottawa, November 6th, 1911.
" Memo,  for  the  Honoueable  the  Peime  Ministee.
" Point Grey University Site.—A large sum of money, approximating hundreds of
thousands of dollars, has been expended by the Provincial Government at Point Grey
Reservation, near Vancouver, in developing a reserve of Provincial land at this point. By an
Act of the local Legislature a large tract of these lands has been set aside for the purposes of
the University of British Columbia. It is proposed at the forthcoming session of the Legislature of British Columbia to grant a considerable appropriation, in order that the University N 4 Mission to Ottawa. 1912
building may be commenced, so that by the Fall term of 1913 the academic faculty may be
enabled to begin work. While the Provincial Government has been steadily proceeding as set
out above, there has been no objection offered from Ottawa. It has developed, though, within
the past few months, that the Department of Militia lays claim to the University site. If it is
intended to carry the matter to the Court, a situation will arise which is bound to most
detrimentally affect the plans of the Province regarding higher education. In order to avoid
any conflict of this character, and in the best interests of the Province, it is submitted that
the claim of the Militia Department be at once withdrawn and a quit-claim of their interests
(if any) executed by the Dominion Government in favour of British Columbia. It may be
interesting to observe that this University site was the selection, after weeks of careful
observation, extending all over British Columbia, of a Commission of leading Canadian
educationalists selected from the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and
" Russell  House.
Ottawa, November 6th, 1911.
" Memo,  fob  the  Honoueable the  Peime  Minister.
" Victoria Drill Hall Site.—In connection with much-needed extension to the present
Provincial Parliament Buildings at Victoria, at large outlay, several small parcels of land in
Parliament Square have been acquired, so as to vest title to the whole square in the local
Government. The contract for the new structure has been let and is being proceeded with.
Before the plans proposed can be fully carried out, the Drill Shed, which is the only piece of
the square not in possession of the Province, must be removed. The land upon which it stands
has never been conveyed to the Militia authorities, but, from the records of the Department
at Victoria, seems to have been simply set aside for their use. With the concurrence of the
Federal authorities, and on the selection by their representative at Victoria, the Province has
acquired, at a cost of $35,000, a valuable parcel of land, whereon it was intended a new Drill
Hall should be erected, aud which land the Province is prepared to grant in fee to the
Dominion. It was also undertaken by the Province to pay to the Dominion whatever the
present buildings would bring. In view of the urgency for the settlement of the question, we
would press upon your Government the reasonableness of our position and the necessity for a
prompt adjustment of the ease."
" Russell House,
' Ottawa, November 6th, 1911.
" Memo,  foe  the  Honourable  the  Prime  Minister.
" Construction of Fishery Cruisers for the More Adequate Protection of British Columbia
Fisheries.—Under section 9 of the ' Terms of Union,' under which British Columbia entered
Confederation, the Dominion authorities undertook the protection and encouragement of fisheries
in British Columbia. It is conceded on all sides that the steps taken to date by Ottawa for the
protection of our Coast fisheries are far from adequate. The poaching by foreign vessels in
our home waters still continues almost unchecked. It would be difficult to estimate in what
exceedingly large proportions the fishery wealth of the Province has been depleted, and
advantages, which should have been enjoyed at home, have become entirely lost to the country.
The immediate provision for additional cruisers, larger and faster than those in commission, is
" The Introduction to and Propagation in British Columbia Waters of Whiteflsh and
Lobsters and the Further Extension of Salmon Propagation.—The Provincial Fisheries Department holds the view that whiteflsh and lobsters may be successfully introduced and propagated
In Provincial waters, and we suggest that steps be taken during the present session to arrange
for a transfer of these fish to British Columbia waters. 2 Geo. 5 Mission to Ottawa. N 5
" As regards salmon, we would respectfully suggest that money could be profitably
expended by the Dominion Department in clearing out the streams and rivers, so as to make
the access to the natural spawning-grounds easier than at present."
" Russell House,
Ottawa, November 6th, 1911.
" Memo,  for  the  Honourable  the  Prime  Minister.
" Herewith   is   appended   a   statement   showing  the   amount   of   money   expended   by   the
Province under the following heads :—
" Wharves.—We contend, with respect to the building of these structures on navigable
waters, that the expense should be borne not by the Province, but by the Dominion, as is the
case in all the other Provinces of the Dominion.
" Mattresses and Rock-work.—Because of the dire necessity to act promptly, the Province
was obliged to undertake work which properly should have been done by the. Dominion. We
ask that these sums be now returned to the Province.
" Statement,  19th  October,  1911.—Expenditure  on  Wharves   ouilt  Navigable   Waters.
