Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Constitution of the Senate”, 5th Parl, 4th Sess, (14 May 1886)


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Date: 1886-05-14
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 5th Parl, 4th Sess, 1886 at 1272-1295.
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COMONS DEBATES. MAY 14,
HALIFAX REFORMATORY FOR JUVENILE
H1ALIFAX RLEFORMATOIRY FOIR JUVENILE
OFFENDERS.
Mr. TROMPSON moved the second reading of Bill (No.
134) to amend an Act respecting a reformatory for certain
juvenile offenders iu the county of Halifax, lu the Pro.
vince of Nova Scotia.
Motion’agreed to. Bill read the second time.
OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON.
Mr. THOMPSON moved the second reading of Bill (No.
135) to amend an Act respecting offences against the
person. He said: This is a Bill which was passed in the
Senate for the Durpose of removing a doubt which has
existed, principally, I believe, in the Province of Ontario.
It has been held there that in the case of the desertion of a
wife by a husband the wife is not competent to testify
against the husband, and this Bill is to remove that doubt
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the second time.
SUPPLY-CONSTITUTION OF THE SENATE.
Mr. MoLELAN moved that the House again resolve
itself into Committee of Supply.
Mr. M[LLS. I propose, Sir, to move an amendment as
to the desirability of amending the British North
America Act so far as it relates to the constitution of the
Senate. I think that the exporience we have had during
the past ten years shows that in that particular, at all
events, our constitution is seriously defective, and that the
purpose which a second Chamber was intended to serve in
our parliamentary system bas not been secured by the
Sonate as it is now constituted. It is not my intention to
detain the House at any length in the discussion of this
question, because I have no doubt we shall, at no distant
day, be called upon to consider the question at the hustings,
and whatever conclusion we may reach here to-day will not
be a final settlement of this very important question. My first
objection to the Sonate as at present constituted, is, that it
is inconsistent with the federal principle ofgovernment with
which we have set out. In the preamble of the British North
America Act we declare that we organise our union on
a federal basis, and we provide in our constitution for
the appointment of a second Chamber, to protect in some
degree the interest and the authority of the various Provinces
and their powers against encroachment. At the
same time we do n ot allow the Provinces in any way to exorcise
any control over the appointment of the second Chamber,
but we provide that it shall be appointed by Her Majesty’s
representative upon the advice of the responsible Ministers
of the day; and while we make that provision, we practically
appoint the Senate without reference to the views
that may be entertained, or the interests that may require
to be guarded, on the part of any of the Provinces of the
Dominion. Our Sonate as constituted is not consistent
with any recognised principle in any well-considered systom
of parliamentary government. A Sonate, if it is to protect
or guard Provincial rights or Provincial interests, should in
some way be controlled by the Provinces. If it is to be
simply an ordinary national institution, there ought not
to be any Provincial control over the appointment of
Senators, and there ought not to be any limitation as to the
number of Senators; but when we declare that there shall
be a fixed number of Senators from the respective Provinces,
who shall be residents of the same, it is clear that
we are recognising the Sonate as in some way a protector
of Provincial rights and Provincial interests; and yet it is
quite possible that the Administration which enjoys thei
confidence of this House , as a whole, may not bei
possessed of the confidence of the majority of the1
representatives of aiH the Provinces. Now, Sir, we4
Mr. WAToN,
remember very well that in 1867, at the first meeting
of Parliament held after the Union, the Province of
Nova Scotia sent here but one member supporting the
Administration; and the Senators who were to protect the
interests of that Province were appointed by a Government
which enjoyed the confidence of only one representative out
of the nineteen from the Province. It is, I think, clear
that in this particular the Senate is not in harmony with
the federal principle of our constitution. There are, no
doubt, other features of the constitution which are a depar.
ture from the general principle on which it is based. There
is the provision with regard to property and civil rights.
It is within the power of the Locai Legislatures to give
their assent to legislation on those subjects by this House,
and thus practically to transfer their power to this Parliament;
but so widely at variance with the federal principle
of Government has that provision of our constitution been
regarded, that it has never been acted upon, and, in fact,
it is a dead letter Then, there is the power of veto
which is given to the Federal Government over Acts which
lie wholly bevond its province, and within the exclusive
province of the Local Legislatures. It never was intended
that that power should be exercised by the Federal Gov.
ernment, except to disallow Acts wbich are ukra vires of
the Local Legislatures. But there is no such limitation
laid down in the British North America Act, and it is plain,
from our experience, that in every instance in which the
federal principle has been departed from, mischievous consequences
have been the result. And our experience with
reference to the constitution of the Senate shows that it is
not an efficient second Chamber-that while it may offer no
serious obstacle to the conduct of public affairs, so long as
those who are in political sympathy with the majority of
that body control their administration-yet, if there was
a change of Government, and the administration of
public affairs should pass into the hands of those not in political
accord with the Senate, it is plain, I think, that we should
have a deadlock in our legislation and our administration.
In fact, in the Senate, as at present constituted, there are no
means of adjusting it to the public opinion of the country.
In England, if the flouse of Lords puts itself in opposition
to the views of the majority of the House of Commons, it is
in the power of the Executive to increase the number of
Peers until the second Chamber is brought in harmony with
the first. It is a common saying that under the English
constitution you have a system of mutual checks and guarantees.
The arbitrary power of the Crown is checked by
the power of making or controlling money appropriations
in the House of Commons; the arbitrary power in the
House of Commons ise controlled by the power of dissolution
vested in the Crown; and the arbitrary power
of obstruction, in the House of Lords, is controlled by the
power of creating new Peers. In fact, the existence of that
power renders its exorcise almost altogether unnecessary:
here is no such check in our constitutional system; there
is no means of bringing the Senate into harmony with the
flouse of Commons or with the settled opinion of the country.
We know, looking at what bas already transpired,
that the ordinary life of the Senate is twenty years,
while the ordinary life of the House of Commons is
but three years; so that it would require half a
generation to bring the second Chamber into harmony with
the first. This is an age of very great change and very
rapid progress, and it is clear that the Senate, as at present
constituted, would provoke a revolution in this country if
it were to exorcise its power, as it undoubtedly could exercise
it, in seriously opposing the wishes of the majority of
the House of Commons and the views of the country. It
seems to me that it is very important we should seek to make
such changes in the constitution of the second Chamber as
will bring it more under the immediate control of the public
opinion of the country. There are many ways in which
1272
1886. COMMONS DEBATES. 1278
this might be done. In fact, if we were to seek to frame sane extent as the more popular Chamber. We know this
a system which would embrace a second Chamber that is the exporience of the United States. We know that, under
would be, in the sinallest degree possible, beneficial, I do the constitution of the United States, the Sonate, while it
not think a system botter calculated to accomplish bas resisted those short-lived popu lar impulses which have
the object could be devised than the one which already sometimes moved the House to action, bas, nevertheless,
exists. Why, there is no motive to action on the part of been under the control of public opinion. Where the pubthe
second Chamber. There is no useful purpose that a lic have had time to reflect, and where they adhere to their
second Chamber may serve which the second Chamber in conclusions, upon an important question of public policy, this country bas served. I believe it is a fact that the gen- the Sonate of the United States ropresonts the opinion of
tlemen who compose the Sonate are infinitely more inter- the country upon such questions quite as decidedly as do
ested in occupying what is called the Senators’ gallery the mombers of the House of Reprosentatives; but this
in this Cbamber, than in occupying the seats which cannot b said of our Senate. We supposed the Senate
belong to them, in the discharge of their duties, in would stand up for popular interests, especially where
the second Chamber. That is an unfortunate condition moral considerations were wholly upon that side of the
of things. There is a score of useful enquiries conducted question. Yet have the Sonate done 80 in any important
almost every year by Committees of the House of Lords, public question? fHow did the Senate act upon the subnot
one of which is undertaken by the second Chamber ject of the gerrymander ? Why, the hon. gentleman himbore.
There are many and important duties that the self, who was leading this House in 1872, laid down an imsecond
Chamber might undertake. Valuable information portant rule of public policy, and that rule was assented to
that might be collected, important conclusions that might by this side of the louse; there was no difference of opinbe
reached, and which would greatly facilitate Parliament ion with regard to it. T ho hon. gentleman said it would
in the discharge of its legislative functions, and the Gov- be wholly contrary to his opinion of what was right and
ernment in the discharge of its administrative duties, which expedient to undertake to form a eonstituency out of parts
are wholly unattended to, because this House is far too of different counties. The people were in the habit, ho
busy, in the discharge of the duties that already devolve said, of acting together in their agricultural meetings, in
upon it, to undertake them, and because the Sonate has no their municipal meetings, in thoir political meetings, and in
intention or inclination to undertake them. The Sonate meetings for judicial and other purposes. That a man someis
in no way amenable to public opinion; it is not con- times entered into the township or village council, ho
trolled by the intelligent public opinion of the country, became a leading and influential man, ho became known to
and the majority of the Senators are best pleased when bis people and enjoyed their confidence, and rose from the
they find they have little or nothing to do. In fact, they township council to the county council, and from the
adjourn from tme to time because they claim they have county council to Parliament; and yet, if you take off the
nothing to do, and yet there are many very important townbhip in which ho resided and put it into a county to
and highly useful enquiries which might be undertaken, which ho was a stranger, you will destroy his opportunities
but which are wholly neglected by that body. We know of promotion and of public service, those opportunities
that there is a tendency in every legislative body to extend of public service which those who knew and trusted
its authority beyond the constitutional boundary. Thore is him would permit him to exorcise ; and yet we find
a disposition in men in every sphere of life to arro- the hon, gentleman, for the purpose of securing a party
gate to themselves a greater amount of authority advantage, ton years later, wholly abandoning that position
than is actually necessary in the discharge of the and taking.up a wholly different lino. There was an
duties assigned to them. This Parliament is, perhaps, no opportunity for the Sonate to stand by a well-settled prinexception
to this rule; and the very notion of giving to the ciple and an accepted doctrine, a principle of right and
Provinces representation in the Sonate Chambcr, as Prov. justice, of fuir play and political decency, and to maininces,
in theory at least, was intended to make the Senators tain it againet tho views of a simple mechanical
the special guardians of Provincial rights and interests. But majority in this louse, the views of a majority who
on what occasion bas the Sonate ever corne to the rescue of were looking to their own interests and not to the
the Provinces ? On what occasion has it upheld the author- general well-being of the country. We know that the bon.
ity of the Provinces against parliamentary or ministerial gentleman who leads the Government bas always favored a
encroachment ? We know what bas been done in the way of legislative union. le declared himself in favor of that at
disallowing Provincial railway charters and of intorfering the inception of our federal system. He doclared himself
with measures which are specially under the control of the as preferring a legislative union at the very time that the
Local Legislatures,as,for instance, the Streams Bill; we know Quebec resolutions were under discussion in the old Canadian
that the Government, in many cases, have arbitrarily gone Parliament. The bon. gentleman bas done so on more than
beyond their proper constitutional sphere by interfering one occasion since. Yet I apprebend that there are certain
with the duties devolving on another Legislature, and for important reasons why our foderal system should be fairly
which another tdovernment is responsible to the people of carried out, and, in order to fairly carry it out, it is imthe
Province, and yet, so far as I know, there bas not been portant that the constitution of the Sonate should be
a single instance in which the Sonate has remonstrated or changed, and the Sonate made amenable to publie
undertaken to protect the interests of the Provinces of which, opinion, and subjected to popular control. The posiit
was supposed, whenour constitutional system was adopted tion of the Sonate at the present time is one that is
the Senators would be the special guardians. It requires no very far from satisfactory. Those hon. gentlemen
examination in detail of the work done by the Sonate to say are not under the control of publie opinion ; they are not
that it bas altogether failed in its duties in this particular; it called upon to pay any regard to popular wishes or popular
requires no examination in detail of the work that bas been prejudices. They are not in a position to acquire that
done by the Sonate to show that it bas not performed any knowledge of publie questions which belongs to mombers
of the important duties which specially belong to it. The of this House. I think it may be laid down as a sound
work which we supposed it would bave done, it bas lef t political axiom that, in order that men may be in accord
undone; and many of the things which it bas done, are things with the country, and in order that they may rightly apprewhich
it would have been botter, in the public interest, to bond the spirit and tendency of the day to which t hey
have left undone. Then we supposed the Sonate would belong, they must in some degree be dependent upon their
represent ho settled, rogressive opinions of the countr. fellow-men throughout the country. W. know, if we look
It is not supposed to Z.subjeot to popular impulses to e at the progress of the Mother Ooutry sioe the bgin.
COMMONS DEBÂTES. MÀLY 14,
ning of this century, the great progress that bas been
made politically, materially and socially, by the people of
the Tnited Kingdom, has been made in spite of the prejudices
and the opposition of the more cultured, the botter
informed, and more wealthy classes. The movement of
society has been from beneath and not from above. The
intellectual -light of the superior classes bas not been
that by which the progress of the nation has been guided.
We know that, in order that mon may fairly represent the
community, it is necessary that they should be a portion of
the community, they should not stand apart, they should
not stand aloof, they should not be an isolated or separate
class, having no points of contact with the public
at large. The House of Lords, no doubt, is far botter
informed, far more enlightened, far more cultured in the
aggregate, than the masses of the people of the United
Kiingdom; and yet the masses of the people of the United
Kingdom, for the past seventy-five years-the majority of
them, at least-have been right, and the majority of the
House of Lords bas been wrong. There can h no doubt
of that. So that, in order that a body may bo a useful
body, in order that it may reflect public opinion, in order
that it may be in sympathy with the age, in order that it
may legislate in harmony with the requirements of the
country, it is necessary that it should bo an integral part of
the country, and this you do not have in a Sonate, a nominated
body, the members of which receive their appoint.
monts from the Ministers of the Crown, and receive them
for life. I dare say, even if we were to give the bon. gentleman
the power of naming a House of Commons,
he might find, perhaps, a larger number of highly cultured
and intelligent men to compose the House than those who
compose it at this moment, but ho could not constitute a
more influential body, ho could not thus create a body which
would have as much influence with the public, a body in
whose deliberations and discussions the people would take
the same interest; and precisely so it is with regard to
the constitution of the Senate. In the constitution of a
second Chamber, it is important that all classes of the
community should be represented; in fact, it should
be the community itself in miniature, and, if it is
defective in this respect, I do not care how intelligent
the members may be, I do not care how assiduous
they might be in the discharge of their duties, and
we know they have not been that in the Senate as
now constituted, the public would take very little interest
in what they do. Every man in public life looks at the
public questions that come before him, in a great degree,
from bis own standpoint; ho does not take an exhaustive
view, he does not consider the question from every possible
p oint of view ; it is, in the nature of things, impossible for
him to do so ; human capacity is limited, and the result is
that he succeeds in interesting in the views which he expresses
and the opinions which ho entertains, but a fraction
of the community. Now, in order that we may have a
second Chamber fairly representing the opinions of
the country, capable of holding in check this flouse when
it is wrong, capable of co-operating with it when it isright,
capable of preventing mischief, and cap 3 ble of defending
that which is in the public interest, it is necessary that
such a Chamber should enjoy the confidence of, and stand in
sympathy with, the great mass of the population of the
country. In order that this may be done, it is necessary
that the Chamber should emanate from the people themoelves,
and feel its responsibility to them. Ido not
propose that a second Chamber should be created as a
rival to this House, and if you limit its numbers there is no
danger of its being so. 1 say that one important thing to
give a legislative bgdy a very considerable influence in the
country, is, that it should be a pretty numerous body. A
second Ohamber, in order to become a rival to this House,
-weld havaoto be siawge body. I do not propose thatwe
Mr. MILLs.
should create a second Ohamber that is anything like as
numerous as this House. I believe that half the numbers of
those who now compose the Sonate would be large enough.
A Chamber in which you would return from Ontario
balf the present number of Senators, that is, twelve;
twelve from the Province of Quebec, twelve from the Maritime
Provinces, and a proportionate number from the
other Provinces to the west, would be a second’ Chamber
capable of discharging those duties which it is important
that a second House should discharge. It has been
weIl observed by Mr. Mill, in his work on Representative
Government, that one House, whore the powers it possesses
are large and embrace a great number and variety of important
subjects, can never well be entrusted with parliamentary
authority. It has no second body to consuit, it
feels under no restraint, and the tendency is to use arbitrarily
the power which belongs to the majority. Now,
Sir, that is one of the evils we have experienced in this
Parliament, and which has been exhibited during the past
seven or eight years, and it is due to the fact that, so far as
the present Administration is concerned, we are without a
second Chamber. The Senate has taken a long holiday. It
has donc nothing. Why, the vast majority of those who occasionally,
by fits and starts, sit elsewhere, when it suits
their purpose, have been appointed by the hon. gentleman
; they know that they owe their positions to
him. As an eminent Irish statesman and jurist once
said of the Irish peers, “they are the sheep of his
pasture.” It is he who has made them, and not they
themselves. They feel that if they were not to-day precisely
as he desires, they would be ungrateful, and they would be
exhibiting the absence of some of those qualities of mind
that do most to dignily human nature. So the hon. gentleman
has the Sonate in his keeping, and if the lon.
gentleman were ont of office and was sitting on this side of
the House, the Senate, which at present is wholly useless,
under those circumstances would become mischievous, and
if it were not mischievous it would be owing to the hon.
gentleman’s forbearance. Practically, as the Senate is at
present constituted, in case a Reform Administration were
in power, we have a body which would place the power of
veto in the hands of the minority of the House ofOCommons,
that is to say, entirely in the hands of the hon, gentleman
for the next ton years to come. Now I say that is an
intolerable condition of things. I need only state that fact to
show that the present system ought not to be perpetuated,
that it ought to be changed at the earliest possible moment.
Sir, I am not going to detain the louse unnecessarily in
the discussion of this question.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Ilear, hear.
