Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Manitoba Bill”, 1st Parl, 3rd Sess (10 May 1870)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 1st Parl, 3rd Sess, 1870 at 1493-1504.
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Tuesday, May 10, 1870
The Speaker took the chair at three o’clock.
Hon. Sir George—É. Cartier announced that Sir John A. Macdonald was progressing slowly but favourably.
PROVINCE OF MANITOBA BILL
The debate on the motion on concurrence in the Bill intituled: “An Act to amend and continue the Act 32 and 33 Victoria, chapter 3; and to establish and provide for the government of the Province of Manitoba” was then resumed.
Mr. Ferguson moved an amendment striking out the residence of one year requisite for qualification, as provided in the Bill. This was the same as that applied to the district of Algoma. They were about to send young volunteers into the district, and it was hoped that many of them would remain after the rebels had been put down. He thought that they ought to extend the same liberality to those men as was extended to settlers in the district of Algoma.
Hon. Sir George—E. Cartier said the intention of the Government in sending troops to Red River was not to swamp the voters there at the polls. It was said that an attempt would be made to do so, as had been done in the neighbouring Republic, where troops were sent f rom State to State to carry elections for the Government. He admired the United States in many things, but was not content to follow them in that matter. With regard to the Bill itself, it was the intention to give the vote to bona fide settlers. He called on his supporters, therefore, to oppose the amendment. It was not the intention of the Government to deprive settlers like Drs. Schultz, Lynch and others who might be obliged to leave the country for a time, of their votes, as the amendment proposed by the Government would show. The 16th clause as they desired to have it, was to the effect that every made subject of Her Majesty, 21 years of age and not subject to any legal incapacity, who within 12 months, previous to the day of election, had been a resident, though he might be absent for a time from the country, should have a vote.
Mr. Ferguson was pleased to see his hon. friend had provided for such cases as those of Drs. Schultz, Lynch, and other loyal refugees to give them the right of the franchise. He
denied that he desired to send volunteers into the Territory to control votes. What he really wished was that as soon as the rebellion was suppressed and matters settled that they might become bona fide settlers and should have the right to vote. He therefore insisted that any one of those men, who was an actual householder of a month, should have a right to vote, no matter what might be his nationality or creed.
Hon. Sir George—t. Cartier said the proposition of the Government was more liberal still. It only required a residence of twelve months while the amendment of his hon. friend demanded that the voters should be householders.
Mr. Bowell said the Bill provided for the first election only, and not for subsequent elections. Under the proposed measure of the Government the future emigrants to Manitoba would be at the mercy of old settlers with respect to the franchise. He was no advocate for universal suffrage, but he would like to see a more liberal policy pursued towards the settiers in the new country. He would like to refer to another matter. The Secretary of State for the Provinces had, in his speech yesterday, referred in most insulting terms to the loyal people of the Territory, and at the same time he undertook the defence of Riel and his followers. The hon. member had the impudence to ask the House to support a Government of which a man expressing such sentiments was a member. Then the hon. member had gratuitously undertaken the defence of that meek and lowly priest, Father Ritchot, who had done more than any other man in the Territory to prevent the entrance of the hon. member for North Lanark into the Red River country. Messrs. Scott and Bannatyne had also been defended by the hon. member for Hants; but not a word was said about the fact that the same fair fingers which had written the certificate of good character for the hon. member had also woven the Fenian flag that was hoisted at Fort Garry. He considered it due to loyal gentlemen who had been driven from Red River, mainly through the influence of the hon. member for Hants, to rise and make that protest against the insults which had been heaped on them.
Mr. Young hoped the House would provide that every British subject in Manitoba should have a vote at the first election held there. If the clause proposed by the Government should pass, all who went there last year and this spring would be deprived of the right of franchise. He put it to the sense of justice and fairness of the House, and insisted that settlers going to Manitoba, who should be householders
[Mr. Ferguson-M. Ferguson.]
there for one month before the first election, should have a right to cast their vote.
Hon. Mr. Dunkin denied that the amendment proposed by the Government was a concession. It was simply expressing more clearly than before what they always intended to do. He referred to the troubles in Kansas and Nebraska as the natural result of the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Cardwell.
Mr. Mills—Squatter sovereignty, the very thing you proposed.
Hon. Mr. Dunkin denied that such would be the effect of that Bill, but if one month’s residence were to be a qualification, then the Territory might be swamped by American citizens.
