Title: "The Manitoba Danger Signal" in Catholic Register, 26 November 1896
Author:
Source: Archives of Manitoba, P5316, Manitoba Schools Question 1896 – 1906, Newspaper clippings p.60-61
Page 2 of 2

Transcription

schools this is certainly a novelty; but
as a "settlement" of the idea of Catho-
lic teaching it is a farce. Under any
circumstances it could not work, and
if it could be carried out, it would only
be a travesty of religious teaching.
This then is the "settlement," along
with a provision for bi-lingual teaching
in French districts.
To sum up. Catholic schools and
Catholic religious teaching are abolish-
ed root and branch in city , town,
village and rural district. Read the
memorandum in any way you please and
nothing else can be made out of it.
Ontario Catholics have a deep and a
grave concern in the federal policy of
abandonment of Catholic education in
Manitoba. To us the new phase upon
which this question has entered means
a danger brought nearer our doors.
If a majority antagonistic to Catholic
principle in education is returned to
the Manitoba legislature, it is quite
possible that a similarly disposed
majority may be elected in Ontario.
If a majority of the representatives
of the Manitoba legislature pass a law
that imposes upon the Catholic citizens
of that province a constitutional
grieveance, it is not beyond the reach
of political possibility that a similarly
disposed majority in the Ontario legis-
lature may undertake the same policy.
If the Federal government is so spine-
less that it will not remedy the con-
stitutional grievance of a minority in
the province of Manitoba, it would be
sanguine to expect that the federal
power will stiffen its backbone when
a minority in the province of Ontario
is threatened. To be sure it will be
said the constitution guarantees
Catholic educational rights in Ontario.
But Catholics in Manitoba up to the
passage of the Martin Act rested upon
the same comfortable sense of security.
Let us not forget that during the cam-
paign The Toronto Globe intimated to
the Catholics of Ontario that they had
better not talk two [too] loudly for fear of
awakening the Protestant giant in this
neighborhood. A policy of timidity
never yet gained or retained a right
worth having. The abandonment of
minority rights in Manitoba is a pre-
cedent which no independent citizen
should close his eyes to. If a minor-
ity is abandoned there, a minority will
be left to its own devices here. It is
immaterial whether the Separate
schools were abolished in Manitoba
by Liberals or Conseratives: it is
beside the question whether Conserva-
tives in Ontario have threatened our
Catholic schools or that Liberals have
defended us. Political partisans will
serve their ends by whatever means
they may deem expedient, no matter
whether they call themselves Liberal
or Conservative. We have no im-
mediate desire to make a point in favor
of Sir Charles Tupper's policy when
we condemn and repudiate the con-
duct of Mr. Laurier. We are Catholics
in this Dominion strong enough (aye,
too strong for our want of
united action) to make the
federal power respect the rights
of minorities either in Manitoba
or Ontario. As Catholics we have a
sufficiently strong representation in
the present parliament of Canada to
make those rights respected. The
French Liberal who support Mr.
Laurier are pledged to remedial legis-
lation, Manitoba declining to do
justice to the Catholics. These Lib-
erals have either to make good their
pledges next session or to answer to
their consituents. There is not an
English-speaking Catholic in the
House who can stand up and say upon
his word as an intelligent man that
Mr. Laurier's treatment of the Man-
toba Catholics is not outrageous. There
are a sufficient number of law-loving and
peace respecting Protestants in the
House of Commons to furnish an over-
whelming majority in favor of a vote
adverse to Mr. Laurier on this consti-
tutional question, if brought up in
the House next session. Mr. Laurier
came into power on false pledges in
the province of Quebec, and he has not
it in his power to make a right about
turn as soon as he fancies himself safe
in office. He has not "settled" the
school dispute; he has intensified it
and made it an element of social and
political danger that few could have
apprehended before now.

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