Mr. MILLS. I know those hon. gentlemen who have
given their minds no trouble, who have never thought
upon the subject of our constitutional system, who are quite
content if the Government will give means for building a
dock or a harbor in their county, and thus enable them to
come back again-I know they will listen with impatience
to any discussion of this sort. They think matters as
they now stand are well enough, and they would like to
let that well enough alone. But I believe the majority of
us-the whole of this side, and I trust the.majority in the
country, are inclined to take a different view. They regard
the second Chamber, as it is now constituted, as a nuisance
which ought to be abated. They regard it as a wholly
unnecessary element in our constitutional system; they
regard it as a dead shoot that ought to be eliminated.
Sir, I think that a second Chamber is necessary. I think
the events that have transpired in this Hlouse for the past
six and seven years show that a second Chamber is nocessary.
I think that arbitrary and uncontrolled power ought
not to be in the hands of any party or any man, and it-is
because I think so, that I am in favor of changing the conetitution
of the Senate. I will therefore move:
1274
00]MONS DEBÂTES.
Toave outail the word after the wor& “Thate and add the following
instead thereof :-The resent methc>d of constituting the Sonate
is Inconsistent with the Federal principle in our system of Government,
it makes that body independent of the people an d the0rown, and is
in other material respecte defective, and that appropriate steps should
be taken to secure such amendments of the British North America Act
au to make the Senate directly responsible to the people in the several
Provinces of the Dominion.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONA[LD. I propose to say but a
very few words in answer to the speech of the hon. gentleman.
It is quite evident, from the time it is proposed, and
the manner of its proposition, that the hon. gentleman doos
not expect, could not expect, and knows, that there can be
no satisfactory or full discussion of this question in this
Chamber during the present Session. If the hon. gentleman
really desired to have a full discussion, a full deliberation,
and to get the opinion of this House as represontatives
of the people, as to the constitution of the Sonate, he would
have moved it after due notice, ho would have moved it
early in the Session, he would have moved it so that it
could be disoussed as a substantive proposition But every.
one knows that not only the hon. gentleman, but other hon.
gentlemen on the other side, are desirous of airing their
opinions in order that they may go to the eountry. It is
quite evident that the hon. gentlemen opposite have an uneasy
suspicion that there is going to be an immediate dissolution,
an immediate election,
anxious, and they are very much
Some hon. MEMBERS, No, x
Mr. EDGAR. Come on.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD.
that the hon. gentlemen are notj
preparing for it; and the hon.j
subject at the eleventh hour o
purpose of any man, woman or c
their mind on the proposition,
or balloon thrown up for the
one of the great questions, amoni
tions, brought up during this S
the polls. The hon. gentlemai
.and in the beginning of his speec
the Senate was contrary to the
constitution, Weil, we have g
certainly. Every Province has
own, given power of its own, and
Dominion Government, the princ
ment was formed, and the Execi
powers of the Crown is administ
principle, but on the principle of
and it is so declared in the prea
America Act, which says:
” Whereas the Provinces of Canada, N
have expressed their desire to be fedE
Under the Crown of the United Kingdom
with a constitution similar to that of thE
Not any other ‘principle, not th
hon. gentleman, but “with a con
ciple to that of the United Kingd
we have the British constitution,
conoerned, and the Executive is
other side of the line there is anot
good constitution, a noble constitu
is not our constitution, it is not
They are both good, they are bot]
but we must have one, or we must
to me.
Mr. MILLS. No.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD.
phrodite.
MRr. MILLS. That is what we
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD.
the other. Tho:majrity of the
y
and tney are exceedingly Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. à The hon. gentleman afraid. says the Upper House is at my beck and under my oontrol.
no. Mr. MILLS. Hear, hear.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. Well, how are they under
I am bound to believe my bock and under my control ? I am here holding my preafraid
of it, still, they are sent position as having the confidence of a mijority of the
gentleman has aired this House.
f this Session, not for the Mr. HESSON. And the confidence of the people.
hild being able to make up
but simply as a little kite Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. The hon, gentleman says
public to look at. This is I have the confidence of the country too. I believe the
g many other great quos- majority in the House truly reprosent the feelings, wishos
ession for consideration at and opinions of the majority of the people in the Dominion.
n stated in his resolution, The hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Mills) objects that the
h, that the constitution of Upper House, during the time I have been hero enj>ying
federal principle ot our the confidence of a majority of this ILouse, did not oppose
,ot the federal principle, the feeling, and wishes of a maj>rity of this louse,
given contributicns of its and therefore oppose the feelings, wishes and opinions
, Mr. Speaker, quoad the of the majority of the people thomseolves. They are in
iple on which this Parlia- harmony with this House; this House isi in harmony
utive is formed, and the with the people. And what objection can there be to
ered, is not on the federal that ? Does the hon. gentleman want to have one flouse
the British constitution, set against the other ? The hon. gentleman, as a Liberal,
Lmble of the British North as an extreme Reformer, objects because the Upper House
agrees with the wishes and feelings of the- majority of the
fova Scotia and New Brunswik–p-eople. The Reformers in England attack the Houseof
erally united in one Dominion Lords bcause the majority is opposud to the opinions of
n of Great Britain and Ireland, the majority of the peo pie. I believo in the case of the
e United Kingdom.” House of Lords, noe Liberal Government, except in very
e principle stated by the special cases, has found any difficulty in getting on with
stitution similar in prin- that body.
om.” Well, Mr. Speaker, Mr. MILLS. The Government have power to inurems
so far as the Senate is the number.
concerned; and on the
ther constitution, a very Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. This haq been the expeation,
Mr. Speaker; but it rience of Mr. Gladstone. The hon. gentleman knows, and
the British constitution. this House knows, that for very many years Mr. Gladsbone,
h excellent in their way, bas been at the head of the Liberal Administration;lthat
t have the other, it appears the Conservative Administrations in England have been few
and short-lived; that really England has, over since the
Reform Bill was passed, exeopt during six or seven years,
or perhaps a little more, been governed by a series of
We cannot have herma- Liberal Administrations. And yet those Liberal Goverments
have hithexto found no difficulty in governing the
have got, country, and in those few cases in which the House of
We must have one or Lords has differed from the House of Oommons5 in which
people of th”-)ominion they hav. shmwmthoir indepoendene ofpinoi.e whenever
1886. 127s
draw their inspiration and their constitutional principles
from the example of the Mother Country, from the constitution
of the Mother Country, from the constitutionof Great
Britain and Ireland, and they do not draw them from the
United States. The hon. gentleman objecta very much to
the Upper louse, on the ground that they are useles. If
they are useless it eau do no harm. What complaint, then,
eau there be against the fHouse of Lords if they do no
harm ? There is no principle of government in which
civilised countries which desire to have a constitution,
more fixed than that where a country has an established
constitution ; there must be a wrong shown before there
should be any alteration made in that constitution. If
every person chose to theorise as does the hon. gentleman,
to say that this will be botter in my opinion, and that will
be botter in my opinion, bore a little and there a little,
there would be no finality, there would be no fixity of the
constitution. Our constitution is a good one as it is and it
is satisfactory for all purposes; the country is going on
well; the laws passed by this House are good laws and are
not objected to by the other House; the country is develop.
ing very rapidly. And why this uneasminess to alter the
constitution ?
Mr. MILLS. Why did you alter it last year ?
COMMONS DEBATES. MAr 14,
a measure, after once passing the House of Commons, and
after being rejected by the House of Lords, was again sent
to the Upper flouse, tho louse of Lords have never, after
ascertaining that the Bill was in accordance with the wishes
of the people, I do not remember now an instance, rejected
the measure on its second return in a subsequent Session.
Sir RICHARD CARTWRIGHT. How about marriage
with a deceased wife’s sister Bill? They have rejected
that, I think, several times.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. That is a question of
morals. Under our constitution we have responsible government.
Do we wish to surrender responsible government
? Do we wish to adopt the American system so far as
that is concerned ? If the hon. gentleman wishes to adopt
the American constitution then I can quite understand a
second Chamber being constituted with powers equal to those
of the Senate of the United States. Surely we represent the
people, surely as representatives of the people we ought to
have the initiatory power on most subjects of legislation ;
and so long as we have responsible government this flouse
can at any moment, as representing the people, dismiss the
Miniaters, and consequently obtain other Miisters more
fully representing the opinions and wishes of the people to
take their places. But if the Upper House is to be altered
according to the American system and be elected by the
people, as members to this House are, tbey must have the
same powers ; and substantially the Senate of the United
States at this moment has the same power as the House of
Representatives, and is a portion of the executive, and is
undoubtedly more powerful than the House of Lords.
Indeed, the House of Representatives is a comparatively
unimportant body in comparison with the Senate of the
United States. Do we wish to diiminish our position and
authority, to alter the principle that Ministers must be
responsible to this House and not to the other, and have a
check in the shape of another branch of the Legislature
claiming in the same way as we do have a right to claim to
represent the wishes of the people. Although in imitation
of the British constitution, all matters connected
with the expenditure of money must initiate in the House of
Commons, the Sonate can amend our money Bills ; they
can destroy them in fact, and they do use that power without
any hesitation. Do we want to adopt thut principle and
that system ? You cannot avoid this dilemma : If you
wish to adopt an elective Senate, no matter what may be
the process of election, you must give them the same power
as this House possesses, they will claim it, they will take it,
and you cannot resist it. Therefore you cannot have
responsible government and have any government that
will last any time, if the Ministers must be responsible to
this Chamber, and at the same time responsible to the other
Chamber, You cannot have the two.
Mr. MILLS. How was it from 1854 to 1867 in Old
Canada. There were two elective bodies.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. The experiment was so
unsuccessful that the leader of the hon. gentleman’s own
party, the Hon. George Brown, voted for the abolition of
the elective Senate and favored the nominative system. It
has lasted ever since.
Mr. MILLS. The Hon. George Brown never favored an
elective second Chamber. He opposed it at the time.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. I know he was always
opposed to it, and a majority of the representatives of the
people found for once that the Hon. George Brown was right,
and that Chamber, after having been tried for two Parliaments,
was found to be so utterly unworkable that with his
consent it was abolished. More than that, the Hon. George
Brown was one of the founders of the present constitutionone
of those who worked very diligently, very zealously
Mr. MILLs.
and with great ability in-the direction of this constitution of
1867;-and it was a fixed principle with him, in the settlement
of this constitution, that an elective Upper House should be
done away with, and that we should return to the old system
in which we should have a Chamber, not controlling this
House, but acting as a court of supervision, acting very
much as the House of Lords does in England-acting and
protecting people from the chance of surprise. I must say,
with all due deference to the opinion of the hon. gentleman
that I think the Sonate has performed its functions well, has
performed them not in a partisan sense. The hon.gentleman
says that the majority are of one way of thinking. Well, that
is so, I believe. But when hon. gentlemen opposite were in
the Government, although they found a difference of opinion
in two or three cases, I think the main current of the
administration of the laws, the current of the legislation
under the guidance of my hon. friend for East York (Kr.
Mackenzie) was not impeded or obstructed in any way by
the Sonate. They acted, I think, with that prudence, that
discretion and that absence of violent partisanship which
should be maintained and should obtain in a second body of
that kind. I shall not occupy the time of the House any
longer. I can only say, however, that there is no cry in the
country for an alteration of the constitution. We do not
hear of any petitions; we do not see any petitions. We have a
great many political meetings through the country. We
have political speeches, and perhaps, now that the hon.
gentleman has set the ball rolling, for the next few months
we may have the Senate aired, and the speech of the hon.
gentleman will be the text from which his friends will
preach, But we have had no real feeling in any part of
the country in favor of an alteration-of the constitution. I
do not know that it was mentioned at any one of the
speeches during the contest of 1882. I do not think
it was made a matter of party conflict -in 1878.
I do not think it was made a question of discussion
in 1874. I do not think the question of the Senate was
brought up as a matter upon which the parties fonght, or
upon which there was any difference of opinion, in any of
those elections. To.day the hon. gentleman broaches it.
He has always been a theoriser. He has studied constitutional
questions; he las studied them well, as I have
always said and admitted; but the whole tendency of his
mind is to theorise and philosophise, but not, I think, in
such a way as to lead to any practical legislation or any
practical conclusion. An hon. friend has just handed me
the exact words of Mr. Brown on the question to which I
have just been alluding. He said:
.”1 have always held that two elective Ohamber3 are inconsistent
with the right working of the British constitution.”
I, for one, am not content to alter our constitution, so far as
it assimilates to the British constitution.
Mr. MILLS. You denied that, and resisted it in 1854.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. Yes, I know. In 1854
an elective Upper House was carried; an elective Upper
House was thrown on the country. But there was a strong
feeling in both Canadas, and certainly in French Canada,
at that time in favor of an elective Upper House. It is not
so now. There is no feeling expressed there, there is no
feeling known or heard of in favor of such a change in the
constitution as the hon. gentleman desires by this resolution.
And although there was a great feeling in favor of an
elective Senate, and although it was made the programme
of the party in Lower Canada headed by Mr. Morin, the
same representatives of the people from Quebec and from
Upper Canada that voted originally in favor of an elective
Upper House, almost unanimously-unanimously, I believe,
so far as Lower Canada was concerned-voted for
the abolition of an elective Chamber, and for the substitution
of peers for life, which our. senators really are. I
would only say in conclusion that the hon. gentleman
1276
COMONS DEBATES.
while making this his political moVe will not, I think, gain
anything by it. The object is so clear and unmistakeable
that the country will see that the hon. gentleman did not
hope, expect, or desire, that there should be a full considera.
tion, a full discussion, of the great question, the enormous
question, of asking the Imperiai Parliament to alter our
constitution on such an important point. The hon. gentleman
has chosen by his motion and by the manner in
which ho dealt with the subject that ho does not wish or
desire to have the opinion of this House ; ho merely wishes
to throw it in the baldest way before the people. The
people will nnderstand that, and I am quite satisfied that
at the polls they will express the opinion that they would
rather have a constitution according to the constitution of our
forefathers than to have an American constitution foisted
upon us, and have an alteration in the constitution without
any wrong, or injury, or grievance, or prejudice to the
development of the future of this country by keeping
it as it is.
Mr. PATERSON (Brant). The hon. gentleman who bas
just taken lis seat states that this is an inopportune time
to introduce a resolution of this kind. Those who have
been in Parliament during the last few days will have
noticed that that is the exception he ha9 taken to other
motions made on this side. The fact is that we would
almost despair of finding a proper time to introduce certain
motions that we feel it our duty to introduce. Now, what
argument has the hon. gentleman advanced to prove that
this motion is not brought forward at the proper time ? Is
it because the Session is, as ho supposes, so near at an end ?
if so, I might reply by the argument which ho used last
year. When the hon. gentleman introduced the Franchise
Bill at a late period of the Session, and when we pointed
out that it was a measure which would require a whole
Session to discuss it, he replied: Well, what is the necessity
for the lonse coming to a close ? Why not discuss it; we
can remain bere and discuss it? Wel1, certainly, we are in
the same position bore to-day. The hon. gentleman cannot
shelter himself behind a pretence of that kind. Parliament
bas not to be prorogued on a particular day, and we are
bere ready for a full, free, and exhaustive discussion
upon the subject, if hon. gentlemen opposite are likewise
prepared. Then the objection is raised that
it is introduced as an amendment to Supply. It
is true, on certain questions, a motion introduced in
amendment to the motion to go into Committee of Supply
might not receive the favorable consideration of the flouse,
because it cannot be amended; but that argument fails in
the present case, for this reason: Suppose the motion was
introduced as a substantive motion susceptible of amendment,
the question would be before us in all its length and
breadth. This is a plain question. The hon. member for
Bothwell asks the ouse to vote that it is desirable to have
a change in the constitution of the Senate. The bon. gentleman
says: No; it is ideal prefection as it is; we have
received it from our forefathers; it bas done well, and has
doue no injury, while the system you propose is impracticable.
I submit, if this question was introduced in a substantive
motion, no amendment could be offered that could
give a freer range of discussion than we have under
the present motion. There are the two opinions on the
subject; the sides have been taken ; the hon. member for
Bothwell expresses himself in favor of a change in the constitution
of the Upper House, and the hon. First Minister says
we want no change, because the Upper House, as at present
constituted, is properly constituted; What is to prevent us,
under these circumstances, having a free and full discussion
of the question ? Now, I desire to deal with a few of the
arguments the hon. gentleman used in answer to the
very logical and temporale speech made by the
hon. member for Bothwell. He said, in the first
1]1
place, that the hon. member fbr Bothwell had argued
that the Sonate was doing no good, and therefore he
said it was incApable of doing harm; and if it does no
harm, why not lot it romain as it is ? Well, that is rather
a poor argument, I think; and a very obvious answer to it
-one which, I grant, would point in the direction of the
abolition of the Sonate altogether-would be that on the
ground of expenditure alone, it is a serious matter to keep
a body for which all that can ho said is that it is doing no
harm. The bon. gentleman said further, that the Sonate
was modelled after the English House of Lords, whieh bas
existed in England for a very great length of time, without
producing any evil results; Liberal Administrations, he
said, had conducted the affairs of Great Britain for many
years, and had experienced no difficulty with the Lords.
But the hon, gentleman knows very well, wbat ho did not
choose to state to the House, that there are vowers of
check which can be excrcised over the House of Lords that
cannot be exercised over the Sonate of Canada; and it bas
been the knowledge of that power which las led the Hotise
of Lords, on many occasions, to recognise the popular will,
and to move, however reluctantly, in the’direction of that
will. But what power is there to control the actions of our
nominatod Sonate? Why, Sir, the very authority which
created the mombers of that body is powerless over
them. True, out of a feeling of gratitude, they bave too
often been found ready to be at his service, and to forward
his wishes; but, if they saw fit not to do so, but to resist
the legislation of this flouse, what power hve we over
them? Suppose they set themselves as a block against the
logislation of this House, and refuse to allow the popular
will to bo carried out, could you croate a number of new
Senators holding views in accord with those of the majority
of the people who would bring them to terms? No, Sir.
They are a power greater than the hon. gentleman, who
bas brought most of them into existence as legislators.
That institution is an anomaly. I am glad to know, however,
that in that House, constituted as it is, there are men
of suffisient public spirit, sufficient grasp of mind, and
sufficient knowledge of what an Upper Chambor ought to
be, to have recognised the fact that, as at present constituted,
it is not in harmony with the spirit of our institutions.