" 1895-96    $6,164 52
1896-97      895 50
1897-98   3,598 72
1898-99   5,541 53
1899-1900   2,455 68
1900-01   2,974 73
1901-02   5,070 24
1902-03   6,498 02
1903-04   4,880 98
1904-05   5,018 45
1905-06  8,803 65
1906-07  14,430 52
1907-08  .17,772 62
1908-09  34,925 69
1909-10  41,004 35
1910-11  29,903 38
1911-12 to date  32,204 02
 $222,142 60
" Statement, Expenditure Protection River-banks.
" Columbia River at Revelstoke :—
" 1898-99     $33,107 53
1900-01         4,761 60
1906-07      31,058 80
1907-0S         3,656 34
1910-11       55,382 53
1911-12         1,098 90
 $129,665 70
Less contributed by Dominion Government        16,553 76
$113,111 94
' Fraser River  (Lower) :—
" 1905-06    $ 2,S70 34
1907-08     11,232 43
1908-09        5,586 31
1910-11     24,639 35
1911-12     20,170 60
  $64,499 03
Less contributed by Dominion  Government          2,500 00
$61,999 03' N 6 Mission to Ottawa. 1912
The various matters mentioned in the communication and memoranda were taken up and
discussed very fully with the Prime Minister.
With reference to the question of Better Terms, the history of the endeavours made by
the Province for many years to secure a Commission to inquire into its claims for special
consideration was reviewed; and the Delegation sought to emphasize the fact that the temporary
relief granted by the amendment to the " British North America Act" in 1907, of one hundred
thousand dollars a year for ten years, was insufficient and quite inadequate compensation to the
Province, the disabilities under which British Columbia laboured being of a permanent nature.
It was requested that the proposal of the Province set out in the memorandum submitted
to the Dominion Government on October 9th, 1906, should be adopted as a fair and reasonable
method of arriving at a just conclusion, and that a Commission be appointed, as requested in
that memorandum, a copy of which is attached to this Report.
It is a matter of special gratification that the Dominion Government, since the return of
the Delegation to Victoria, has now consented to appoint such a Commission; one Commissioner
to be chosen by the Dominion, one by the Province of British Columbia, and a third to be
selected by these two Commissioners, or, failing such agreement, by the Secretary of State for
the Colonies.
The Province has consistently maintained that only by a competent tribunal composed of
persons of eminent repute could its claims be properly investigated; and the present decision
on the part of the Dominion Government will, the Delegation believes, undoubtedly result in
the settlement of this long-standing problem that has been considered of such paramount
importance to the Province.
The assurance given by the Right Hon. R. L. Borden that the question of Asiatic
immigration would be taken up at once, in connection with the Treaty with Japan, not yet
accepted by Canada, and that the Provincial Government will be consulted with regard to
considerations specially affecting British Columbia, is a most important step gained; as it is
the first time that the Province has secured the right to be consulted in this matter. It was
impressed upon the Prime Minister that this question is of vital importance and that British
Columbia adheres strongly to its position that Oriental immigration is undesirable.
Another Conference was held on November 8th, Mr. McBride leaving Ottawa the same
afternoon; while the Attorney-General and the Minister of Lands remained for two days further
to discuss various questions of a departmental nature with the Federal Ministers. Among
other matters, the Dominion Government was requested to consider the advisability of increasing
the salaries of the Judges of the County Court.
The following letter was received from the Prime Minister in answer to the communication
laid before him and the representations on that behalf made by the Delegation:—
" Ottawa, Ont., November 10th, 1911.
" Sir,—I beg to acknowledge your letter of the 6th November, signed by yourself and by
the Hon. W. J. Bowser, Attorney-General, and the Hon. W. R. Ross, Minister of Lands, in
which you bring to the attention of this Government certain considerations and suggestions
touching matters that especially concern the interests of the Province of British Columbia.
The necessity of preparation for the session which will open on Wednesday next renders it
difficult to take up the various matters set forth in your communication with that promptness
which we would desire. However, you may rest assured that the various subjects alluded to
will receive earnest consideration and careful attention with as little delay as may be possible
under the circumstances.
" I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
" R. L. Borden.
" The Hon. Richard McBride,
Premier of British Columbia, Victoria, B.C." 2 Geo. 5 Mission to Ottawa. N 7
On January 25th, 1911, the following telegram was received from the Right Hon. R. L.
" Ottawa, Ont., January 25th, 1912.
" Hon. Richard McBride,
Premier of British Columbia, Victoria, B.C.
