Title: Letter of 1 April 1896 from Clifford Sifton to Arthur R. Dickey, Alphonse Desjardines, and Donald A. Smith
Author: Sifton, Clifford, Sir, 1861-1929
Source: Archives of Manitoba, MG14 B41, Clifford Sifton - Affidavits, etc. re: Manitoba School Question
Page 3 of 4


opinion, unsound view of their legal rights.
We entered upon the task of seeking a
settlement of the question at issue in the face of grave and
obvious difficulties.
In the first place, so far as the re-
establishment of separate schools is concerned, the question
has for years been considered settled so far as the people of
this Province, to whom we are responsible, are concerned.
In the next place we have hitherto be-
lieved that a State aided separate school system, and that
only, would be accepted by the minority. This view we have
repeatedly stated, and we have not yet been authoritatively
informed to the contrary. That our contention in this re-
spect was, and is correct is shown by your proposition which
indubitably means a system of schools separating by law
Protestants from Roman Catholics and wholly dependant for
support upon municipal taxation and the legislative grant.
It also appears that any settlement be-
tween the Government of the Dominion and that of Manitoba
must, by the very terms of your instructions, be subject to
the sanction of a third party, and while all the members of
both Governments might approve of our proposition, or any other
submitted as containing everything that in reason and in
equity ought to be conceded, nevertheless that approval would
be worthless without the sanction of the representatives of
the minority.
In a word we are absolutely debarred from
conceding a system of Roman Catholic and State aided separate
schools while the representatives of the minority , and, as a
consequence, the Federal Government, will accept nothing less.
In conclusion we have the honor to state
that notwithstanding the failure of the present negotiations,

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