This question has been introduced and debated in
that Chamber, and one of the most ominent mon in it has
openly declared that it is idle for anyone to suppose that
the people of this country recognise them as at all in
harmony with the popular sentiment, and bas pointed out,
what is the fact, that the great Province of Ontario, In which
the two political parties number about half and half of the
electorate-or did at the last election, though no doubt
there is to-day a majority in harmony with the Liberal
party-that great Province ias at present in the Upper
Chamber only four representatives who are in accord with
the Liberal party; and if the hon. F’irst Minister retains
power much longer, as time is doing its work with us all,
ho may have to fill vacancies caused in the Senate by death,
and the discrepancy will become still greater. To talk of
the Sonate as at prosent constituted being a guardian of the
rights and interest of the different Provinoes, is absurd,
for we see that it has utterly failed. The hou. gentleman
says, and says truly, that the Sonate is intendedto guard
provincial interests ; and that is the strongest argument for
its maintenance-that the different Provinces have representation
in it in greater proportion than they have in this
Chamber. In that respect we have in a measure adopted
the principles of the Amorican constitution, which gives
the small State of Rhode Island as great a voice in the
Senate as the large and popular State of New York. But
our Sonate, constituted in such a way that it necessarily
takes a partisan feeling, constituted in such a way that it
seems impossible for many of its members to exercise
their functions in a judicial spirit, ha time and again
1″86. 1277
COMMONS DEBATES. MÂr 14,
lost sight of its duty with reference to provincial rights.
Many members have failed to recognise the rights of their
own Province and all the Provinces, and every onslaught
made by the hon. First Minister on the rights of the
different Provinces of this Dominion has been aided and
abetted by the majority of the members of the Upper
Chamber. When he sought to take from the Provinces the
licensing power-a power which the highest court of this
country and the Privy Council of England have pronouneed
to be within their right- when ho laid his hand on that
power and souglit to wrest it from them, was any objection
raised to his act by the Upper Chamber ? Were the members
of that body, whose peculiar duty, according to the
hon, gentleman, ought to b? to guard the rights of the
different Provinces, found maintaining those rights on that
occasion ? No, Sir; they were found teobe just as docile and
tractable as the gentlemen who sit behind him in this
H1ouse; and as his supporters in this louse must have
been overwhelmed by the humiliation that came upon
them in that matter, so must the members of the Senate
have been overwhelmed because they cast in their lot
with them. I do not know that I could point to any act of
that House that could commend itself to our approval. I
do not deny that there are good men in that House ; there
are no doubt good mon in it; but constituted as it is at
present it tends to dwarf the energies of the very best
men you could put into it. The hon. gentleman stated further
that the present constitution -of the Sonate is in accordance
with the principles of responsible government,
because, lie said, I nominated most of the members of that
Sonate, and I am hero because I am supported by a
majority of the representatives of the people in this House ;
and, therefoe, ho takes for granted that he is supported by a
majority of the people of the country, which is rather doubtful,
seeing that that majority was secured by peculiar means,
But, ho says, ho is supported by the majority of the country,
and therefore in nominating the Senate, it was really the
people who nominated them. If we are to admit the correctness
of his position in reference to that matter, I would
say if they had been nominated by the ion. gentleman,
with the provision that when ho lost the confidence of the
people, the Sonate would be assumed to have lost it also,
there would be some argument in his pretension. It is
not sure that the lion. gentleman will hold -the confidence
of the peqple for all time to come; ho las hld it, by one
means and another, quite too long, and the time will
certainly come when the confidence of the country will not
be acoorded to the ruling party in this House. When that
time comes, how will the Sonate stand thon ? Why, these
gentlemen whom he named, and claims ho was carrying
out the principles of responible government in nominating
theta, wi» still romain. They are nomin.ated for life, and
therp they will remain for life in the preponderance in
that.Rous, -ueady, with the feelings they have too often
exhibMd, ta stand in the way and thwart the desires of
pubic men. Therefore, the argument of the lion. gentleyaan
dos not hold good. ]Re cannot claim that the ideas
,of responsible government are being acted upon, while we
ynintain the constitrtion of the Senate as it is. I
xen0arked a short time ag, that while there are many capa-
10 pnd elever men in thie Senate, the very constitution of
that body dwarfs the energies of these men, so that we do
not ge the benefit we should of their intellectual powers.
When the hon. gentleman stated it would be impossible to
have two elective Houses to carry on logislation in this
country, ho was reminded by the ion. member for Bothwell
(Mr. Mils) that we had already tried that experiment,
and it was more than an experiment, for several years. I
tell the hon. gentleman that in my opinion, and I blieve that 1
opinion is shared by the people, the ablest men in the
Senate to-day, men who have sat tiere sinca Confederation,i
re those who wore marked ont by the peoplo as men fit to
Mr. Prmason (Brant).
be representatives, Thos e men are the ablest there to-day,
and have ever been so. What has been, in many cases, the
principle upon which the First Minister has acted with
reference to filling vacancies in the Senate ? Did ho take
those who received the approval of the people? No, Sir.
Too often, the principle ho las acted upon has been that
when a gentleman has appealed to a constituency and been
rejected by the people and his opponent elected, the hon.
gentleman las, immediately after his rejection, appointed
the defeated candidate to a seat in the Sonate, where
he can use his power in vetoing Acts passed by the men
elected by the people. That is the way in which the hon.
gentleman has succeeded in bringing the Sonate into disrepute.
No botter test of the value of the louse, that I
know of, can be made than to examine into the work they
do. What have they done? We know that in this louse,
whon there is legislation to be done, and you, Sir, know it
very well, for you have had practical experience of it, we
have sat from day to day, from week to week, every day
until two or three o’clock in the morning, in order that
each subject might be properly discussed before becoming
law, and if such prolonged sittings are necessary here, why
should not the same attention be necessary in the other
Charmber whose duty it is toe supervise our législation?
Let me give you a record of the time spent by
these hon, gentlemen in the Senate, and lot the country
judge whother it is possible for them, in the space
of time they give to thoir duties, to efficiently discharge
them. I have a record of the last three Sessions which I
have summarised. I could give each day’s sitting, but that
would take too long, so I will simply give a résumé of the
sittings. Take the Session of 1884. In the first 16
days the Sonate sat 14 hours; thon they were very tired,
and, as a matter of expediency, they took a holiday for
2 weeks, adjourning till 13th February. At the end
of February, when this House had been in Session
44 days, including Sund.sys, they had sat altogether
31 hours and 5 minutes. Thei they sat during March,
except during the holidays, frorm the 21st to the 26th;
and at the end of Marcb, thoir record shows, for the
75 days from the opening of the Session to the let
of April, sittings covering in all 70 hours and 50 minutes.
They had to work a little harder in April, bocause
it is an actual fact that on the 2nd April they sat
7 hours. Their debate was on the second reading of
the Vancouver Island Railway. Thon they sat for 2
nights subsequently, one sitting lasting 7 hours and the
other 6 hours and a quarter. On both sittings they
had a great discussion over the Scott Act; whether they
helped it or impaired it, I will not say. That brought up
the average. We find at the close of the Session, that the
Session had lasted 94 days, including Sundays, during
whieh the Sonate had sat altogether, supervising the hasty
legislation passed in this House, 115 hours and 40 minutes;
and the coet of this to the country was $183,576 or over a
81,000 an hour. Thon we have the Session of 1885, which
opened 29th January. The Sonate sut the 2 days in
January, and 13 days in February, in which time
they had st altogether, 13 hours and 40 minutes.
They thon adjourned until the 20th February, and at
the end of February, had sat altogether, since the
.peninogf the Session, 26 hours and 15 minutes. Thon,
in March, they sat 54 hours and 55 minutes. Now you
will see that is pretty hard work, averaging 2 hours a day.
Therefore you will not wonder that they took a rest from
29th March to Sth April, and sut in all, in April, 49
hours and 20 minutes. The first 8 days of May they sat
17 hours, 35 minutes, and thon rested from the 8th to the
2Oth, and in the whole of May their sittings amounted to
32 hours 55 minutes. From 29th May they rested
until the2 ad of Jane. On that day they est for 4
bouim, thop took 8 days’ reSt. Who will begrudgp it
1278
-wý
COMMONS DEBATES.
to them? On the 1lth they felt tired again and
rested until the 15th ; thon they worked from the
15th to the 19th. That completely overpowered them,
for they rested from the 19th June to the 2nd of
July, having sat, in all June, 10 hours and 30 minutes,
in revising the hasty legislation of this House. In the
twonty days of July, they sat 48 hours and 10 minutes,
and their total record, for the long Session of 1885, in
whieh this House Bat from hour to hour, from day to
day, from week to week, discussing the great questions of
the country, the Session lasted 173 days, including Sundays,
and the hours they sat numbered 222 hours and 5
minutes. Look at the present Session. Thei House opened
on the 25th February. On the 25th and 26th they sat 5
hours; down to the 9th March, they sat 16 hours and
25 minutes, then they took 2 weeks’ holidays to the
23rd March. Who will begrudge them their holidays ?
Who will say they were not entitled to 2 weeks’
rest ? Their record, to the end of March, was 23 hours,
55 minutes for that month, and their record for the
month of April, was 25 hours to the 15thi. Thon
they took 2 weeks’ holidays, and by the end of April, they
had sat 30 hours and 35 minutes in that month, and
down to the 7th May, which is the latest my figures
go to, we find the Session had lasted 72 days, including
Sundays, from the 25th February to the 7th May,
and they have sat 74 hours and 20 minutes. Will any
gentleman tell me that, with a record like that before
us, that Chamber has demonstrated that, constitutod as
it is at the present time, itbis fulfilling the purposes for
which it was created, that itis acting as a judicial body in
any way, that it is revising hasty legislation passed in this
House? Can they rise in the face of this authentie record
of the time they have taken and pretend to say that is so ?
Why have they adjourned ? Because there was nothing
for them to do ? Not so. Their powers are not so circumscribed,
but, as I stated before, the way in which they
are constituted dwarfs their energies. They are not responsible
to the people. One of the ablest Senators in that
House, in discussing the question, used these remarks, and
I give them as pertinent, and as the key to the explanation
of the reason why we have work of so little avail in
that Chamber. One of the ablest members of that Chamber
said :
” We can do as we please. Not a word eau be breathed against us.
We care not for the people. We can order those doors to be closed. We
can exclude the reporters, and the people need know nothing of our
work. We an paia orders and make deerees; perhaps a madoap king
of Bavaria may do freaks, but even lie is calle d to account now ana
then; but thi Chamber as no check on its powers; we are absolute,
we do just as we please.”
And the inevitable result of that is that you will
have work performed, with your Chamber constituted in
that way, you will have such work in the future as yen
have had in the past, and the people themselves will be the
judges whether that work is satisfactory to the people of
this country or not. I have told you that, in 1884, it has
cost us for the work they had done $133,576. The work in
1885, the record of which I gave you, cost $175,508. The
people of this country will say whether that is money
properly expended or whether it is not. But it is the very
fact that they are not responsible to the people
and that they do not fol that responsibility that
dwarfs the energies even of the able men who
are in there. There is an atmosphere that seems impossible
for those who would desire to do otherwise to rise beyond-
a Government soothing influence that seems to
pervade the body and makes them incapable of fairly and
properly criticising measures that come from the hand of
the man who called them into existence as a politicl
power. But there are men there who recogniso the importance
of their duties, and one of those, one of the most active
membes of that body, in protesting agaisat the
two weeks’ adjournment, asked whether they should adjourn
when there was so muach of publio importamoe
demanding investigation and enquiry at the bande of the
representatives of the people in this Houe. He said : Yon
propose to adjourn for two weeks, and yo have been aitting
for an hour or two a day, and thore is lthe geat caus.
of the late rebellion in the North-West, that caused the
loss of life and the sacrifice of millions of treasure; why
cannet we sit ? Why should we adjourn ? Why cannot
we sit and Investigate into the causes of that laterebellion ?
An hon. MEMBER Who is that ?
lMr. PATERSON (Brant). One of the most active members
of that body, a Conservative who has become disgusted
with the manner in which the business is done, an dwho
desires now, as the Liberal members desire, that there shall
be a reconstitution of that House, that there shall be
some movement, some reeponse, to the wishes of the
people. He said, secondly, that they might profitably
employ their time in ascertaining how the millions expended
in suppressing that rebellion had been expended, and who
will say there is not a field for enquiry worthy for that
body to take hold of ? I remember when they had a committee
investigating the expenditure of a few thonsand dollars
on the Kaministiquia River, when they sought to find
fault with my hon. friend from East York, who was thon in
power, and to make out that ajob had been perpetrated, and
to-day we find that that has been adopted by the railway
authorities. At that time, acting in a partisan spirit,
they could find time to sit on a committee, but it is differ.
ent now when there have been millions upon millions of
the people’s money expended, and it has been charged in
the public prints, with what truth I will not say, that there
has beenextravagant expenditures in connection with that,
Has there been a committee appointed by the Sonate to
look into that matter ? No, but they coolly propose to
adjourn for two weeks thon, and subsequently for another
two weeks, in face of the protest of this able member, who
pointed out that they might discharge that duty in the
intereste of the people. Thirdly, he said they might have
an enquiry as to how the 81,000,000 annually expended
upon the Indians is expended. Who will say, in the light
of the revelations given to us by the hon. member for Huron
(Mr. Cameron), from the departmental blue books and other
sources, that there is no room and no necessity for an
enquiry there. That was pointed ont by this honorable
Senator, but it had no avail with them. Another subject ho
suggested was the investigation by a committee of the timber
limits improperly given away in what lie called the disputed
territory. Is that not a thing in reference to which some
care should be exercised bythose who are elected to look
after provincial rights? Lare the rights of one of the
Provinces were being sacrificed, but the representatives in
that Chamber who are supposed to represent that Province
were averse to remaining, and they are almoet wholly of
one political party, they wore unwilling to romain to give
any investigation to this subject. They preferred their ease,
and why not? because, if fault is found with them, who
shall say anything to them? They are, as properly
stated in the remarks which I have read, above and
beyond the people, and they may do as they pleae.
He aiso suggested that it would be proper and
profitable to enquire into the question of timber limit
and coal land leases. Would not that be desirable, in the
face of charges which have been made and denials ofohagres
which we hear and see made in the newspapers and whioh
we hear on the floor of Parliament? What botter tiae would
there be for that body to take that into consideration and
examine into it fully ? And, sixthly, he says: We ought to
romain here, it is imporative that we should remain here,
and should have an ample, full, free discussion as to how
we can bauid up in the Iaritime Provinces that great
186. 127f
COMMONS DEBATES. MAT 14,
interest, the sea coast fisheries. But their holidays are
of more value to them than the interests of the Maritime
Provinces. What to them is it whother our fishing
industries languish or «not? They are off on their two
weeks jaunt, only on their retur to sit for a few hours, and
then to adjourn for two weeks more.
Mr. HESSON. Louder.
Mr. PATERSON (Brant). The hon. member for North
Perth (Mr. Hesson) is unable to hear me, apparently. I
venture to say he will not find it so difficult to hear me as
to answer me, when he may have an opportunity to do so
perhaps on the public platform, if he does not choose to do
so on the floor of the House. In the seventh place, that
member of the Senate suggested an investigation into the
many wasteful expenditures of this prodigal Government,and
who will say there is no room for that House to have given
its attention in that direction ? But that seemed not to
have any effect on them either. Then another subject
suggested was that it was desirable in the interests of this
country, and who will say it is not, that the Senate should
take up and enquire into the important question of widening
the provisions of the extradition treaty. Is that
not an important subject ? Might they not have given
their attention to it ? But was that attended to by them ?
No, their minds were bent upon a holiday, and upon a holiday
they went. Ninthly, he suggested that they should
have a discussion upon the experience of the working of the
tariff, and some of its ill-effects. Was not there a field
upon which to have their view ? They could have investigated
ail the depressed industries in the country at the
preeent time, and ascertained what the cost was and how
the tariff was working iniuriously in one direction and
beneficially in another. These, Sir, are the nine reasons
that that member of that honorable body gave when
ho protested against thie adjournment of two weeks they
were making, and he pointed out to them that their
duty was to look after the public interest. But, Sir,
it was of no avail, and hon, gentlemen opposite cannot
fail to see, the country, at any rate, Mr. Speaker, will not
fail to see, that when you have a Chamber constituted as
that is, nominated by the First Minister of the day, nomi.
nated for life, when they are placed in that position
by the power that creates them, utterly beyond the
control of the people in any sense, you cannot have
more efficient legislalion from that branch of the
Legislature in the future than yon have in the past. Sir,
I am not extreme in my views, I am not desirous, as the
First Minister said, of tinkering at the constitution all the
time; that is not to be desired; but, Sir, we have had
eighteen years’ experience of the working of that body, and
I challenge hon. gentlemen opposite to rise and deny, if
they can, that during the whole course of that eighteen
years the tendency of legislation in that House has not
been in the direction which I have indicated at the present
time. If there was better legislation and more useful
legislation in that House in the early days of Confoderation
I believe it was due to the fact that the House was. then
more largely composed of reprosentatives who had secured
the confidence of the people of this country, than it is at
the present time. Holding the views that I do, I am in
accord with the motion of the ion. member for Bothwell,
because I believe that experience has demonstrated that it
is desirable in the interests of this country that some change
should be made in the constitution of the Senate, and that
regard should be had to the elective principle.
Mr. FOSTER. I have listened with pleasure to the
speech of my hon. friend for Brant (Mr. Paterson). I do
not intend to speak long, I shall try to finish by six o’clock.