" Replying to your memorandum of the 6th November, 1911, respecting the claim of British
Columbia for exceptional treatment by reason of permanent physical conditions and otherwise
as set forth in your memorandum of 9th October, 1910, we are prepared to appoint a Commission
to investigate the merits of claim made by your Province in this regard; one Commissioner to
be named by this Government, one by your Government, and the third to be selected by agreement of the two Commissioners, or, failing such agreement, by the Secretary of State for the
" Asiatic immigration. This question is to be taken up as soon as possible in connection
with the new Treaty with Japan, to which Canada has not yet acceded. The interests of
Canada in respect of immigration will be safeguarded and your Government will be consulted
with regard to considerations specially affecting British Columbia.
" Songhees Reserve and Drill Hall matters have already been settled satisfactorily. The
question of foreshores is under consideration by the Department of Justice.
" R.  L.  Borden."
An official telegram was dispatched in acknowledgment, as follows:—
"Victoria, B.C., January 27th, 1912.
" Right Hon. R. L. Borden,
Prime Minister, Ottaica, Ont.
" On behalf Provincial Government, beg to thank you for your message January twenty-
fifth. Am prepared take up details Better Terms at your earliest convenience in order that
investigation may proceed and settlement be reached soon as possible.
"Asiatic question. Province prepared justify its attitude from every standpoint, with a
view to secure earliest possible action. Am pleased with assurance Songhees Reserve and Drill
Hall matters. With regard to other questions, please advise what, if anything, can be done to
" R.  McBride."
While all the Orders in Council have not yet been received, it is undoubtedly a cause for
congratulation that the final steps in connection with the transfer of the old Songhees Reserve
to the Province are being taken and the final settlement of this long-standing matter assured;
also that the site now used for a Drill Hall on the Parliament Square will soon be in possession
of the Province, as the ground is required for the extension of the Parliament Buildings now in
Correspondence is now proceeding between the Attorney-General's Department and the
Department of Justice at Ottawa to arrange for the administration of the water in the Railway
Belt by the Province, pending the final settlement regarding the proposal made to the
Dominion for the acquirement of the interests in the Railway Belt and Peace River lands.
In concluding their Report, the delegates desire to express their high appreciation of the
many courtesies extended to them, during their stay in Ottawa, by the Prime Minister and his
colleagues, at a time when the onerous duties attendant upon the preparations for the opening
of the session of the Dominion Parliament occupied their attention.
We have the honour to be,
Your obedient servants,
Richard McBride.
W. J. Bowser.
W. R. Ross. N 8 Mission to Ottawa. 1912
The Committee of Council have had under further consideration certain matters relating
to the welfare of the Province:—
1. Re the adjustment of financial arrangements between the Province of British Columbia
and the Dominion of Canada.
2. The settlement of certain questions that have been raised by the Federal authorities with
regard to the title to Indian reservations in the Province of British Columbia.
3. The adjustment of the difficulties and complications which have arisen with respect to
the water rights within the Railway Belt lands by reason of the decision of the Committee of
the Privy Council (November 1st, 1910).
4. And generally any other matters in connection with the relations between the Province
and the Dominion of Canada still outstanding.
The Committee recommend the appointment of the Honourable Richard McBride, Premier
and Minister of Mines, and the Honourable William John Bowser, Attorney-General, and the
Honourable William R. Ross, Minister of Lands, as delegates to the Dominion Government to
settle the aforesaid.
The Committee also recommend that a copy of this minute, if approved, be dispatched to
the Honourable the Secretary of State of Canada.
Dated at Victoria this 1st day of November, a.d. 1911.
H. E. Young,
Provincial Secretary.
A. E.  McPhillips,
Presiding Member of Executive.
Approved this 1st day of November, a.d. 1911.
Thomas Paterson,
On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, I adhere to the general principle of
the rights of the Provinces to increased subsidies, and therefore support the resolution which
has been submitted in favour of affirming the resolutions of the Quebec Conference, in so far
as they are not inconsistent with or prejudicial to the claims of any particular Province for
additional recognition with respect to such matters as form the subject of those resolutions.
The Government of British Columbia cannot, how-ever, accept them as a final and full
settlement of its demands. There are special considerations in the case of British Columbia
which involve additional recognition in its behalf. These considerations are set forth in the
memorial presented to the Dominion Government last year, and a resolution affirming the
position of the Provincial Government was unanimously adopted by the Legislature of the
Province of British Columbia. The resolutions of the Conference of Quebec, which, if carried
into effect, would increase the subsidies already received by British Columbia, relatively
speaking,  leave it no better,  if  as well, off.    This  is  obvious for two  reasons:—
1st. Owing to the excessive contributions made by British Columbia to the Federal Treasury,
as compared with other Provinces, the Province would pay an undue proportion of the amount
of the increase in subsidies to all the Provinces. A parallel in support of this is afforded in
the allowance which was made at the time of Confederation to certain Provinces on account
of the greater debt of other Provinces, in the payment of which the people of all the Provinces
had to share. Our case is precisely similar now to that in which those Provinces would have
been had no such allowance been made.
