We understand that by Order-in-Council your authority is
limited to making a settlement satisfactory to the ministry,
and that as a matter of fact the minority will accept nothing
short of Statutory recognition of the right of separation.
We regard ourselves as precluded by our declaration of policy
preceding our last election from assenting to such Statutory
recognition. While joining with you in the earnest desire
to reach a settlement, we are unable to suggest any way of
reconciling these two propositions.
We are of the opinion that there would be
no objection on principle to the plan we propose, and that its
practical operation would prove to be very satisfactory. It
would give substantial relief on every material matter with-
out legal separation. If the minority insists on legal
separation there does not seem to be any possibility of
reaching a basis of compromise.
We cannot but express our regret and
disappointment at the failure of our negotiations. We assum-
ed when a conference was asked for by the Federal Government,
with full knowledge of the fact that we were clearly estopped
by the terms of the Order-in-Council of December 20th, 1895
from assenting to the re-establishment of separate schools in
any form, that it was with the object of securing substantial
modifications, which while falling short of the principle of
separation, would remove every alleged reason for Roman
Catholic opposition to the use of the public shcools. We
think that the proposition which we have made would if adopt-
ed remove every such reason, and it is therefore such a pro-
position as we believed you had come prepared to accept.
Its non-acceptance apparently is due to the determination of
the minority to insist upon the most extreme, and in our