I merely wish to take up two or three points in the remarks
he made in the way of friendly criticism. In the first place,j
I wish to notice the eat change that has como over thei
Mr. PÂA, oN rani.
hon. gentleman’s mind, and over those who se loudly
applauded him in the opening part of his speech. Sir, if I
do not misremember, I think that hon. gentleman took up
a good many hours of last Session, and I think bis
brother members opposite took up a good many hours
of last Session, in ponderous and wordy declamation, to
prove that at that stage of the Session when the Franchise
Bill was brought in, there was no proper
time for its discussion. Yet, the hon. gentleman has
so far turned round that although it has been stated on
both sides of this louse that the Session is probably within
eight or ton days of its close, wben lon. gentlemen on both
sides are anxions to get away to their homes, the lon.
gentleman gets up and states: We have any amount of
time for full discussion; we have the proper range and the
proper latitude, and the question can be thoroughly
discussed. Thus we see how easy it is for that hon. gentleman
to change his point of view, to change his position,
where principle is not at stake, and where some party
advantage only is looked for. Now he made another rather
odd assertion. He found fault with the Senate because it
was too much under the power of the Government. He says
it is appointed by the Government, it is the creature of the
Government, and the members of that body are placed there
to do the work of the Government, yet he drew a
contrast between our Sonate and theI louse of Lords in
Great Britain, to the detriment of ours, by saying that the
flouse of Lords was much less under the influence of the
Goverument of the day than our Senate is. Why this
Sonate is free, and it has its complement, is complete, as ho
stated. But if the House of Lords doos not do what the
Government wishets, the Government forces it by adding a
certain number to the House tr imake it do its work.
So in the House of Lords, if it does not do what the Govern.
ment wishes, the Government has enginery by which it can
bring the House of Lords to its will by the creation of more
peers, and yet my hon. friend declares that the House
of Lords is superior in this respect to our Sonate.
This is an anomaly, which my hon. friend may be
able to reconcile, but which I cannot. He says that the
Sonate is partisan. Has he offered a single remedy to cure
partisanship ? Is there not partisanship in this House ? Doos
not partisanship exist on that side of the House ? Is not
partisanship found in the speeches, in the reasoning, in
the mind of my hon. friend who has just spoken ?
Does ho propose any remedy by which there can be
a Sonate or House yonder, which will ho bereft of all
partisanship and will come up to that high ideal of a legislative
body, which will discuss everything from the ground
of right reason and practical result. I think the ion. member
before ho urges as an objection to the other body that
it is partisan is bound to show to this House that ho las
some method for placing a legislative body there which will
not be a partisan body and so to cure that evil. The hon.
gentleman says that provincial rights are relinquished by
gentlemen in the other House. I have seen him rise in this
House and declare in language as loud as that of any other
son of thunder that this fouse has deserted provincial
rights, this House which comes from the people,
and therefore if it is an objection to the other
branch of the Legislature that it deserts provincial
rights, on his own ground and from his own argument and
from the assertions he as made here hundreds of times if
he as made themo at all, the very same objection lies against
this House, because he himself has stated over and over
again that this louse, the creation of the people, has
ignored provincial rights. He says: It may be all right now
when the gentlemen in the other House are of the same political
opinion as the gentlemen here, and all goes on wellt; but
when a change takes place, how will it be then ? How will
it be under any method which the hon. gentleman may
suggest? How is the hon, gentleman going to eloct the
1280
COMMONS DEBATEB.
Upper House? Is he going to have the same length of
term as here ? If that is his proposition-I do not say that
it is–what is the use of having two elective bodies coterminus
with each other, beginning from the same publie
sentiment and ending with a similar publie sentiment
and in the samo phase of it. The hon. gentleman
does not propose anything to cure the evil. If
ho is going to have the period of eleotion for
the Upper House longer than the period for this House, you
will elect its members at a certain phase of public opinion
that will be in accordance with public opinion as represented
by the members of this louse. This House dies before the
other. Public opinion will have changed, and you will have
a set of men in this House with different opinions and holding
different political maxima from those in the other House.
Will they not be opposed to each other ? The hon. gentle.
man as not proposed any method by which to overcome
that strong objection. The hon. gentleman said we had an
elective Sonate once. So we had. The test of experience
is a very good test. The people of Canada are fairly
wise people, and the politicians of 1867 were quite
as wise as the politicians of to.day; and looking
over that experiment, which they entered on as
an experiment, and looking at the results of it, when they
came into this wider and greater Union, they said: We
have tried an elective Sonate; we do not believe it worked
well. When we enter upon the new career of a great and
wide confederation, we will build upon the old rock-bed of
the contitution of Great Britain, and have a Senate
appointed for life rather than an elective Sonate, which we
have tried as an experiment, and which has failed. The hon.
gentleman further said, and his assertion is one of thoso
wild assei Lions which hon. gentlemen cannot always substantiate,
that in almost every case the appointee to the
Senate was a rejected candidate; that ho went before the
people, who rejected him, and the moment they did so ho
was placed in the Upper House. I challenge the hon. momber
to take the list of appointees to the Senate, and prove
that bold assertion he las made. I do not think ho can do
it. Andagain, the hon. gentleman said that mensures ought
to be more fully discussed in the Sonate; that if we discussed
measures the Sonate ought to spend an equal timo in discussing
them. That does not follow. Does not tho Railway
Committee discuss railway measures sometimes for
days and days, and yet when they come down to thifs House
they are passed almost without discussion. It is a case
almost parallel: This House takes up measures, introduces
them, discusses them, places them in proper shape and
sends them to the other body. If they have been well considered
here, and if we have sustained our own dignity and
done our own work, we must say they bave been properly
considered here and there is no necessity for an equal
length of time being spent in considering them in the other
House, which revises them. Let me now touch upon the
last point that I will mention with respect to the hon.
member. His general objection, if there was any point
to it, was, that the Sonate was a costly body, a
useles body, that it sits a little while and thon goes
on long holidays, and that therofore it was a body
useless, expensive, and which did little good. And what
is the obvious conclusion? Sir, if there was any
conclusion at all to be drawn from the hon. gentleman’s
remarks it was that the Sonate, which is so useless, which
has so little discussion, which did nothing, which was so
costly and which was a burdensome thing should be swept
out of existence entirely. Yet neither the hon. gentlemen
who had spoken nor the mover of the rosolution had the
courage to come before this Parliament and the country in
a straightforward manly way and place before the people1
the plain issue of the abolition of the Sonate. They first1
pile up the cost and soek to show its uselessneas; and they
nd by, what ? They say: Oh, lot us keep it by al means,
but we will make some general confusing statement to the
people on which we can go to them and say we are against
the Sonate, while we will net pledge ourselves to anything.
That is the course pursued by hon. gentlemen opposite.
From I do not know how far back down to the present time
they have never gone before the people with a definite
plain issue; they always take strong grounds in their
speeches, but when they come to concentrate their speeches
into resolutions they have only somo misty, airy, cloudy,
nebulous thing which no person on earth can materializm.
It being Six o’clock, the Speaker left the Chair.
After Reoess.
THIRD READINGS.
Bill (No. 86) to incorporate the North American Telegraph
Company.-(Mr. Taylor.)
BiU (No. 65) respecting the Northern and North-Western
Junction Railway Company.-(Mr. Xilvert.)
SUPPLY-CONSTITUTION OF THE SENATE.
Mr. DAVIES. The resolution which my hon. friend
from Bothwell bas moved, involves, as the right bon. First
Minister said, a radical change in our constitution, and
should therefore be carefully considered. But it does net
follow, bocause it involves that change, that we should be
afraid to face it; and if the exporience we have gained
during the past 18 years of our political life convinces us
that a change is required, we should have the manliness
and the courage to say so, and to say so at the right time.
In looking back over the history of this Dominion during
that time, I eau come to but one conclusion, that the constitution
of the Senate, as it exists at present, is not in accordance
with the spirit of the age, doos not reflect the views
of the people, and does not give offect to the measures the
people desire to pass. I myself, if I had been in political life
when our con stitu tion was framed, would not have been averse
to the adoption of even a more radical system than that proposed
by my hon. friend. I am radical enough to believe that
in this age and in this country, and with so intelligent a
people, we should have got along well enough with one
Chamber alone; but that was not the view of the fathers
of our constitution; and the prevailing opinion seems to
be that it is necessary to have some kind of a second
Chamber. The question, therefore, before the louse is,
what character shall that Chamber take ? Shall it be
simply a nominative body, the mombers appointed for
life, not changing as the desires and wlshes of the people
change, but remaining constituted as the Premier for
the time being makes it ? I do net thitnk that is
right. I remember, when our constitution, as embodied
in the BritiKh North America Act, was under review
in the English House of Commons, that great orator
and tribune of the people, John Bright, gave his views
on this particular feature of it. le thon warned those
who were pronoting the British North America Act,
that there was a radical defect in the constitution they were
framing which consisted in creating a body composed of
what ho called stereotyped life peers; and ho predicted that
the time would not be long before the people of Canada
would come to agre with him and be ready to make the
change which ho thon desired sbould be made. I will, with
your permission, read a few words which that right bon,
gentleman uttered at the time upon this question, and I
think ho ba a right to-day to say that bis fears and
his predictions have been fully verified. Ho says,
referring to the promoters of the British North Amenca
Aot and the people of Canada.
1886. 1281
OOMIONS DEBATES. MAY 14,
4 They have established their House of Representatives direetly upon
the basis of representation. They have adopted the system which prevails
in the United States, which, upon every ten years summing up of
the census in that country, the number of members may be changed,
and is by law changed in the différent States and districts, as the rate
of population may have changsd. Therefore, in that respect, his friends
in Canada have not adopted the principle which prevails in this
country, but that which prevails in the United States. I believe they
have done that which ie right, and which they have a right to do, and
which is inevitable there. I regret very much that they have not
adopted another system with regard to their 0ouncil or Senate, because
I am satisfied-I have not a particle of doubt with regard to it-that
we run a great danger of making this Act work ill almost from the
beginning. They have the example of thirty-six States in the United
States, in which the Senate is elected, and no man, however sanguine,
can hope that seventy-two stereotyped provincial peers in Canada,
will work harmoniously with a body elected upon a system o wide and
so general as that which prevails in the States of the American Union.”
Sir, I venture to say that the prediction of that great orator
and statesman has been verified. I venture to say that the
vast majority of the people of this country believe that we
have ineurred the danger he predicted of making that Act
work ill almost from the beginning. Our eighteon years’
experience shows that, so far as the Sonate have been able,
they have contributed to the ill-working of the machine. I
believe, Sir, in the people ruling. There was a time in the
history of the world when kings ruled alone, when their
will was law; there was a time when the Commons had no
voice in the making or the execution of the laws which they
were bound to obey. But the world progressed, and the
nobles took a share in the work of government with the
king. For a time they ruled, but not in the interest of the
common people. The great mass of the people were little
above slaves. But intelligence and education have been
diffused so rapidly that in the Mother Country, the mother
of Parliaments, a new ora bas dawned, and during the last
forty or fifty years the common people have had their share
in the government of that country. Sir, it is inevitable that
the reign of the common people shall come, and shall come
soon. I believe it is comng in this country of ours. I
believe it is right that the common people, those who have
been excluded from having a reasonable voice in the making
of the laws, should have that reasonable voice given to
them, and I believe that anything that obstructs the fair,
honest views of the people from being expressed should be
removed. I believe the Sonate is an obstruction in that
regard. The hon. gentleman wbo replied to the mover of
the resolution recognised its gravity ; ho recognised
that it was a great stop in the direction of popular
government, and ho met it with a fiat refusal.
,-He is satisfied with the existing state of affairs, and well ho
may be; and why ? Because the Senate reflects the opinion
of the people ? No; because the Senate reflects his indi.
vidual whim-nay, his caprice; and that is inevitable,
because he bas had the appointmont of the members of that
body. While the theory at the beginning seemed to be
very pretty and very good, that the best men from the
different Provinces should be selected and should form a
kind of high judicial court, removed to some extent from
the whims and the caprice of the popular branch, which
would maintain an equilibrium between political parties,
what bas been the practical working of that theory ? What
is that body to-day ? We find that the Liberal party of
Canada, who, I am bold to say, are in a majority in this
country, although not in this House-
Some hon. MEMBERS. Oh, oh.
Mr. DAVIES. I have not hesitated in expressing that
as my individual belief, and that belief will be shown to be
well founded when the people next go to the polis. How
is that opinion reflected in our little House of Lords by
those stereotype provincial peers, as the hon. Mr. Bright
called them ? We have been given very little more than a
corporal’s guard ? Do hon. gentleman think that is right
or proper? Suppose that the people in the ooming elections
should vote want of oonldone, s.l bolieve ,they wi, iI
Mr. DAVIn.
the right hon. gentleman opposite, what position will the
country thon be in ? We will be in this position, that we
will have an obstructive body, a partisan body, a body
which bas shown itself in time past to be bitterly partisan,
to do what ? To facilitate the carrying ont of the wishes of
the people? To advance liberal legislation ? No, Sir; but
te obstruct and do whatever they cani to paralyse
the power of the Government. The right hon. gentleman
said that ho was surprised and annoyed that my
hon. friend should have moved this resolution in the way
ho did. I would be sùrprised if my hon. friend could
move a resolution in any way, which woult meet
the approval of the right hon. gentleman. But if my hon.
lriend has taken the opportunity of proposing this constitutional
resolution on the motion to go into Supply, ho is only
following the precedont establishod by the right hon.
gentleman when he was in Opposition. When ho wanted to
move a resolution on a great constitutional question what
course did he take ? Ho moved his resolution when the
House was going into Supply, just as my hon. friend bas
done. The proposition advanced in the resolution of my
hon. friend is no new proposition; it is not the first time
the hon. gentleman has moved a resolution in this House
enunciating the same proposition. Hon. gentlemen know
that the honored and respected leader of this party, the
Gladstone of Canada, the future Premier of Canada-they
know and the country knows that he has laid down, as a
plank in his platform, the principles which my hon. friend
bas formulated in bis resolution to-night. He has discussed
them in his London speech and in other great speeches, and
therofore we are not here môving a new principle with
which to catch public opinion at the coming elections. We
are, on the contrary, seeking to formulate and, if possible,
to carry a resolution embodying the views of our party,views
which will be endorsed by the people when they have the
opportunity of expressing their opinion. It is a curious fact
that hon, gentlemen opposite, in their minor organs, and
when they are not face to face with the leaders of the Liberal
party, are very fond of accusing that party of being without
a policy. But those who have sat opposite to us for the
last few years and have listened to the policy we have enunciated,
from day to day, in the resolutions we have moved,
know that we have a policy, a grand and noble policy,
which will meet the approval of the people. The Minister
of Marine and Fisheries who spoke-for what purpose I do
not know, for after he had spoken I was unable to understand
what idea he wished the House to gather from his
remarks-characterised the resolution in a number of adjeo.
tives, as airy, nebulous, cloudy, misty, and incomprehensible.
Ris remarks were excusable on one ground only,
namely, that he never read the resolution at all. The resolution
affirms two propositions: One, that the existing
constitution of the Sonate, by making that body independent
of the people, is inconsistent with the Federal principle of
our system of government. There is in that proposition
nothing nebulous and airy, but, on the contrary, it is plain,
practical and liberal. It affirms the principle that we do
not believe in the existence of governing bodies independent
of the people. The resolution goes on to affrm how that
constitution will be changed :
” That appropriate steps be taken to secure such amendments as will
make the tSenate directly responsible to the people.”
These are the two propositions affirmed in my hon. friend’s
resolution, which the Minister of Marine and Fisheries
characterised as airy and nebulous. The hon. gentleman
came out as the champion of the Senate, and I listened with
great attention to ascertain why he championed this body
so ardently. He is, or, I should say, ho was-I must
qualify my remarks-known as the great champion of total
abstinence in this country, and perhaps it may be from the
notabl* evidence whioh the Senate has given of their
1282
188& OOMONS D1IBATE8 -s8
bympathy with hie pat views, that the hon. gentleman the Senate, and lot Us see whetlhr h. bel reosr do at
expresses his admiration for them to-day. The hon. believe, after that experienoe, that a wrong exista.
gentleman justified the existence of partisanship in the Mr. McNEILL. Name.