2nd. The proposed increase in subsidies being largely based upon population, the special
physical conditions which make the cost of government in the Province of British Columbia
disproportionately great are not provided for.
Briefly, as set forth in the memorial of the Government of British Columbia, already
referred to, " The claims being presented by the other Provinces for increased subsidies are 2 Geo. 5 Mission to Ottawa. N 9
similar in character to some of those of British Columbia, with this important distinction, that
the reasons which alike give them foundation are greatly accentuated in the case of this
A brief summary of the arguments in our case is herewith submitted:—
For a proper knowledge of the case, it is necessary to consider the conditions which existed
at the time British Columbia entered Confederation, and the mental attitude in which the terms
of union between the Province and the Dominion were framed. Public sentiment, as represented in Parliament, was prejudicial to more favourable terms being granted. A large section
of Canada was utterly opposed to union with British Columbia on the terms under which the
construction of a transcontinental railway was rendered obligatory. It was only upon grounds
of large public policy of a national character—the rounding out of Confederation—that their
adoption was justified. It was almost universally conceded that the Province, physically
handicapped as it was, would not pay its way in Confederation, and it was strongly contended
that the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway—the price asked by British Columbia—
was too great a sacrifice on the part of the Dominion, and that the railway when built would
prove nnremunerative. Consequently the financial terms conceded to British Columbia were
the least favourable possible.
A similar attitude towards British Columbia was maintained as long subsequently as 1884,
when the " Settlement Act" was passed, whereby the outstanding differences between the
Provinces and the Dominion were finally adjusted. By the terms of the " Settlement Act" the
Province, tired of delays and wearied with fruitless negotiations, agreed to transfer 3,500,000
of the best land in the Peace River District in lieu of expenditures on the part of the Dominion,
amounting in all to about $1,100,000. These lands, worth now, at the lowest valuation,
$17,500,000, were parted with to secure a railway from Esquimalt to Nanaimo, costing less than
$3,000,000, which, under the Carnarvon terms, the Dominion Government has pledged itself to
build without cost to the Province. The value of such concession was not then foreseen. The
Treaty of 1871, as revised in 1884, was made in misapprehension of the possibilities of British
Columbia and the development to accrue from the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The subsequent course of events has shown that British Columbia has not only paid its
way in Confederation, but has contributed in thirty-five years nearly $19,000,000 to the Federal
Treasury in excess of what it has received therefrom; that the Canadian Pacific Railway has
been instrumental more than any other factor in building up Canada, with benefits vastly
greater to Eastern Canada than to British Columbia; and that the " Settlement Act " gave a
realizable asset to the Dominion nearly twenty times greater than the expenditure which it
The Government of British Columbia submits as incontrovertible that as the original and
amended term of union having been based upon assumptions which have proved groundless,
and as that the very opposite of what was anticipated has transpired, it is incumbent, in the
light of developments which have actually taken place, upon the Dominion, morally and constitutionally, to now substitute fairer terms for those made perforce in anticipation of what
did not happen.
This contention is strictly in line with what is promised in the resolution of the Quebec
Conference of 1902, to the effect that at the time of the passing of the " British North America
Act," " it was impossible to foresee the development of the Dominion," and to provide in an
unalterable and fixed way for the requirements of the various local Governments for all time
to come, except that the conditions are so peculiar and exceptional in the case of British
Columbia as to demand exceptional consideration in the revision of financial terms now deemed
In the memorial presented by the Government of British Columbia to the Dominion
authorities, and in various letters and memoranda, the historical aspect of the case has been
reviewed, and the reasons for special consideration given in extenso. In addition to the foregoing, it has been pointed out that there are certain conditions and physical disabilities,
permanent in character, which accentuate the position of British Columbia considered in
relation to the other Provinces, and that abnormally increase the cost of administration in that
Province as compared with the average conditions of the rest of the Dominion, entailing as
well disadvantages of commercial, industrial, aud political character.    These are:— N 10
Mission to Ottawa.
1. The cost of administration, owing to the physical character of the country.
2. The distance from the commercial, industrial, and administrative centres of Eastern
3. The non-industrial character of the Province, as compared with Eastern Canada, whereby
a large percentage of goods are imported and consumed, increasing the contributions to the
Federal Treasury, in the way of taxes, in a ratio of three to one.
