Assiniboia [Manitoba], Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia Debates [on Confederation] (18 March 1870)

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Date: 1870-03-18
By: Assiniboia (Legislative Assembly)
Citation: Manitoba, Reconstituted Debates of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, 1870, 2010 at 16-19.
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Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia

Assembly Chamber, Upper Fort Garry

Friday, March 18, 1870

The President took the chair at four o’clock P.M.

The President addressed the House, objecting to them in some respects, and, after a brief debate the subject dropped.

Hon. Mr. Bunn as Secretary of the Committee appointed to draw up a Constitution for the Provisional Government, read the report of the committee as follows:—

Committee met [Thursday] March 17.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue in the chair.

On motion of Hon. C.J. Bird, seconded by the President, the following preamble was adopted:— That we, the people of Assiniboia, without disregard to the Crown of England, under whose authority we live, have deemed it necessary for the protection of life and property, and the securing of those rights and privileges which we are entitled to enjoy as British subjects — and which rights and privileges we have seen in danger — to form a Provisional Government, which is the only acting authority in this country; and we do hereby ordain and establish the following Constitution.

Moved by the Hon. C.J. Bird seconded by Hon. Mr. Bunn, and adopted:

“That the country hitherto known as Rupert’s Land and the North-West, be henceforth known and styled ‘Assiniboia.”

Moved by Hon. Mr. Bannatyne, seconded by Hon. Mr. Tait, and adopted:—

“That our Assembly of Representatives be styled henceforth the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia.”

Committee then adjourned.

Next morning committee met again, Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue in the chair.

On motion of the chairman, seconded by Hon. Mr. Bird, it was resolved:— That all Legislative authority be rested in a President and Legislative Assembly composed of members elected by the people: and that at any future time another House, called a Senate, shall be established, when deemed necessary by the Legislature.”

On motion of the chairman seconded by Hon. Mr. Bird, it was resolved:―

“That the only qualification necessary for a member to serve in the Legislature be, that he shall have attained the age of twenty-three years, that he be a citizen of Assiniboia, and a resident of the country for a term of at least five years.”

Committee then adjourned.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue stated to the House, in explanation — The committee, I may say, do not consider their work ended and that a complete constitution has been drawn up. We labored as long as our time would allow us, and that we have not finished is simply owing to our time being too limited. Perhaps it would be better that hon. gentlemen should have the whole Constitution, before they decide on accepting or rejecting the portion submitted.

After debate,

Hon. Mr. Bunn, seconded by Hon. Mr. Sinclair, moved the adoption of the preamble.

Hon. Mr. Scott moved in amendment that the preamble be amended by striking out the word “acting” before authority. By leaving it in, there seemed to be an acknowledgement of another Government, which, though inactive was in being.

The President — If it means, as we intended it should mean, that the Crown of

England is another authority here, I think we are right in using the word “acting.” We are the only acting authority, but we are, still, under the Crown of England.

Hon. Mr. Scott — Suppose it to be held that the Hudson Bay Company is the other authority which is not specified? Some people yet look to that Company as an authority.

Hon. C.J. Bird — From the wording of the motion I think it clear that the reference to other authority is to the Crown of England.

Hon. Mr. Olone seconded Hon. Mr. Scott’s amendment.

The President — The Hudson Bay Company have, I think, been put out of the way on all hands.

At the suggestion of Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue, Mr. Scott’s amendment was changed by substituting the words “government” for “acting authority.”

The amendment was subsequently put and lost on a division:— Yeas 5, nays 22, and the original motion was put and carried:— Yeas 22, nays 5.

Hon. Mr. Bannatyne, seconded by Hon. Mr. Sinclair, moved the adoption of the first resolution, naming the country Assiniboia.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue — In the preamble we have already adopted the name Assiniboia. Besides I am not quite sure that an article like this should form any part of the Constitution.

Hon. Mr. Bunn — The word “Assiniboia” in the preamble is confined to a certain little district known to all. The resolution we are now asked to adopt makes that name cover the whole of Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territory.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue — Have we, in this “certain little district” any right to make a Constitution for the whole of Rupert’s Land and the North-West? I cannot see why, when we have adopted the name in the preamble, we should also have an article in the Constitution naming the Territory. I say, let us give the country a name first and then draw up the Constitution.

Hon. Mr. Bird — I believe that we have given the country a name in the preamble, but I also believe that we ought to distinctly define what we mean by the word Assiniboia. Hitherto that name has covered a very limited area. Now we want it to be the name of the whole North-West Territory. As to the name itself, it is one which I like. We ought to retain the Indian names as far as possible, for they are appropriate and euphonious.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue, seconded by Hon. Mr. Bunn, moved that the House adjourn till Monday, in order to give the Committee time to finish their labors. In putting this motion, Mr. O’Donoghue remarked that those representatives from a distance, and indeed all of the representatives, must be under considerable expense in attending the Legislature. It was really a necessity of the case that their expenses should be provided for. Members were working for the good of the country, and should not be losing too much in such an occupation. In his opinion a certain amount ought to be advanced to defray the current expenses of members. The matter was worthy the consideration of the House.

At a quarter to seven P.M. the House adjourned till the following Monday at one o’clock P.M.

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