Sonate. On what ground ? Because, he said, it exists in
the Commons as well. But the reason for the existence of Mr. DAVIES. The Hon. Mr. Scott. I and hijn saying:
a second House, the justification of its existence, is that, “ÂAeerding to the history of the sonate it is usoed umpl for the
as far as possible, partisansbip should be banished fromf, tphoel itsiecnatli mexeingte oncf itehse ohf otnh.e gGenotvleermnamne nwt ioof thhaeu dsapyo. kenI bqeufoitres mapep, rbeuotl,a tief
it, and that it should be a high judicial body, free b had sat in the lat Pariament, as I did, ho vould know that momof
any such taint. If the louse of Commons is bers of the Sonate were not thon quite so fair and reasonable; that tbis
partisan, the ple bave the remedy in their own Rouse, with its great Conservative majority, was used–”
hande. When the proper time comes, they can rémove those I want to appeal to that gentleman with al his expeSiSe
whose partisanship has been inimical to the public interest, as to the use which is made of the Sonate.-
but if partisanship shows itself in the Senate, what remedy “was used as an inquisitorial commission for the purpose of sonding
have the people ? The people are powerless, the Senators forth tirough this country damaging reports against the late Goveznare
there for life, and, as my hon. friend, in quoting from ment-reports that to-day they would not endorse. They spent month
the remarks of a distinguished Senator, said : “The Sonate after month procuring evidence to show how preposterous it was to
Tho a onaT hoademake improvements on the Raministiquia River, et lat year and this
eau romain and laugh at the people.” This anomaly should year there are votes for the improvement of that river. They said that
not be allowed to exist in this free country where we profess a breakwater should be constructed at Prince Arthur’s Landing, and to
to enjoy responsible government, and where we hope and carry oui the acheme they spent money ther to no purpose. W en we
introducedi a Bill for the Esquimait andI Nanaino ftailway, h vwas
believe the people goveru. It is not proper that a body thrown out of this House, when the present Government introduced a
should continue to exist which is not responsible to the Bill for the same purpose, it was carried hore. Whon we introduced a
people, it is not proper that such a body should control the Bill to right a wrong in the county of Huron, to reconstruct the
o. i ible ridings of that county as they should be, it was scorned and
legislation and icy of this House, while is respons thrown out; when a Bill i introduced by the presont Government to
1o the people. 1 wae amused at the apology which the Min. manipulate every municipality in Ontario, to ‘hive the Grits,’ as thoy
ister of Marine offered for the want of action and the want say. to alter every constituency ai the beck and instance of their friends
of wthorek oSn etnhaet ep.a rt oMf y hon. friend finthoe house, no attemp is made to stop h,tor to see whether ft la
of work on tho part o h oae ybn friodfor fair or in accord vith provincial rights or not. Whon the prisent
Brant (Mr. Paterson) quoted at length the record of their Government took the absurd position of fighting the Provinous-”
proceedings, showing what a hard-worked body they are ; This quotation I am making is d propos to the defence of the
and I wonder how some of the venerable old gentlemen who Sonate on the ground that they represent the smaller Pro.
compoise the Senate manage to survive the number of hours vinces.-
they put in during the three months. What did
the Minister of Marine say? He said he was surprised that he Provinces and attempting ta deprive them cf tab r righo., vhou they
any complaint should be made that the Sonate did not work attempted to take the licensing power from the Provincial Goverameats
harder. What need, he asked, was there for them to work, which they had enjoyed for eighteen yearu, and when I raised y voite
since the House of Commons did all the work. If that bor againat the B when itcame up ta tenate, vho listend ome?
argument is worth anything at ail, it is an argument for Not a sou.
the abolition of the Sonate, If we do all the work, if Oftheeightyiudependenthighjudicial functionarios, asthey
our moasures are eo earefully prepared in committee that were supposed to be, who were appoaled to at a critical mothere
is no need for the Sonate to work, why maintain the ment to raise thoir voices on buhalf of provincial rights,
Sonate at a cost of a quarter of a million to the country. But, threatened by the Government of the day, how many list-
I say, if the Sonate would discharge the duties they are ened to the hon. gentleman’ti appeal ? Not one.-
bound to discharge, they have a vast field in which to work. “Sir John A. Macdonald has stated that thelicensing power bolonged
Why should they not initiate legislation ? It is wellknown to the Dominion, and so this House, at the buck uf the Goverament uf
the day, at once accepted the proposition and would notlisten to an
that a large majority of the members of this House are bard argument against it for One moment. What ui the position of this Bonse
working men who find it very difficult indeed to give up on thatuestion to-day? Does it occupy a guod one on a question where
time from thoir work at home and come here to disuharge it shou stand up for provincial rnmhsO? n yvemreya sure affecicg
Are ~ 1~d provincial rights il supportesi the Government. Il vas lu the. Interoîte
the necessary work of legislation. Are they asisted by of the strong party in the House of Oommon that that view ubould pré.
the Sonate ? Have the Sonate initiated legislation ? No, vail, and it did prevail. That was the way this oChamber manifested its
Sir. What a grand field they had this Session. Hore we independence.”
were going to consolidate seventeen or eighteen years of Sir, there is the record, the matured opinion of a gentle.
Statute work; and what a grand opportunity this gave man who has been in that Chamber, a very leading memithe
Sonate to give a reseon for their existence, by appoint- ber of it, for the last twelve years, and i say, in the fams of
ing a committee to take that work in band and thus relieve that record, there ca obbeu t on.e opinion as to the De of
the Commons. We were working day and night, we were that body in protecting provincial rights at least. Now, if
over worked, in fact, and unable to do this work as it should thore are statements made by the Hon. Mr. Scott from hie
be done. Why should it not have been taken up by those place in the Sonate, which I have read, any of whioh are
gentlemen, who take their holidays and do not pretend to untrue, let us hear them challenged to-night. If they are
discharge any of the work they are supposed to discharge, true, they prove conclusively that the resoltion of mry
and which, according to the constitutional thoory, they hon. friend has not been moved a day or an hour too son.
should discharge. Theright hon. the First Minister said very The right hon. gentleman seemed to pooh pooh the idea
correctly, that we are enjoying a constitution which has that the Senators are at all under his econtrol. I would not
existed for eighteen years, and should not seek hastily to venture an opinion of my own, but I wili refer him to the
change it; that no radical change should be made unless we opinion of a gentleman who hias long supported him in
could prove the existence of a wrong. That brings us to that Chamber, and not a week ago, when the question of
the question of fact whether wrong has been shown to exist the constitution of the Sonate came up, what do we find
or not. I do not wish to give my expression of opinion, him saying ?:
but will give the House that of a gentleman who has st in “There is not a member here who bai received his appointaient from
the Sonate since its inception, who has taken an active and either Goverament that does not fel under more or less restraint and
prominent part in its labors, and who bas been the leader obigation te ire party or the leader of the party tIai appoint*d hlm, Lso is e wha hieandi members are to tiret extent shscklod and bounsi. In many iuium.uoes, there of one of our political parties. Let us see what his I am qite satiedd that hon. gentlemen hre would take a direat
opinion is after alwre yara’ experinoe of te werking of .otu4f nm ab$et* yd e oe itit hat they fel they veire
COMMONS DEBÂTES. MÂr 14
appointment to the present Government, and consequently must support
all measures introduced by them.”
There is a splendid character to give to the body appointed
by the right hon. gentleman, a body whose actions show
they are here to register the decrees of the right hon. gentleman
himself, and not te protect the rights of the Provinces,
or te advance or promote the interests of the people.
Now, the right hon. gentleman also did not scruple to say,
that in hie opinion, the Senate to-day truly reflects the voice
of the people. He bas had his answer from the mouth of
my hon. friend from Brant (Mr. Paterson), who proved te
him, that from the premier Province of this Dominion, a
Province which I congratulate on having had twelve long
years of Liberal rule, and which promises to maintain that
rule for a long time te come, there are only four Liberal
representatives in that Senate. It is a farce to say, that
when Ontario bas only four Liberal representatives in the
Senate, that Sonate truly represents the voice of the
people. It is ridiculous; it is a travesty on the facts
as we know them to exist. The hon. gentleman compared
our Senate to the House of Lords in England, and led us to
believe that it was modelled upon that body, and that it
discharged the same functions and duties in this Dominion
as the House of Lords disecharge in Great Britain; but
there is no comparison possibly between the two bodies.
We know that the House of Lords is a venerable institution
which bas come down from antiquity, which preserves,
and is maintained by those who are in favor of it in order
that it may preserve and maintain the special interests of
a particular class. Here in this broad Dominion, I am
proud to say we have not and we ought not te have any
special class or special interests which require a special
body to preserve. We have no aristocracy, we have no
landed interests, in the sense in which they have landed
interests at home. We are a people te that extent, homo.
geneous that the interest of one class ought to be, and I
believe is, the interest of all; and therofore the reasons for
the continuance of the Hlouse of Lords-whether they are
tenable or not is a matter which the English people will
decide-do not exist here. But there is no parallel at all.
The members of the House of Lords do not owe thoir po’ition
te tho appointment of a Premier. Tho members of the
House of Lords are such because they are sons of their
fathers, because their fathers before have been members of
that House. It runs in the family, as my hon. friend says,
and while that may or may not be defensible, while
they are there te defend thé interests of their class,
there is no parallel between such a body and
this, appointed by the Premier and reflecting his will alone,
nor is there any comparison between our Senate and the
Senate of the United States. The hon. gentleman says we
seek to introduce a body similar to the Senate of the
United States. No, we do not. The Senate of the United
States possesses powers by the constitution of that
country with which it is not desirable that we should investi
the Senate of this country, and I have never beard anyone
on this side of the House propose te invest them with such
powers. The Senate of the United States are se appointed
that the smallest State bas as great a representation as the
largest. They are not only a legislative body but they are
to some extent an executive body. Their constitution is
entirely different from ours at present or from our proposed
one, and no analogy can be drawn. I will not take up the
time of the fouse fnrther on this subject. I believe that
it is proper and right that we should have placed before
this House now, when we are, se far as we can gather,
upon the eve of a general election, that we should formulate
in a distinct way and in a distinct form the principles
we hold in regard te the second Chamber; and, believing
that the principles formulated in the resolution of my bon.
friend willgive to the people of this country a second
Mr. DAVus.
Chamber far in advance of the one under which we now
suifer, I will gladly support his motion.
Mr. MoNEILL. I shall take up the time of the House
only a few moments, but I do not feel inclined to vote on this
subject without expressing my views. I think it is unfortunate
that none of the hon, gentlemen opposite who followed
the Premier ventured to grapple with the main
argument which he advanced to the House which was, as I
understand it, that the second elective Chamber we formerly
had proved a failure, and that in point of fact the two
elective bodies would be found to confliet with each other.
The hon. member for Bothwell (Mir. Mills) seemed to be
pressed with the force of that objection, too, before it was
urged from this side of the House by the right bon. Premier,
because ho endeavored to guard himself. I see he
shakes his head. 1 did him the credit to suppose that ho
had been aware of that objection and had been pressed by
it, but I see that he denies that he was. The hon. gentleman
said that it would be necessary to have a Chamber that
would keep this House in check, and a little while afterwards
ho said that we would require to have that Chamber
so constituted that it would not be a rival to this flouse.
Now, that is just where the difficulty comes in. If you
have two elective Chambers, either the second will be
a rival to this House, or you will not have a
second Chamber that is of any benefit at all.
If yon make that second Chamber weak, if you reduce its
independence, as the hon. gentleman proposed, it will
vitually amount to nothing and be no check. If, again,
you bave a Chamber elected by the people, the question
is, upon what franchise is it to be elected? Is it te be
elected on the same franchise as this House, or upon
some other franchise ? Is the property qualification to be
higher than the property qualification for this House ? If
it is higher that will make a difference in the first instance
but the result will be that we shall soon have an agitation
to reduce the qualification. We shall therefore simply
have what the hon. gentleman himself regards as a danger,
we shall bave a rival Hiouse, in short, to this representative
Chamber. But, Sir, it is a most important fact that we find
hon. gentlemen ribinig up in their places in this House
and proposing, in the calmest way, without any warning
whatever, such a radical proposition as has been presented
to us to-night; we found hon. gentlemen getting up without
a moment’s warning the other night, and supporting a proposition
in support of a policy which just a round dozen
members of Mr. Gladstone’s late Cabinet had declared to be
most dangerous to the integrity of the Empire; we find
the leader of the Opposition rising without a moment’s
notice to ask this Flouse to support that proposition.
We find to-day another hon. member getting up without a
moment’s notice, and in a calm kind of way, on a summer
afternoon, suggesting that we should alter the British
constitution; and we. find the hon. member from Prince
Edward Island (Mr. Davies), saying that that is perfectly
right, and just the sort of thing we ought to do. I think
that is net the sort of thing we ought to have in this House
of Commons. I think we ought to conduct our debates
with greater gravity than that, and we ought not to
approach a question of this enormous importance with such
a light heart. I venture to think that it would be a very
great loss, and a very great injury to the people of this
country, if we were to attempt to substitute an elective body
for the nominated Chamber which now existe. As I understand
it, the weakness of this flouse is just where the
strength of the other House is to be found. This House is
weak because it is dependent upon the people, and, as I
understand it, it is just because this fouse is intended to
represent the people that it is weak; and on the other hand,
because it has its sanction directly from the people, it is
1284
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1886. OMMONS DEBATES. 1285
strong also. I say the weakness of this House consista in louse of Lords came out triumphantly. That was not
the fact that the members, because they know that because they went against the people, but because the
their seats depend on the will of the electorate, are House of Commons, represented by the Premier and the
inclined often to do that which they think would be pleasing Government of the day, were afraid to appeal to the people
to their constituents, rather than that which they believe, on the question. The House of Lords bgged that tere
in their hearts, would be in the interest of the country. should be an appeal to the people. Lord Saliubury and
But that is what we require, and what the British con- other leading statesmen requested such an appeal, but Mr.
stitution requires-this British constitution which hon, gen- Gladstone feared to appeal to the people on the question,
tlemen think is to be altered, as I said, in a summer’s after- and he gave way, and the House of Lords prevented the
noon, this British constitution, of course, as we ail know, has House of Commons doing, what hon. gentlemen bere would
been produced without much thought by a parcel of men have objected to being done, making a re-distribution of seats
who do not know very much about what they were doing. without anyone knowing what the distribution was to be.
Sir, this very characteristic of the British constitution is of But I venture to think that the people of this country have
ail others, to my mid, one of those we ought to guard with some respect for the constitution which has been provided
the greatest jealousy. In the second Chamber are men who for them through the wisdom of ages, and by the blood of
are not dependent for their seats upon the electorate, and their ancestors, and that they will guard that constitution
therein I see one of the greatest safeguards to the interest jealously. I do not believe that hon. gentlemen opposite
of the country. When you find a sudden wave of excite- are going to make a great deal of political capital out of
ment passing over the country, which may influence hon. this attempt to substitute an elective Chamber for the premembers
of this louse to do this or that which they think sent Sonate. The hon. member for Prince Edward Island
may be pleasing to their constituents, we have no kind of (Kr. Davies) seemed to see the difficulty of that position.
guarantee that they will not give way to the pressure of this Ie does not believe in a body of that kind, and he goes a
popular excitement. But you have in the second Chamber step forward and says: Abolish the whole th ing; do away
gentlemen who hold their seats for life,who are independent altogether with the British constitution. It will, however,
of the people, and who are able to approach a question be some time before that comes to pass.
calmly and to consider it upon its merits, without regard Mr. JAMIESON. Before I record my vote on this questo
the opinion of those outside upon whoso votes they tion, I think it advisable to offer a few remarks. On several
would otherwise be dependent. In that way they occasions, both in my own constituency and elsewhere, I
are able to stem the tide of publie excitement until have expressed the opinion that in my judgment there was
tho people have time to reflect and reco ver their sober room for a change in the constitution of the Sonate. I regret,
second thought. That is where we have the benefit however, very much that this matter has come before the
of a Chamber which is not elective. But the hon Hiouse in the shape in which it has been submitted. Whilst
gentlemen opposite desire to do away with that safeguard’ I am in favor of the principle of the amendment, I at the
altogether, and to have an elective Chamber which will be same timo have confidence in the Government.
just as liable to be forced by popular excitement of any
kind as is the House of Commons, and in that way they do Some bon. MEMBERS. Oh, oh.
away with one of the very safeguards which the mon who Mr. JAMIESON. It may seem strange to some hon.
framed the British constitution foresaw and provided gentleman that I take that position. Had the hon. member
against. But these hon. gentlemen treat the British con. for Bothwell (Mr. Mills) moved it as a substantive motion,
stitution as if it was a child’s toy, or a houe built of carda, I for one would have been only to glad to have supported
which they are to deal with just as they please. It seems to it to the best of my ability. But the hon. gentleman ha.
me that the flouse of Commons is strong just where the moved it in such a way that, in my judgment, he will not
second Chamber is weak, and the second Chamber is strogg obtain a fair expression of the sentiment of the House on
just where the House of Commons is weak, and so you find this question, and I regret very much it should be placed
that the one supplements or complements the other, and before the House in that way. I have confidence in the
in these two together you have a most admirable combina. Government, and I am not going to vote want of confidence
tion. Suppose this House pass some crude and hasty in the Government on this question. I only regret I cannot
rmeasure, you have a second Chamber to counteract it. say the same in regard to the Sonate, that is, that I have
Suppose the flouse of Commons will not give way to the confidence in tho. This conviction in regard to a change
second Chamber, the Sovereign holds in ber hand the key in the constitution of the Senate ha forced itself upon me
to the dead lock, viz., a dissolution and appeal to the people, in consequence of the events which have transpired sinee
thon, if the elective Chamber is sustained the second Cham- I have had a seat in this fouse. I think the action of the
ber will, of course, give way. Sonate during the last Session Of Parliament was not only
ill-advised, but very arbitrary; and if on no other ground
Some hon. MEMBERS. Oh, oh. than their action on the Bill to amend the Canada Temper-
Mr. McNEIL. It has always been found so. Hon. gentle- ance Act which passed through this House last year, I
men may laugh, of course; it is well to laugh and to be would be disposed to support any reasonable proposition
theoretical. We have always found that to be so in practice. for an amendment in the constitution of the Senate to bring
We have not found in England any difficulty of that kind. it into harmony with what I believe to be the public senti-
We have found that thei louse of Lords in England have ment of this country. I have no hesitation in saying that,
frequently refused to sanction the legislation proposed in in my judgment, the venerablu gentlemen who occupy seats
the House of Commons; but we have never found, with the in the Upper House are entirely out of harmony and symexception
of the one animportantcase mentioned by the hon. pathy with the people of this Dominion. I trust if ion.
member for South Huron (Sir Richard Cartwright), that gentlemen at my right, the friends of the ion. member for
the flouse of Lords has persisted in its refusal to pas. any Queen’s (Mr. Davies), come into power-and I hope they
measure of great importance when there has been an appeal will not, and I do not intend to help them to power aven on
to the people. this question-but if they do attain te power, I trust their
An hon. MEMBER. low about the leform Bill? record on this question will be better than it was during
the time they were in power several years ago. I under-
Mr. MILLS. How about Jewish disabilities ? stand from the public records that the hon. member for
Mr. McNEILL. On the last occasion when there was a Bothwell (Mr. Mills) carried through this louse a resoludifference
between tie Lords and Commons, no doubt the tion affirming the adviability and desirability of a change
163
COMMONS DEBÂTES. MAY 14,
in the constitution of the Sonate. lowever, no practical
results fiowed from that motion.
Mr. MILLS. Yes, and the reasons wore given.
Mr. JAMIESON. I trust if those hon. gentlemen corne
into power this question will be treated by them in a practical
way. I hope their policy on this question will net be
one of masterly inactivity. Should I have the fortune or
misfortune to be in this House wihen the hon. gentlemen at
my right change over to the Treasury bouches, and should
they not take up this question, I will take an opportunity
of reminding them-
Mr. PATERSON (Brant). Of voting for it thon.
