A.T. Galt’s Federation Resolution Draft (1858)

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Date: 1858
By: Alexander Galt
Citation: Alexander Galt, Federation Resolution Draft (1858) in Oscar Skelton, The life and times of Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt (1920)
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
Notes: Footnotes are from Charles Dumais, The Quebec Resolutions: Including Several Never-Published Preliminary Drafts by George Brown and John A. Macdonald, and a Collection of all Previously-Published Primary Documents Relating to the Conference (CCF, 2021).

1. A federal rather than a legislative Union.[Note [1]]

2. The Confederation does not profess to be derived from the people; the constitution is provided by the imperial parliament, “thus affording the means of remedying any defect, which is now practically impossible under the American constitution.”

3. The Federal government to be composed of a Governor-General or Viceroy, appointed by the Queen, an Upper House or Senate elected on a territorial basis, and a House of Assembly elected on the basis of population; the Executive to be composed of ministers responsible to the legislature.[Note [2]]

4. The Federal Government to have control over Customs, Excise, and all trade questions, Postal Service, Militia, Banking, Currency, Weights and Measures, Bankruptcy, Public Works of a National Character, Harbours and Lighthouses, Fisheries, Public Lands, Public Debt, and Unincorporated territories.[Note [3]]

5. It will form a subject for mature deliberation whether the powers of the Federal Government should be confided to the points named, or should be extended to all matters not specially entrusted to the local legislatures.[Note [4]]

6. The constitution of a federal Court of Appeal.[Note [5]]

7. Net revenue from the Crown Lands in each province to be the exclusive property of that province, except in the case of the territories.[Note [6]]

8. The general revenue, having first been charged with the expense of collection and civil government, to be subject to the payment of interest on the public debts of the Confederation, constituted from the existing obligations of each, and the surplus to be divided among the provinces according to population. For a limited time a fixed contribution might be made from the general revenue for educational and judicial purposes. “By the proposed distribution of the revenue each province would have a direct pecuniary interest in the preservation of the authority of the Federal Government”.[Note [7]]

[1] “Adopted.”
[2] “Adopted except Senate not elected but nominated.”
[3]  “All assigned to the federal government, except public lands.”
[4] “The second part adopted.”
[5] “Adopted.”
[6] “This was adopted in the 1864 resolutions.”
[7] “This was adopted in the 1864 resolutions.”

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