Mr. Mills said that was easily provided against by giving a vote to naturalized British subjects only who had never become naturalized citizens of the United States. While the House should take such steps as would confirm the present occupants of Manitoba in their rights, they should also guard against doing injustice to new settlers from other parts of the Dominion. It would be unfair and unwise to deprive Canadians who should settle in a new Province of political rights which they possessed in the Province they had left. There was no doubt that the population would more than double before the second election, so that members chosen at the present election would soon cease to represent the population with the exception of the minority that had elected them. The hon. Minister of Militia surely was not afraid of emigrants from Quebec being less fit to exercise political rights in Manitoba than in the Province they had left.
Mr. Bellerose in French defended the character of Ritchot, and denounced Mr. Bowell’s irreverent mode of speaking of the clergy.
Mr. Bowell, in reply, said he was prepared to denounce a rebel no matter what his position, creed, or nationality might be. If the hon. member for Bellechasse wished to uphold his clergy in treason, he (Mr. Bowell) would not spare them even though he might in doing so hurt the over-sensitive feeling of the hon. member.
Mr. Fortier, in French, also defended the Catholic clergy from the attacks of the member from Ontario, and spoke in strong terms against the Military movement against the half-breeds.
Mr. Bodwell said the employment of a great many residents in Manitoba was such that they could not be householders, and, consequently, while he agreed with the hon. member for Cardwell, he went further, and would move that any bona fide settler, resident in the Province one month previous to the election should be entitled to vote.
Hon. Mr. Holton had supported the Bill so far, believing it to be most liberal in its character, and one which they would not have attempted last Session, and not even this Session, but for the Democratic revolution which had taken place in the interval. He considered the amendment proposed by Mr. Bodwell was in consonance with the wide liberal and democratic principle of the Bill, and consequently he would vote for it.
Hon. Sir George-E. Cartier said that was simply universal suffrage, and calculated to drown out the half-breeds.
Mr. Mackenzie said the amendment of the Government was simply universal suffrage for those who had been in the Territory twelve months previous to the election. Now that term was too long. In the neighbouring States every male resident of the age of 21 had a right to vote. While he did not approve such universal suffrage as that, he believed that in their new Province they should be as liberal as their neighbours-and give those who had been residents there one month previous to the election the right of voting.
Mr. Rymnal wished to know if the clause allowed loyal refugees to vote when they returned to Manitoba and met with the approval of the Ambassadors of Louis the First. (Hear) It seems that all the rest of the Bill was submitted to them before it had been presented to the House. That was one of the provisions of the Bill. But was any provision made for the disqualification of those who had imprisoned and murdered loyal men in the North-West? Far different was the treatment which the rebels had received at the hands of the Government in ’37. When he was young he remembered when rebels were brought in with ropes round their necks. They were never consulted or treated with until some of them had been strung up and the rest brought into the most abject submission. But now his hon. friend the mover of the Bill, seemed to have forgotten it was he and his compatriots in the rebellion of ’37 who were not treated with and requested to send delegates to the British Government in order to make known their wants and wishes, and never till some of them were strung up and
[Mr. Fortier—M. Fortier.]
all subjected did the British Government send out Lord Durham to enquire into the cause of the rebellion. Then did the Ambassador tell them they were justified in resisting the Family Compact. But the British Government had changed its tactics between the rebellion of ’37 and ’70. Strange that a difference between latitude and longitude should bring about that change. He could not understand it, but it appeared to him there was behind the throne some power that was yet to make its appearance.
A vote was taken on Mr. Bodwell’s amendment, and it was lost by yeas, 35; nays, 83.
Yeas—Messrs. Ault, Bodwell, Bolton, Bowman, Brown, Connell, Currier, Dobbie, Holton, Macdonald (Glengarry), Mackenzie, Magill, McConkey, McDougall (Lanark), McMonies, Metcalfe, Mills, Morison (Victoria North), Oliver, Perry, Redford, Ross (Dundas), Ross (Prince Edward), Ross (Wellington, C.R.), Rymal, Scatcherd, Scriver, Snider, Stirton, Thompson (Ontario), Wallace, Wells, White, Wright (York, Ontario, W.R.) and Young.-35.