Mr. JAMIESON,–of proving their honesty in dealing
with this question in a practical way. It is not my
desire to discuss this question at any great length. I may
again express my great regret that it has not come up in
such a way as to enable me to give it my support. It is a
dangerous state of things te have in any country, a second
Chamber not amenable to public sentiment. I have strong
convictions on this question. I take no stock, to use
a common expression, in the arguments advanced by
the hon. member for Bruce (Mr. McNeill), It seems to
me that the arguments made use of by that hon. gentleman,
such as that the Senate, beirg appointed for life,
is more independent than we who have seats in this House
as representatives of the public sentiment of the country,
are erroneous. If we carry out that argument to its logical
conclusion it will tell diametrically against the principles
of responsible government. I agree with the sentiment
that we are representatives of the people and that the
people in this country govern. The people are the sovereign
Parliament of the country, and when we, the direct representatives
of the people, pass on any question, while I concede
the right of the Sonate to discuss and modify such a
measure, I do not con code its right, as it did’ last year in
the instance I have referred to, to act in a manner directly
opposed to the wishes of the people. Not only that, but
after we had refused to concur in the action of the Sonate
on that question and sont the Bill back to them, they re-affirmed
their position. What position are we going to occupy ?
The hon. member for Bruce (Mr. McNeill) says that in the
event ofa dead lock the Queen’s representative has the matter
in his own hands. I should like to know whether the
Queen or the Queen’s representative can change
the constitution of this country, the British North America
Act. I understand that the number of Senators who constitute
the Upper House is fixed by that Act and no power
short of the fmperial Parliament eau make any change in
the Act. Nor could the representative of the Queen or
even Her Majesty herself, without the concurrence of the
Lords and Commons of England, make any change in the
Act. Now, Sir, I do trust that in some way or other,
from some party or other in this country-and so far as I
am concerned, no matter with what party I may be allied,
I shall give such a measure my hearty support-I do trust
that some change in the constitution of that body will
take place which will render it more in harmony with
popular opinion and the sympathies of the people. It is
said that the amondment moved by the hon. member for
Bothwell (Mr. Mills) has had a wonderful effect already. I
am told-whether it is a strange concidence or not-that, just
about the time the amondment was moved in the House, the
venerable.gentlemen in the Sonate woke up to a wonderful
extent, Perhaps if we move an amendment every Session, or
once or twioe a Session, it might have a very beneficial
effect upon these gentlemen. 1 have expressed my views
on this question in this cursory fashion. It was not my
intention to speak, and in fact I was surprised when the
question came up; but I regret very much that it has come
up in the way itheas. Idesire to say that beoa I vot
Mr. JAmaSoN,
against this amendment in the shape in whih it is noved,
in the abstract form in which it has come before the House,
that is net te bo taken as an index of my opinion on the
subject, I simply vote against it because it is a vote of
want of confidence, and as 1 am a supporter of the Government,
and have confidence in its judgment and ability in
the Administration of the affaira of this country, I shall vote
against tjhe amendient on that ground. I trust, however,
to see the day when a different state of things will prevail
in this country, in reference to the constitution of the body
known as the Sonate.
Mr. MILLS. Perhaps the House will allow me to say a
word by way of explanation. The hon. gentleman says I
carried a resolution on this subject in the louse in 1875,
and that I took no further action. I stated at the time that
I did net propose te go further than to get the House te
express an opinion on the subject, with a view of making
it an issue in the election. My opinion was thon, and is
now, that a change in our constitution, whether it is a
change within our power to make, or a change which we
may seek at the hands of another body, should not be made
without popular sanction. That was the reason I did net
thon proceed further, and my desire now is to obtain from
the House such an expression of opinion as that the country
will understand precisely how hon. gentleman stand on this
question.
Mr. CASEY. The hon. gentleman who has just sat down
has given us a very frank and interesting account of the
state of his feelings, and the tendency of his vote upon this
question. He has told us that ho agrees thoroughly with
the principle of this resolution, but that ho will not vote for
it now, for foar ho shoald seem to express want of confidence
in the Government ; but that if our friends come into
power and do not reform the Sonate, and the question
should come Up again, then he would be happy to vote for
it, I fancy that is about the state of feeling of agreat many
gentlemen on that aide, who are really with us in regard te
that’question.
Some hon. MEMBERS. No, no.
Mr. CASEY. I do net mean those gentlemen who are
crying “no.” I do net suspect them; but there are gentle.
men on that side who entertain similar views.
Some hon. MEMBERS. No, no.
Mr. CASEY. Thon, as we seem te have a pretty unani.
mous denial from that side that they entertain the same
views as the hon. gentleman who lias just sat down, those
who have been calling “no” will certainly net shelter thomselves
bohind the plea that they are voting against this reolution,
because it is a vote of want of confidence. As we have
a nearly unanimous expression of opinion that they are
against this motion on principle, thon we should be justified
in taking the vote which will take place on this motion as
the real expression of the opinions of those gentlemen, and
they will not be able te bide behind the question of confidence.
Now, this habit of taking refuge behind the pretext
of confidence or want of confidence, the habit of
expressing blind loyalty to the Government as an excuse
for voting against ail sorts of resolutions, brought up in this
particular form, lias gone too far in this House. Such doctrines
were ridiculed by the present leader of tle fHouse,
when they were proposed in a former Parliament, when he
was leader of the Opposition& Net long since, I had oocasion
te read one of his speeches on that point, in
which he ridiculed the idea that an abstract resolution
not expressing want of confidence in the Government, an
abstract question of policy brought forward as an amendment
to Supply, could or should be construed as a motion
of want of confidence in the Government. Aid he ridiculed
it properly, because it is a val known paran Pyra,
1286
COMMONS DEBATES.
tice, known to no one botter than himself, that a motion of
this kind is net necessarily one of want of confidence in the
Government. It is not a motion of want of confidence unless
the Government ohoose to make it se. It would not bave
been se on this occasion if the right hon. gentleman had
net made it so ; and if he has made it so, if he has laid
it down as a policy so toregard it, it is for the reason that ho
wishes to have the motion defeated, that ho does not want
an open expression of opinion upon it by his friends, as well
as those on this side. Ile las called upon the loyalty of
his friends and backers to vote down this motion, although
some of them, as we have already had proof, will give
that vote, feeling at the same time full sympathy with the
opinions expressed in the resolation. So, Sir, I say that
pretext is worn ont. Now, my hon. friend who preceded
me certainly made one very important admission,
and one which I think he honestly made. He
told us the Sonate were not in harmony with
the opinions of the people of Canada. That is what we
have been contending all this afternoon and for years back.
That is what we believe to be the fact-that the Senate are
not in harmony with the views of the people, and that,
when an election comes round and the views of the people are
expressed in the shape ofan election of members to this House,
it will turn ont that the Senate is not in p litical harmony
with this House either. Both the hon. gentlemen who bave
preceded me have referred to the motion carried in this
House in 1875, affirming this principle, and almost in the
identical words of the motion now before u3. But attention
bas not been called to the fact that in 1873 a similar motion,
almost in the same words, was proposed and defeated; that
almost immediately after that Session there was a’issolution
of the House, and that, although that question of the
Sonate was not a leading issue at that election, becanse it
was overshadowed by the great issue of the Pacifie scandal,
yet the new House that was elected affirmed by a nonpartisan
vote the very principle which the members who
sat here in 1873 had rejected. So we see that after
this matter had been discussed in Parliament, after there had
been an election, in which no doubt, this issue went for
something, after a new House came back. the principle was
affirmed. Yet I think my hon. friend for Bothwell (Mr.
Milis) and his colleagues were quite right in not pressing
that principle into action until there was an opportunity to
make it an issue at the elections. That opportunity did not
occur. The issue was again overshadowed by one of those
waves of popular enthusiasm which my hon, friend from
Bruce referred to, the infatuation about the National Policy,
and we have had no election tried squarely upon this issue
yet. But I approve of the conduct of the Liberal Government
of that time in postponing action as they did. If the
present Government had seen fit to follow their wholesome
example, and postpone the making of an infinitely more
radical and revolutionary change which tbey did make last
year in the representative institutions of our country,
they would have gone much further towards performing
their duty as responsible Ministers and representatives of
the people. Now, the hon. Minister of Marine did make use
of some arguments in the course ofhisremarks,most of which
I think have been disposed ofby my lon. friend from Prince
Edward Island (Mr. Davie).* That hon. Minister asks, how
are we te get a non-partisan Sonate ? Would a Sonate
eteeted by the people be less partisan than the present ?
We never contended that it would be. What we have been
eontending is that the Sonate should be in harmony with
the people. If tho people are partisan, if they are strongi
on one side, se should the Senate be, and so should be the
House of Commons; if there are net strong party lines
among the people, the Sonate should reflect that state of
thinge. What we claim is that the Sonate should represent
the pwp1e.*hether they are partisan or no*; aid I am
aai il wM»t be non-partiaam nil thsaife xh itin doôe
when party lines will disappear altogether. The hon. gentleman
said that the House of Lords were more subject to fthe
ruling party than the Sonate. Of course it is in one ssoe,
though it cannot be said that it is more docile-I have to thank
my hon. friend f rom Brant (Mr. Paterson) fbr the word-in
support of any Government than the Sonate is in support
of this Government. But we al remember the case which
has been allnded to more than once, of the great heform
Bill, which the ouse of Lords would undoubfedly have
continued to oppose had it not been for the fear that the
Tory majority in that House would be swamped by the ele.
vation of others to the peerage. That is one of the wholesome
checks which exist in England upon the action of the
House of Lords. It is because the Government of the day
can bring this check to bear upon political opponents
holding hereditary seats, that the Hoeuse cf Lords is
less dangerous to constitutional liberty than the Sonate
of Canada; for if it undertook to show open and dogged
defiance to fthe Government of the day, it would be swamped
by the elevation of the friends of liberty to the peerage.
The Sonate of Canada is dangerous to liberty, because the
Government of the day, which represents the people, cannot
in any way prevent it obstructing, if it choses, any
legislation that Governmont may carry through the popu.
lar louse, and any such obstacle in the way of legislation
is dangerons to popular liberty. The comparison in other
respects between the Sonate and the House of Lords is one
for which I think the members of our Upper Chamber will
not thank the leader of this louse. If thore is anything
calculated to bring ridicule on our worthy friende in that
Chamber, which I would be far from doing, it is the
attempt to institute such a comparison. We have the greatest
respect for the individuals composing our Upper Cfiamber,
whom the leader of the House called, in his amusing aud
humorous way, life peers; we have great respect for them
personally, respect for their abilities, and often respect for
their action; but it is the most unkind thing possible to
ask this House to institute any comparison between that
body and the English House of Lords. We ail know that
the English House of Lords represent a distinct interest;
that the constitution of England has been dual from the
first, one body representing the great land interest, land
holders and aristocrats, and the other body representing
the people, and that the ouse of Lords was not mnatituted,
as our louse was, for the purpose of acting as a check on
the other body. Both bodies naturally constituted the Parliament
of the realm, representing the different classes of
the community. No such reason existed for the creation
of a Brummagem louse of Lords in Canada. As a matter
of fact, the Sonate, as constituted from the firt, lias
merely been a means of pensioning off those mcmbers
of the party in power who have been unable
or have not taken the trouble to find seats in
the popular assembly, and a means of finding a seat
for adMinister when it has not been convenient to open a
constituency and send him back for elction; it has been
used for these purposes entirely, and I think it en.
not be pretended that the appointments, as a rule,
have been made with any reference to the calm, judiciul
character of the appointees4 If we took the thorough-
]y Tory view of my friend from North Bruce (M.
MoNeill), that it is necessamy to check and hinder the
will of the people as expressed in the Lower Hlouse, thon
these appointiments might seem to be made with regard to
the fitness of things; but looking on them as a body of men
supposed to be so superior in political training and
knowledge, and in impartiality, to the members of this
flouse, that they have a right to revise our legislation, and
throw it out if it does not seem good to them, I think it
cannot be pretended that the appointments have been made
with a view to the fitnemÀ of Ie parties à4pointed. My
hu. friod fm Bruce (Mr. cill) aserted that nobody
1886. 1287
OMMONS DEBATES. MÂT 14,
on this side of the House had grappled with the hon.
Premier’s argument that an elective Sonate had been tried
before in Canada, and had been found to bo a failure. We
didnotgrapple with that argument because thore was no such
argument. There wasan assertion made by the bon. Premier
that the experiment had been such a failure as to disgust
Mr. George Brown with the principle of an elective Sonate,
an assertion which was immediately shown to be glaringly
incorrect, because Mr. George Brown had always been a
consistent opponent of an elective Sonate. But we never
did have an elective Sonate. The old Legislative Council
was partly composed of elective members; but I think we
are all old enough to remember that the nominative members
were not turned out to make way for them, and that
there was always a large leaven of nominative members
along with those who had been elected. Thon again, Sir, as
to the actual failure or success of the experiment. If the
Hon. George Brown was right for once, as the hon. First
Minister has told us, the right hon. First Minister must have
been wrong, because le was a supporter of the principle
which ho says Mr. Brown opposed; and, in practice, I think,
Mr. Brown’s contention was maintained by the facts, rather
than the contention of the First Minister. No doubt in the
earlier years during which elective members sat in the
Sonate, that body dei make one or two attempts to deal with
money Bills, but they very soon found out their mistake. The
point was given up; and had we an elective Sonate for fifty’
years, it is not probable that this demand would be over repeated.
There were no signs of it for years before Confederation,
and I do not remember the sligb test expression of opinion
of any considerable number of electors in favor of the
return to the nominative system. The great bulk of Canadians
were surprised, and more than surprised, to find that we had
gone back to the middle ages for our plan to constitute a
second Chamber. The Premier says that the plan of an
elective Sonate is incompatible with responsible government.
I suppose the hon. member for Bruce (Mr. McNeill),
would call that another argument. But the right hon. gentleman
gave no reason, I presume because there is no reason,
for the assertion. I cannot imagine any reason why an
elective Sonate should be incompatible with responsible
government. If there is, I hope some hon. gentleman will
give it to us before the debate is over, but at present
we have only the bare assertion to deal with. It is
a fact that responsible government did exist for a
number of years in Canada with a Sonate in part
elective, and which it was intended to make wholly elective.
I take the other side, and argue that the existence of’
a nominative Sonate is utterly inconsistent with responsible
and representative institutions, because it is a standing
and irremovable obstacle in the way of carrying out the
will of the people. Thon the Premier said there was no
popular agitation in favor of this motion, there were no
petitions and so on. Well, the hon. member for Lanark
(Mr. Jamieson) bas told us what view the tomperance
people take of the action of the Sonate; ho bas told us thut
they have no confidence in the Sonate. We did not need
to hear that from the hon, gentleman, because we remember
that at all the meetings of temperance associations since
the action of the Sonate last year, and at many of the meetings
of the clergymen of different churches, resolutions
were passed declaring the people had no confidence in the
Sonate, and that the constitution of that body should be
changed. Nay more, we had petitions from the temperance
associations laid before the House, in which the same sentiments
were enunciated, so that the House is well informed
of the sentiment of the temperance people, and of the
fact that there bas been and is a strong agitation throughout
the country in favor of a change. Thus the hon.
gentleman’s plea that there is no agitation falls to the
ground, in face of the fact given by one of his own
supporters that there exista An agitation, and a powerful
Mr. CAsr.
one, in favor of a change. We are charged with not having
a definite plan to propose. I think it was the Minister of
Marine made that charge. Well, I think the principle is
as clearly and definitely laid down in the resolution as it
could be. It wonld have been absurd for us to propose a
definite detailed plan, involving all the machinery for electing
the Sonate, as a motion in amendment to the motion to
go into Supply, and that just for the sake of trying to satisfy
the Minister of Marine. Had we done that, we would have
earned the reprobation of the country and justified the allegations
of those who say such a resolution should not be
brought up on the present occasion. The proposition is
clear and definite, as to principle, and if the House should
adopt it it will be the duty of the Government to work
out the details. There is room for difference with regard to
detail. There is room to argue in favor of election of the
Sonate by the Local Parliaments or by direct appeal to the
people. I do not pretend to discuss these details, but I
say the vast majority of the people, Liberal and
Conservative, believe that some change is needed in order
to do away with this clique of irresponsible life peers as I
may call them, who form the Senate of Canada-not to do
away with them in a personal sense, but to do away with the
presont constitution of that body, and give us a second
Chamber, if we are te have one at ail, which will be responsible
to the people. Some of the arguments would lead us
to believe there is no use for the Chamber at all. The
Minister of Marine and Fisheries used a strong argument in
that direction when ho said the Senate need not discuss
matters of legislation because they are fully discussed here.
If the government would leave this an open question, and
give their supporters liberty to ascertain the feelings of
their constituencies, I am certain this resolution would be
carried by a considerable majority.
Mr. WOOD (Brockville). The hon. member for Bothwell
(Kr. Mills), is asking us to do something which needs a
great deal of explanation beforo it can receive the sanction
of this House. I am glad the Opposition have brought this
matter forward, but 1 regret that they should have brought
it forward as an amendment to the motion to go into Supply.
I regret this, not because I approve of the prineiple of an
elective Sonate, for I do not, but because I would like to see
scope given for a fuller and freer expression of the opinion
of the House, which would be given were the resolution
brought forward as a substantive motion. The hon. member
for Brant (Mr. Paterson), has evidently been m4king a
mental caricature of the Sonate, and some of his inferences
are not only amusing but very misloading. He asked for a
change on the principle that it was needed on the ground
of economy. The hon. gentleman knows that in the country
there is no stronger principle youe can go to the people upon
than any principle involving economy, but it was most
remarkable that ho should first give us the cost of the Sonate
during last Session and the preceding Sessions, but not tell
us, what every hon. gentleman must know, that it the Senate
were made elective it would add to the expenditure of the
country. I do not think an election to the Sonate could be
carried on for much less than the expense involved in the
election of members to this House; so that, upon the principle
of economy, the motion i. a failure. The people would
have to pay more for an elective Sonate than for the Sonate
as at present constituted. There is another principle enunciated,
and that is that the Sonate, as at present constituted,
is not responsible to the people. We all know that it was
designed the Sonate as at present constituted should not be
responsible to the people in the sense in which hon. gentlemen
opposite endeavor to use the term. We know that with a
Sanate elected by the people, placed to some extent-to what
extent we do not know, because the resolution only asks us to
formulate the principle of an elective Senate-above this
.Rouse, we would have one body elected, the outoome of the
1288
0OMMONS DEBATES.
popular will sitting in judgment over another body,
ivhich is also the outcome of the popular will. No such
anomaly exists in any country in the world, or could
exist consistent with the legislation of the country’s affairs.