4. The disadvantages of the Province in relation to the market for its special products.
Under the first head, it is pointed out, and supported by tables filed in the official records
of all the Provinces, that the physical conditions referred to seriously affect the cost of government under every head.
The following table, covering a period of thirty years of all the Provinces, will sufficiently
illustrate these contentions :—
British Columbia is a country, roundly speaking, 900 miles in length and 500 miles in width,
including an area of 381,000 square miles, extremely mountainous in character and settled in
widely detached valleys with a sparse population. This involves an expenditure for government very much greater than in Provinces which are compact and do not present the same
peculiar conditions with which that Province is confronted.
2. The geographical position of the Province, though very important in one sense, is very
disadvantageous in relation to the Dominion as a whole. We sell very little to Eastern Canada
on account of the nature of our products, and we buy very largely there for the same reason.
Inter-Provincial trade was the material object in Confederation. The Province, therefore,
having four per cent, of the population pays eight per cent, of the price of Confederation, and
gets in return one per cent, of the trade.
3. The non-industrial character of the Province accounts for the enormous contributions
it has made to the Federal Treasury in proportion to the amount received in return. An
elaborate statement of the account appears in the memorial referred to, which has been brought
up to date, showing an excess of contributions over receipts amounting to nearly $19,000,000.
This is not submitted as an exact mathematical solution of financial relations, but is substantially accurate, and represents approximately the actual condition of affairs in respect to receipts
and contributions. There is the further consideration that the population, which accrues
directly to the benefit of the Dominion, accrues in the ratio of about three to one, as compared
with the average benefits from population in other sections of Canada.
4. The geographical position of the Dominion also handicaps it in relation to the products
which it sells. This is true, for the most part, of foreign exports of lumber, of fish, and of
minerals, and of many other things that it is hoped to produce in the future, such as manufactures of iron and paper. For the most part,' British Columbia sells in the markets of the
world in competition with the world. It cannot sell in Eastern Canada in competition with
Eastern manufactures owing to distance, and is thus handicapped in what it buys and what
it sells. 2 Geo. 5 Mission to Ottawa. N 11
Its geographical position has still further the effect of increasing the cost of consumption
by imposts in the way of freight on goods which are imported from a supply centre of Canada
and elsewhere.
In addition to the natural disadvantages under which the Province has laboured may
fairly be cited the political disadvantages of a limited representation in Parliament and the
long distance from the seat of Government. Without reflection upon one Administration at
Ottawa more than another, the Province, by reason of these handicaps, has not in the past
received that consideration for its various wants that is extended to the people of Eastern
Canada, who have large representation and easy access to the Capital.
Comparing the terms conceded to British Columbia and to the new Provinces of Alberta
and Saskatchewan, it is found in effect that when these Provinces are in receipt of the total
allowance to which they will be ultimately entitled per annum, the amount, in round numbers,
will be $2,250,000, while the total of British Columbia's allowance, when it has reached its
maximum, will be less than $500,000. It is not contended that the new Provinces have received
too much, but that British Columbia has received far too little. Alberta and Saskatchewan
contain large, compact, arable areas presenting no physical difficulties or obstacles to development. While it may be said that in their case the lands and the minerals belonged to the
Dominion, if we take the case of British Columbia, with its public domain in its own right,
the average of its receipts for the past thirty years on account of its natural resources has only
been $235,000 per annum, from which must be deducted the cost of administration, not less, at
the present time, than $100,000 per annum. It is submitted, further, that the readjustment of
the subsidies every two and a half years, according to the increase of population ascertained
by census-taking, in our estimation, is another important advantage which the new Provinces
have over British Columbia. They obtain almost immediately in increased subsidy the benefit
of increased population, while British Columbia, in which the increase of population is also very
rapid, has to wait ten years for readjustment. There is, therefore, only one of two conclusions
to be drawn from a comparison of the terms in the twTo cases; either the new Provinces have
been too generously endowed by the Dominion—which is not alleged—or British Columbia has
received very inadequate consideration of its requirements.
The Government of British Columbia, in view of all the considerations which have been
advanced in support of the claims of that Province, reaffirms its position in regard to the
desirability of a complete investigation by a competent tribunal of the merits of the Provincial
contention. It is, therefore, asked that a Commission be appointed consisting of three persons
of eminent repute, one to be named by the Government of the Dominion of Canada, one by the
Government of British Columbia, and the third by the Honourable the Secretary of State for
the Colonies. It is asked that the reply of the Dominion Government be made definite and final
within three months from the present time.
Richard McBride.
Ottawa, October 9th, 1906.
victoria, B.C. :
Printed by William H.  Cullin, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.


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