Now, so far ais the independence of the Sonate is concerned,
it seems to me that, whenever the Sonate does aet,
it is blamed, and, if it does not aet as often as hon. gentle.
men opposite seem to think it should, it is blamed also.
I do not think the Senate has interfered with any measure
passed by this fouse this Session without its being abused
by the .Reform press of this country. But, a day or two
ago, it saw fit not to give its sanction to a Bill which had
received the sanction of the majority of the members of
this House. I myself voted against the principle of the
Bill introdnced by my hon. friend from Hamilton (Mr.
]Robertson), though it received the votes of a majority of
the members of this louse; but, because the Sonate did
this, it is abused by the Reform press of this country. If
we cannot agree with the Sonate when it negatives the
action of the majority of this House, it is not for the press
to abuse it because It exorcises one of the functions of its
creation in doing so. Take the case of my hon. friend from
North Lanark, the very ground upon whicb, if this were a
substantive motion, ho would support it to.night, that
last Session the Sonate added on the well-known amendment
to the Bill which ho introduced in this House. I
understand it to be one of the functions of that
body, that, if this House is compelled, owing to
the strength of a popular wave passing over the country to
pass legislation here which in our judgment we may not
approve of, one of the duties of the Sonate is to check that
until the time that it becomes an assured fact that the
popular will is right. It is just possible that the wave of
temperance which is going over the country may not lat.
If so, do not blame the Sonate for what it did, though you
may disagree with it, though you may find it inconvenient
in the mean time, but in that set the Sonate was simply discharging
one of its well known functions. So far as the Sonate
being independent is concerned, we have heard to-night that
it cannot be independent of the man who croates it. It
seems to me that hon. gentlemen give hon. members
of the other House but very little credit for honesty
and for intelligence. It seems tome that the hon. member
for North Lanark (Mr. Jamieson), the hon. member for
West Elgin (Mr. Casey), and all who have preceded him
might as well say, when the First Minister recommends
the appointment of a judge to the bench, that hoecannot be
independent but must subvert his position, and remain the
tool, if ho ever was the tool, of the First Minister because
ho appointed him. I think the case is analogus, and there
is one fact of which I wish to remind hon. gentle.
mon, and that is there is no doubt that a good deal
of. the opposition that they now manifest to the Senate
is owing to the fact that the Sonate is at the present
time so largely composed of men whose politics are in
unison with the majority of this House. I say tbere is no
doubt of that; there is none in my mind. I may be wrong,
but I give my reason why I make that statement. During
the five years Mr. Mackenzie was in power, we saw not one
honest effort made to alter the constitution of the Sonate,
if we except the effort which waa made by the hon. member
for Bothwell (Mr. Mills), which proved abortive, and for
which ho got roundly abused by his own friends. During
that time Mr. Mackenzie made many appointments to the
Sonate, and I wish to point out that, if the general elections
of 1878 ad resulted in the retention of Mr. Mackenzie and
his party in office, Vhe Sonate to-day, with the number of
vacancies that have since occurred, would be of a political
complexion, different from what it is now. So that you see
the lapse of time will undoubtedly cure the very evil of
which these hon. gentlemen complain and will remove one of
their Chiefobstacles to the prosent oonstitution of the Sonate.
It may be that the hope of altering the political complexion of
the Sonate in this regard is a forlorn one. It is not
for me to speak as to that; that question will be decided
by the people. But I do say that, if the Sonate were made
elective, as is proposed, I fail to see how, by any method
that I have ever been able to hear or to concoeive, it could
be made practicable. If hon. gentlemen opposite would
take up the question of the abolition of the Sonate as contradistinguished
from the election of the Sonate, I can understand
that there would be a great deal of force in what
they say as to the results; but to come to this House with a
simple principle, the principle of affrrming the election of
members to the Sonate, is one that this House ought not to
pass upon without the details, without the system, the plan
by which it is proposed to make this important change in
our constitution, being fully made known to this House.
What would be thought of Mr. Gladstone submitting to the
Englihh louse of Commons a simple resolution affirming
the principle of Home Rule, without going on and preeent.
ing, as he did, in a statesmanlike way-however much we
may disapprove of it-his scheme for the government of
Ireland ? For these reasons I shall oppose the motion of the
hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Mills).
Mr. FISHER. I am glad to see that the hon. member
who has just sat down bas really come ont squarely and
fairly in favor of an irresponsible Senate. Hoesays that
he doos not desire to see a Sonate in any sense or in any
way responsible to the people. There is a little difference
of position botween that hon. gentleman and what I understood
to bo some of the remarks of the right bon. the leader
of the Government. I understood the right hon. the leader
of the Government to say that the Sonate was in sympathy
with the people of the country, that, because it was in
sympathy with him and he was supported by the majority
of the people of this country, it was thereforeo evident that
the Senate itself was in sympathy with the majority of the
people of the country. I do not care just now to point out
the fair conclusion which a juxtaposition of the hon. gentleman’s
argument with that of his supporter and friend from
North Lanark (Mr. Jamieson) would lead to, bocause the
hon. member for North Lanark said clearly and distinctly
that the Sonate was not to-day in sycnpathy with the
majority of the people of the country. Perbaps I might be
tempted to draw the conclusion that the right hon. the leader
of the Government was not to-day in sympathy with the
people of the country, but I leave that for these two hon.
gentlemen to fight eut between themselvos. There are two
main divisions of this question in regard to the Sonate, and
one which the hon. member for Bruce (Mr. McNeil) brough t
forward, I think the one which seems to influence the
majority of the gentlemen on the other side of the louse, I
mean in defending the Sonate because of its being an imitation
of the English House of Lords. I think that, in this
argument, the hon. gentleman has entirely misconceived
the original object of the Senate in this country and
he has certainly entirely misconcoived the present
state of the Sonate. As I understand, those who dealt
with the British North America Act and formed our
Confederation did not form our Sonate upon the model of
the English House of Lords. As I understand, the gentlemen
wlio did that work, they created the Sonate for the
express purpose of being a balance between the greater and
the lesser Provinces of this country and for the purpose of
defending and protecting the rights of the minor Provinces.
But, Sir, supposing the Sonate had been intended for a
model of the English House of Lords, I am sure nobody
who knows anything about the two Chambers but must
see what a perfect travesty the Sonate is upon its original.
The Sonate is in no sense the representative of a class; I
say so, not because there is a class in this country which
the Sonate might represent, if there were such a claus
iss. 1289
1200 COMMONS DEBATE8. M 14
certainly the Sonate could not be said te represent it, but IAceounta I findithoro le an average of sernthi.g 11ke
am happy to know that in this country there are no classes, 4130,000 a year epent upon the Sonate by it»14fand 1 find
in thib country we are intensely and inovitably democratie, thoro le aise a portion of the.generai #xponditiireonected
and there is no class of people whe possesses an undue in- with the publie buildings at Ottawa, ‘wlieh, mddod te that
fluence in the government of the country. The English sum, I think I am safe in saying would &Mount te 4200e000
House of Lords did demand and obtain a share in the gov- a year. New, I believe that the Sonate ie net necessary; I
ernmont of the country at a time when a privileged class elieve the.ameunt of work which our Senate bas acomwas
able te impose itself upon the people and to assert its pliehed, or whieh an elective Sonate might aoo plish,
right to a large share in the Government; but in this coun- would net be a fair quivalent for this expondituro. When
try there is no such class, and no second Chamber is needed I think that, upon a moderato compution, tue oxpense
te represont it. The right hon. leader, in his reply te the reprosents an intoreet upon 84,000,000; when I belove that
hon. member for Bothwell, seemed to indicate that the by the roval ef the Sonate we could oloar off se much of
latter was proposing, as a substitute for our prosent Sonate, our publie debt, and reduce our aunual expendituro, I am
something in the form of the American Sonate. I do net onvined that the geod the Sonate le deing tokday, or that
se understand the motion, and [ do net think there isit le ever likety te do, le net equivalent te thât expendituro.
any hon. gentleman on this side of the louse who desires The First Minister said ho did net think the Sonate
te introduce into our country that portion of the American was of aDy groat use, but ho pointed out that it was
constitution. Here we have an execative government doing no harn. I think the hon, gentleman whe moved
directly responsible te the Parliament of the country, the resolution had pointod eut that the Sonate je
while in the United States they have an executive which islikely te do a great doal of harinioertain oireumnot
se responsible. The House of Representatives and the stances. Instances have been brought forward where
Sonate have certain executive functions which are specially the Sonate bas opposed the wilt of the people. I was
delegated te them, but which I do net think any Senate, eupri8ed te hear the Minister ef Marine and Fiehories
whether appointed or elected, could possibly possess in thisdefonding the existence of the Sonate in ita present form.
country. The hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat I can quito uuderstaud that, as a Ministere ho woudd net b.
bas net fairly represented our position when hoesuggested prepared te accopt that motion, but I was surprisod te bear
that we on this side of the louse are opposed te the Sonate him eay that the Sonate did ne harniand that, as a mattor
because the Sonate is opposed te us. I do net think that isoffset, it wns net neoessary fer the Sonate te diseuse the
the feeling of anyone on this side, or that it influenced the Acte whicb cou”ebefere it freinthie fouse. I think the
hon. member for Bothwell in any way. We believe that meet important instance whieh bas occerred ln the hietory
the Sonate is a menace to the rights and privileges of the ef the Sonate whore thst body hus bon an iury te the
people, and we believe that it does net matter one whit country snd opposed the wili of the peepte, je #hon il put
whether the Senate be in sympathy with one party or the an impediment in the way of tempernnogisiatie., and I
other, because it is just as liable to oppose the behests of wa8 surprised te hear the Miniete of Marine overleokiug
the people when one party is in power as the other. It is tint fact lu hie defeuco of the Sonate. Sir, 1 think the.hon.
true that in consequence of the fact that bon. gentlemen gentlemen who have opposed tus motion to-uight have net
opposite have held the reins of power for the greater part really undertaken te defeui the preseut constitution of the
of the time since Confederation, their party is more Sonate, they have enîy tried te peint eut what might
largély represented in the Senate than ours. As a rule b. the possible weakuess in an eleotivo Sonate.
gentlemen who are appointed te the Soate, no matter They have onlv tried te peint eut that the hou. member
from which side of polities, are intensely partisan before for Bithwell (gr. Milîs) bas net or could not rerove the
they are appoin ted. They are chiefly appointed in conse. expense attendant on the 8enate if an elective Sonate were
quence of political services, and it is not in human nature enbstituted for the presont appointed Sonate. Iu Vis way
when men have worked for years through campaigu after hon, gentlemen have given evidence of theeeeity cf
campaign fer one political party, that they should be able eomthiug being doue. I am glnd te know thât tie hon.
immediately te divest themselves cf all political feeling and mêmber for Bothwell bas îveught tus question forward
act in a judicial and independent spirit. The hon, gentle- before the next eleotions, whenever they May cere. I
man bas alluded to the judiciary of the country, and bas understaud tus motion te mean that the Iiberal party of
asked why the senators ehould net be able te divest them- thie country be resolved te try and bring about a change
selves of their political feelings like the judiciary. Sir, it le in t e constitution of the. Sonate and, if they do se, iL le
a very different thing. The judiciary have not to deal with rigit te announo. tint poliey ou the foor ef Parliameut
political questions, they are net concerned in the political before going before the people. It je absurd te say that
warfare of the country; but tne senators are se concerned, tus 4ue8tion ma net been before the peopIt ha%, ou
and even though they may be independent of the people of several oceasiene, been disoused lunPa-liament and before
the country, they will stiU have te pass upon the acts and the country by many cf th. leaing members W the Liberal
legislation of the party which they opposed or which they party; aud I may toit the bon. leader ethe Governinnt,
favored before they became senators. The hon. gentlemen thongh ho may not know it, Lier. je a stueng feeling
opposite have pointed te the difficulties which might occur ln thoou&try tint the Sonate has outlived its uein
tie case of an elective Sonate. I am incline<1 te think fuinees and doea net aoeompl e purposo whieh the people cf this country will be able te overoome those it wu iutouded to acomplisi, and thet eau oEly difficulties; I am inclined to think that our statesmen woutd acooplish evil and noV goed. Aud this feeling wil b. be sufficiently wise and far-seeing to renove those diffiel- arousod and the attentionoetVe people wil be Lurued ties, were they te arise. But there is still a more radical Vewarde Vis matter by the motio of Lhe hon. menibr for way of cutting that Gordian knot, and one which 1 BothweIl (Mr. Mille) to-night. I think IL le probable from myself would favor, and that is the complote wiat bas dropped frei the leader of Lie (iovernment that abolition of the Sonate. I am quite prepared te support the chances are that the elections will Dot core ou the motion of the ion. momber for Bothwell bcauseimmediately, but that perhaps a year may intervene, and I think it a stop in the rigbt direction, but I would be1durjpg that tim4 the people wiIl heve an opportunity ef prepared myself, individually, te go much further than thinking ever tue subjeot be4ore Liey are calied upon te that, becane I would like te see the expeuditure inenrred ohooée thkr reprosoutativosin the next FaulameatIn #ér the iantenanoe of the Sonate removed fron the Publie co oeuing tematter they will tom* te theSaalon Aeoonuteof «ar oountry, la lookipg ovqr *»o ubN&bete pr.gotioieofithe uiem m r i t*w a Mr, hFim COMMON6 DEBATES. 12aE sound and just one, and one tbat wi meet with the beoasso if it:happened to pass lawa which would not be just approval of -the peeple of the country. I have therefore or beneficial to the country, the popular branch of the great pleasure i supporting this motion, although were I Legislature would be there to check it. From the standmyselfto hoose in the matter I would perhaps go a little point of Conservative principles, from the standpoint of farther and abolisb the whole thing, social order, in the nane of the Government, of the family, s o to speak, which the Conservative party tende to consoli- Mr.&AMYOT. (Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I deem it my date, both by the autonomy of the Provinces, and by due duty to explain the vote I am about to give on the impor- respect for the rights of each citizen, I object to the proposed tant question now under discussion. It is proposed by this innovation, and I very much fear that our friends opposite motion to change the mode of Appointment of senators, who desire to bring about this retrogressive measure, which and a blow is aimed at the basis of the present system. is at the same time a sacrifice to popular prejudices, I very When Confederation was accepted by the varions Provinces, much fear I say that this moasure will not bring the amount it was agreed that the senators would be appointed for life of support they expect from it. Let us make lasting laws. by the Crown. This was accepted in order to balance the Let us have due regard to whatever compacts may exist powers of the State. It was thon understood that at cer- between Provinces. We may, from time to time, differ on tain periods of crisis, at certain times of popular excite- fiscal policy; we may have different ideas on certain legisla. ment, the policy of the Lower flouse might be warped so tion, on various policies of management, but there are great as to seriously endanger the interests of the future, and it outlines which do not vary, and on which we can never was understood that such a body as the Sonate, who, seo to hold different opinions. Let us construe the federal compact speak, would only be responsible to their conscience and to in such a way as to derive from it the greatest profit for the their GQd, was necessary as a moderating power. To-day people, but let us not change the bases which have been it is proposed that popular passions should be called upon adopted by the different Provinces at the time of Confederato elect this second House, and to disturb the stability of tion. the established order of things. By the establishment of a Sonate appointed for life we were offered a guarantee Mr. LAURIER (Translation.) I do not desire to proagainst popular effervescence, against certain principles tract this debate, but I should like to point out to my hon. which might pnevail at a given moment, and imperil social friend from Bellechasse (Mr. Amyot), that h. bas misaporder, and at the saine time this measure propounded the preciated the principle of the resolution before the flouse. wise principles which preside over the laws of well gov- The principle of that resolution is not to abolish the Sonate, erned communities. The guarantees which were given to but simply to adopt another mode with regard to its constius ought to bu maintained. People are complaining to-day tution. 1 perfectly agree with all ho has said on the necesthat the great majority of the Senate is recruited among eity of a second flouse as a means of balancing the powers members of one distinct political stripe. Weil, tis is the ofbthe S.te. On that point I am as much a Conservative necessary consequence of the system which prevails in this as my hon. friend from Bellochasse, but he must see the country, but that does not prove that the system is bad. difference between having a Sonate which is not responsible The Grit or Liberal party, whatever we may choose to call to anybody whatever and a Sonate which ie responsible to it, having been in opposition for a long time, the the people. Al that my hon. friend from Bothwell asks is consequence je that they have been unable to appoint that the Sonate should bO constituted as to not ho, as it now senators, Let them obtain power and hold it for a long is, a perfectly irresponsible body whieh eau defy the power period through a wise policy, and thon the Sonate will be of the louse, set itsolf against ail legislation, and which can. corposed ef-more Liberals than Conservatives. Such is not be brought to change its opinion. Our constitution bas the working-ofparties. What i8 most important je that been compared to the English constitution. There je an the Sonate should always be composed of men appointed immenne difference between the tw. In England, the by a Government who are responsible to the people. Now, House of Lords is not irresponsible; if it sets itmelf against Mr. Speaker, what is the nature of the complaint ? It is legisiation, against the will of the country, there is a way of charged that the Sonate as refused to pass a law on tom- changing its opinion. Af4er ail, our constitution is a perance. Well, if there ie a reason which has, more than democratie constitution. The power which ought torule is any others, convinced me of the usefulness of the Sonate, the choice of the majority. I do not wish to say that it ie it is this same reason. I have no hositation in saying that always supreme wisdom which prevails, but everybody if the majority of this House passed a law for the absolute will admit that it is the majority which rules, while prohibition of strong liquors, it would simply b. an act of as regards the Sonate, under our constitution, it is weakness, a concession to prejudices, and a concession quite different. The Sonate is composed of a limited unworthy of our enlightened and intelligent House. It ie number whieh can never be increased ner dimini. perfectly known, that, espocially in northern countries, it ie shed. If the majority in this House enacts a law, impossible to prohibit the use of alouholic liquors; let the and if the Sonate refuses to adopt it, what is the traffc be regulated, let it be endeavored, through wise result? Under our constitution there is absolutely no legislation, to give good liquors to the trade; let light wines means of changing this state of things. In IEngland, there be introduced, and by degrees, two or three generations ie a remedy which lies in the Severeign's power. The hence, this appetite of the people for strong liquors will Sovereign himself has the right to add to the number of the disappear; but let it not b laid down as a principle, that House of Lords. It is a dangerous remedy, which has it le wise to deceive people and to secure their confidence never been applied to my knowledge, but it was very near through false measures. Quite recontly this House passed being applied. I do not remember just now whether it was a law for which I have muchireopect-arespect, whichmhow- at the time of the emancipation of Catholics, or in the case ever, would not involve the sacrifice of my convictions-to of the Reform Bill of 1832, but I know it was on one of allow people who do not believe in God to obtain the confid. these two questione-the Sovereign was very near adding a ence of judges, to influence the decision of cases wîth- certain number of persons to the flouse of Lords in order out taking their oath. The Sonate, very wisely refused to to restore harmony in that flouse. Well, Mr. Speaker, the sanction that law. The Senate may do a great deal of good, motion of the hon. member for Bothwell, has no other and it cannot do any harm. It may do good by checking object but to bring the Sonate to be more in harmony with our laws or giving the finishing touch, and during periods the popular branch. If it was a question of abolishing the of great popular effervescence, by putting back the car of Sonate, I would agree with the hon. member for Bellechae, the State on the right trak. It nt do any han, aud 1 would vote a 6 ainSt the motion of the ho, member 1292 COMMONS DEBATES. MAY 14, for Bothwell; but on this point, I muet make another action too. Thora was the action of a Ifishing" commission remark, which, I am sure will meet the approbation of ail that sat for weoks to try and find something on whichto the French members, and it is that an elective Sonate istrp the then Administration. One of the duties of the not at variance with Conservative principles, for it is a membors of that conmittoe was to examine the Kaminismeasure which has been urged for over fifty years by thetiquiaiRiver. Regardices of expense, one of therapur- French nationality. chased a bed-cord, hired a canoe and took isoundings ofthe river. Ono of the grave charges bronght against the Mr. FAIRBA.NK. I think the Sonate does not occupy Mackenzie Administration was in regard to squandor. the position it should occupy. The First Minister has several ing money on that iverand wrongly locating the ter. times alluded to the hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Mille) minus of the railway. Events have revenged the exas being exceedingly theoretical. In the matter of appoint- Premier. Whn I stood upon the same ground two years ments to the Sonate, the Premier has been politically ago, I saw six pile-drivers working day and night preparing eminently practical. Allusion has been made to the British the foundations for an immense elevator for the Canadian House of Peers. While our constitution is generally framed Pacifie Railway. A smal olevator had beon erected ut the on British principles, there are many things in which point where the opponents of the Mackenzie Administration the comparison is not a fair one. Even the popular branch claimed that the railway should trminate. Appropriations of that Logislature is to-day struggling with questions had bean nade to improvo that harbor to the extent of a which we have settled. I allude more particularly to the quarter of a million, but they found themselves under the question of Home Rule. The nation is exercised to a very necessity of adopting the view of those mon whose views great extent to-day, on this question, a question which we, as they condemned, and they are expending monoy to improve Canadians, have settled, and the right to which we would the navigation of the river, so that shipping may take not for a moment submit to be deprived of. It las beenadvantago of the natural position of the waters. One-sixth stated here, and I bolieve correctly, that the Sonate, in of the amount expendod in trying to place the harbor in the many instances, has been recruited from defeated candidates. wrong place, is now found adequato to ostablish a harbor The Minister of Marine and Fisheries bas particularly where nature intended it to ho. The Minister of Marine and alluded to this. Lot me refer to a single sample. It is Fishonies has tnied to defend theSonate, as ho doos ailGovabout twelve years ago that, at the foot of Lake Huron, ernment views. Re las statod that the rosolution is Iamy, a gunboat arrived in port with the Premier on board. nebulous and misty." Ho pronounced with groat emphasis, He landed amid the booming of cannon. There was to the injury I fear of lis knuckles upon lis dosk, that the a nomination going on. To his candidate he lent all Reforn party bas nover given to the people any direct, the power of his personal prestige, and advocated hie square issue. Welli I balieve the ion. gentleman is free candidature. He spoke vigorously. He spoke for one freinsucl a charge. 1 beliove ho went to bis conhour. His candidate was defeated by 600 majority. Had stituency with a cloar and distinct issue-independho spoken for one hour longer I think ho would have enco. We have seen the way it las been carried been defeated by twice that number. What was the first eut. One hou, gentleman opposite bas expresed regret act following that ? The represontative of the people came that the motion core in a foras whiohal cannot support, to the House and was soon called to lead tho Govern- although-hh is in favor of its pninciple. Ho admits te us ment. The defeated candidate was at once placed in that when ho obtains lis freedem, wien the daine are the Sonate. What was the chief act of the Sonate soon strieken from him and the party on this side oocupy the after ? Was it that of independence, that judicial posi. Trasury bondes, thon ho will ho glad to support tus meation which is claimed for it in theory ? By no means. If sure. We are glad to know where ho stands. Mach weight the theory was carried into practice in the selection of bas boon attached by the hon. member for Brockvîlle (Mr. members of the Sonate, and if the members of that body Wood) to the cost which would ho caused if the form of the acted independently and justly, the Sonate would possess Sonate is changd to an elective body, tss cost of holding very much more influence than it has to-day. It is stated the elections. Since when have gentlemen opposite boe that one of the objecte of the Sonate ie to check hasty logis-se auxions about the cost of elections? This is a recent idea lation. A Session or two ago we had an illustration of ths with thom. Last Session they wereremindod of the cost of checking of hasty legislation. In the last days of the Session, certain changes relating to elections, a cost which las since in almost its last hour, the celebrated McCarthy Act was been found to exoeed ail expectations. We har nothing of introduced, and its 100 sections were considered and passed ail that. Supposing it did ceet sonething we would get between Saturday evening and Tuesday morning. At 4 something for it. What are we getting now? We have o'clock that morning there were not half a dozen members had some discussion racontly about superannuation. To tic who were not asleep, and those who wero passing the goneral prineiple of superannuation thera may ho offered Bill moved about more like ghosts than representatives many objections-at ailavent£ to the manner in which it is of the people. The Bill went to the Sonate and workedout. Butas nowconstituted I believe tho u8efulthey passed it through without reading it, Thcnese of the Sonate is gone, and 1 think it would ho a great amendments were not .printed at all-it was passed economy in its prent form if wo were te superannuate as a more matter of form. And that is the way in which that body. hasty legislation is checked by that body. Subsequently, Mr. ARMSTRONG. Before the matter goos to a vote 1 the Sonate found time to pase an amendment to defeat and crave the indulgence of the bouse for about five minutes. kill a measure which had been introduced by the Sonate I intend to vote for the resolution cf tho hon. member for known as the Scott Act, and which the people in many Bothwell, not because I arn satisfled with it but simply sections were, by vast majorities, using. Such are some bocause it i@ a change, and, being a change, it muet ho for of the actions of the Senate. The First Minister has asked, the botter, because it cannot be for tic worse. I wisb.to why should we object ta the Sonate when it is doing ne go a stop further than the hon. member ton Bothwell. I harm ? That is the bast recommendation that can be given agro. with the Ion. meiner for Brome (Mr. Fisher) that it; and we are asked further to understand that tie the Sonate je a useless body and ouglt te ho abolishdmeaning of doing no harmn is, that it does not oppose that it is not only uselese but expansive. If any evidonce any act of this Government. That is what is meant by was required tint we in tus country are Wise enouglito doing no harm. When there was an Administration direct-goveru ourselvos by a single Ohamber, I think it lisbeen ing the affaire of this country adverse to the political feel- furnisîed by the example of the groat Province cf Ontario, ings of the Sonate, there was action then, strong, vigorous larctuuM ion too. Thee wa soh n g " commission COMMONS DEBATES. Chamber, and has never felt the least bad effect from it, or the least need for a second Ohamber. . The right hon. leader of the Government ploaded for a further lease of existence for the Sonate in its present form, and the only argument h. adduced that had any force was simply that it did no harm, and therefore, that it ought to be allowed to live. Well, Sir, it would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer to find any good it did, and doing noither good nor harm, I think the most reasonable and sensible hing to do is to abolish it altogether. I was suprised to hear the Premier say that our constitution was not founded or modelled on the federal principle but on the monarchieal principles of England and its constitutional principles. Now, it may be that ho meant that the framers of the constitution tried to model it in that way, but if they did, and if they thought the Sonate as now constituted was a reproduction of the House of Lords, they were miserably mistaken. It does not represent the louse of Lords in one single respect, except that it is not responsible to the people. If we want to find the constitution of the louse of Lords and compare it with our Sonate we have to go back to the time when the House of Lords first came into existence. I need not tell hon. gentlemen that the time was when there was no Parliament in Britain, when the king was supreme. But that sort of thing could not continue longer when there were men nearly as powerful in the country, and even more poweirful, thatn the king himseolf. The result was that the Lords tine and time again claimed a share of the government. They got what they wanted, and it was a good thing for the country in many respects, although in others not so good. Stil they succeeded in cstablishing thoir claim. That was the foundation of the fouse of Lords. It bas .come down to us modified, it is true, in many respects, but still the successors of the first barons of England. And we are told that in this new country of ours it was the intention of the framers of our constitution to model our Sonate on the House of Lords of England. Why, Sir, is it nt an absurdity, is it not an impudent thing, to say nothing of its grotesqueness for a young, struggling country like ours, scarcely 100 years old, to dig into the graves of by-gone years and array ourselves in the worm-eaten vestments of a thousand years ago ? But I deny that the Senate of Canada in anyway represents the House of Lords of Great Britain. The House of Lords has somo excuse for its existence in the past, but what reason have we for the existence of a Sonate now ? We all know that, as founded at first, the House of Lords represented the landed intereste of the country, and that it represents those interests still. Added to that, in some respects it represents the moneyed intereets of the country. I would ask if our Sonate is any parallel to it in oither of these two respects. If you take it as the representative of the landed interest, I am afraid that some of them would be able to say of themselves, in the language of Shakespeare, that they were: "Lords of their presence and no land buide." If yon take them as representing the moneyed interest, I am afraid some .of -them only represent the money they expended in helping to elect Government candidates. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries, as well as the leader of the Government, admitted that the Sonate was partisan, and claimed that it was right and proper it sehould be so. The Premier said : I represent the people of the country; my party has been elected by an overwhelming vote of the people of the country, and here the reprosentatives of the party in the Senate, in upholding me and in carrying out my views, are representing the views of the people of the country. That may be as long as the present Governmont remains in power. Bat how would it be supposing that in a year, or two, or thre., or four, or five years, when every man in that louse has been appointed for the sole and express 103 purpose of supporting the policy of the present leader of the Government, how would besuposing the other party came into power ? Whom would they be bound to represent thon? I am afraid they would just do as they have done in the past, endeavor to carry ont the views of the hon. gentleman to whom they owe their existence. I need not point out to hon. gentlemen that this was the case when thei Hon. Mr. Mackenzie was Premier of the Dominion. We al know that the Province of British Columbia had cause of complaint; that a solemn agreement with them had been violated; and when Mr. Mackenzie, with his usual honesty of purpose, attemptod to give that Province compensation, ho was baulked by the Sonate, no doubt at the express wish of the hon, gentleman who leads the Government now. But, Sir, we have been told by the right hon. leader of the Government that the Senate is a necessity for the defence of the rights of the different Provinces. Will any hon. gentleman on the other side be kind enough to point ont when the Sonate ever took sncb a stan:1? I appeal to hon. gentlemen, without fear of contradiction, to say if I do not speak the literal truth when I declare that instead of protecting the rights of the Provinces, there has never been an attempt made during the last half dozon years, by the party now in power-and there have been very many-to deprive the Provinces of their rights, when that Sonate came to the rescue of the Provinces. I defy hon. gentlemen to point out one single instance. What happened when the right hon. leader of the Government tried to grasp the licensing power from the Provinces ? If ever there was a dishonest attempt made to seize that which did not belong to the Government, that was the one. For seventeen years, the right of the Provinces to issue licenses had gone unchallenged; it was distinctly understood at the time of Confederation, that that right should belong to them; and yet, in order to advance some party purpose, in order to gratify a private pique against the Government of Ontario, the right hon. gentleman tried to grasp that power, at a grievous expense to this country, in money, besides loss of time and expense of energy by the Provinces in frustrating him.Did the Senate, thon, in any manner attempt to prevent the wrong that was being done to the Provinces ? It was a matter of notoriety that the Bill was rushed through the Sonate in a few minutes, without even being read; it was taken on trust. A friend suggests the Gerrymander Act, as another instance, one of the most infamous attempte on the liberties of the people that was ever made. In that case or in the case of the Franchise Bill, did the Sonate make any attempt to right the wrongs that were being done ? No, Sir. I believe the time is fast coming when a change will have to be made in the constitution of that body. It may have been modelled after the House of Lords; but one thing can be said of the House of Lords, that they are wise enough to comprehend the drift of public opinion. It is true, they sometimes show a disposition to resist popular will, but they have always sense enough to know when they have gone far enough, and to pause before comng into direct collision with the people; and if the time sould ever come a hen the louse of Lords shaHl try to obstruct the popular will, that day their doom is sealed and I for one would be ready to stand over the wreck, and say : "So perish all such relics of barbarism." It has been stated that the late Hon. George Brown was one of the most persistent advocates of an appointed Sonate. I know that ho was, and ho was a consistent advocate of it; ho was always opposed to an elective Sonate, and Sir, it was one of the mistakes of his life. We standing hore, now, responsible to the conntry, and to posterity for our acts, are we to be guided in our actions by the opinions of any man of the past-? No, perish the thought. It is our duty to do what we believe to be right. It is our duty, whonever we find anything that we consider defective, to endeavor in a constitutional way to 1886. 1298 1294 COMMONS DEBATES. MA 14, g et it corrected; and the motion of the hon. member for on account of his race or creed, but I protSt aainet a. Botb;twe4, although not everything I could wish, is a stop in officer of the lloue of Commone being pitohforked inte the that direotion, and I feel bond to give it my support. Sonate as a representative of the Province of NewBrunewick. If there were no other reason, that would ho sufficiont Mr. WELDON. I wish to say a few words on this ques-to make me favor the resolation of my hon. friand. There tion before the vote is taken. I do not think it necessary is anothor principlo with regard to tho Sonate, which bas to discusa what system shall be adopted. The question is been pointed out, and verifiod by the action of the hon. simply whether the present constitution of the Sonate mombor for Lanark (Mr. Jamieson). Ho las etatod that he answere the purpose which it was intended to answer. Hon. is in favor of the principle of the resolution, but bocause he members who made a comparison between it and the House puts party abovo principle ho le going ta vote against it. of Lords, forgot that the principle on which the Sonate is It isbeause the Senate put party above prinoiplo, thst created is entirely different from that on which the House I support thie resolution. of Lords is based. The House of Lords is hereditary ; its members tske their seats in it by virtue either of their Mr. DUPONT. (Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I muet conelevation to the peerage, which extends beyond life, or by gratulate the hon. membor for Est Quebec (Mr. Laurier) succession. But the principle of life peerages, the principle for having pronounced himeof in f4vor of tho Sonate. In on which Senators are appointed, is entirely opposed to that so doing ho agreea, not only with tho wholo Couservative on which te House of Lords is based, and it has been so party but also wiLh the immense majority of the population decided by them. When the late Baron Parke was appointed of bis Province. I have noticed duriug Lis debate that a peer for life, the House of Lords took the matter up, and soveral of the political friends of the hon. momber for Eut decided that life peerages should not ho created. One of the Quoboc do not hold the samo views as ho does with regard objections thon taken to these peerages was that they would to the Sonate. I have notic.d that the bon. member for enablea Ministry to swamp the House of Lords witti peers Brome (Mr. Fisher) has positively doclared that ho would appointed for life. So that when we compare the constitution vote in favor of the resolutions moved by the hon. member of the Upper Chamber of this Dominion with that part of for Bothwell, becanse these resoirtions were only a stop the Briish constitution, we find that they are utterly towarde the abolition of the Sonate. Another member of opposed to each other. The principl.e of our se.ond Chamber, the Opposition has declared that ho would vote for these I take it, is an entirely wrong principle. At the time of rosolutions because they would make the Sonate eloctive, Confederation the attempt was made to adopt the system in snd so would rendor it uselese, as ho did not see the noces. vogue in the Provinces, that of the Legislative Councils. sity of having two fouses elocted by the peoplo. In thie For 17 years that system has been tried, and I think thetho hon. member le perfectly consistent, and for my part I feeling of the country is that there should ho a change. do not see the nocessity of having two fouses ected by The right hon. Premier said no change should be made the people. And what guarantee would that afford to tho unless some wrong could be shown; but we know hon. membors who are uow complaining againet the policy that great and serious changes have been made in our con- of the Goverument and against certain measures whieh are stitution already. By the Gerrymander Act of 18t2, the con- preteuded to ho or really are cotralising measuros and stitution was changed, and 55 constituencies in the Province which have bean voted by tho Sonate during the two ist of Ontario were alteredi; and for that Act no reason was years? Would not the Franchise Bil have been voted by shown, nor was it claimed that any wrong was created by a fouse lectod by the people whoso would necosearily have the division made in the British North America Act itself. boon composod of Tories or of Conservatives from the Pro- The Franchise Act was another alteration in the constitu- vince of Queboc, for the Sonate haviug beau elected by the tion; and if the right hon. leader of the Govern. people at the sane ime as the membere of the fouse of ment has felt it necessary to make changes with regard

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