Nays—Messrs. Archambault, Archibald, Beaty, Beaubien, Béchard, Bellerose, Benoit, Blanchet, Bourassa, Bowell, Brousseau, Burton, Cameron (Peel), Campbell, Carling, Caron, Cartier (Sir G.-E), Cartwright, Casault, Cayley, Chamberlin, Chauveau, Cheval, Cimon, Costigan, Coupal, Crawford (Brockville), Daoust, Dorion, Drew, Dufresne, Dunkin, Ferguson, Forbes, Fortier, Fortin, Gaucher, Gaudet, Gendron, Gibbs, Godin, Gray, Hincks (Sir F.), Holmes, Howe, Huot, Hurdon, Jackson, Jones (Leeds and Grenville), Keeler, Killam, Kirkpatrick, Lacerte, Langevin, Langlois, Lawson, McDonald (Lunenburg), McDonald (Middlesex West), Masson (Soulanges), Masson (Terrebonne), McDougall (Trois-Rivières), McKeagney, Merritt, Morris, Morrison (Niagara), O’Connor, Pelletier, Pinsonneault, Pope, Pouliot, Pozer, Ray, Read, Renaud, Robitaille, Ryan (King’s, N.B.), Savary, Shanly, Stephenson, Tilley, Tremblay, Walsh, and Willson.—83.
Mr. Ferguson’s amendment was lost by yeas, 41; nays, 76.
Yeas—Messrs. Ault, Bodwell, Bolton, Bowell, Bowman, Brown, Connell, Dobbie, Drew, Ferguson, Holmes, Jones (Leeds and Grenville), Macdonald (Glengarry), McDonald (Lunenburg), Mackenzie, Magill, McConkey, McDougall (Lanark), MeMonies, Merritt, Metcalfe
Mills, Morison (Victoria North), Munroe, Oliver, Perry, Redford, Ross (Dundas), Ross (Prince Edward), Ross (Wellington, C.R.), Rymal, Scriver, Snider, Stirton, Thompson (Ontario), Wallace, Wells, White, Willson, Wright (York, Ontario, W.R.), and Young.—41.
Nays—Messrs. Archambault, Archibald, Beaty, Beaubien, Béchard, Bellerose, Benoit, Blanchet, Bourassa, Brousseau, Burton, Cameron (Peel), Campbell, Carling, Caron, Cartier (Sir G.-E.), Cartwright, Casault, Cayley, Chamberlin, Chauveau, Cheval, Cimon, Costigan, Coupal, Crawford (Brockville), Daoust, Dorion, Dufresne, Dunkin, Forbes, Fortier, Fortin, Gaucher, Gaudet, Gendron, Gibbs, Godin, Gray, Hincks (Sir F.), Holton, Howe, Huot, Hurdon, Jackson, Keeler, Killam, Kirkpatrick, Lacerte, Langevin, Langlois, Lawson, McDonald (Middlesex West), Masson (Soulanges), Masson (Terrebonne), McDougall (Trois-Rivières), McKeagney, Morris, Morrison (Niagara), O’Connor, Pelletier, Pinsonneault, Pope, Pouliot, Pozer, Ray, Read, Renaud, Robitaille, Ryan (King’s, N.B.), Savary, Shanly, Stephenson, Tilley, Tremblay, and Walsh.—76.
Hon. Mr. McDougall moved in amendment to the 16th clause that no person arrested for any felony shall be entitled to vote.
Mr. O’Connor would not say whether he was in favour of the substance of the motion proposed by the hon. member for North Lanark, but he was surprised to find that there should be such a difference between it and the one proposed by that gentleman yesterday, which only defined persons who were ineligible to act as members of the Legislature.
At 6 o’clock the House rose for recess.
PROVINCE OF MANITOBA
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier then resumed the debate on Hon. Mr. McDougall’s amendment on the Manitoba Bill. With regard to the Legislative Assembly provided by the Bill, it must be placed on the same footing as the Legislatures held in other Provinces, neither at Quebec nor at Toronto had any one dared to prescribe rules for those Assemblies, but a different course was proposed by the hon. gentleman with regard to Manitoba. Why did not the hon. member state his reasons for doing so? The true reason was that some persons, who might have been mixed up in the late or local disturbances, should be prevented from the opportunity of election. The hon. member had pronounced his own condemnation, for at the end of the letter read last night he said, “You have placed me in the position of a felon,” and he complained of his treatment by the Government. The laws in the Territory were of a mixed character, the criminal law of England being the law there to a greater extent than here, and any one who had been concerned in the illegalities committed there had to be tried by those laws. There would be arrests on both sides, and why should they adopt such an odious proceeding as was proposed. He thought it would be better for the hon. member not to follow up that line of conduct. He sympathized with Hon. Mr. McDougall, but he would not aid in carrying his feelings of disappointment into permanent legislation affecting this new Province. Similar difficulties had arisen in Upper and Lower Canada, and the treatment of those facts should not be different in the case of Manitoba. That House had always had the right to expel from its body any member who was unworthy to sit in it, and he quoted a case which took place in 1858, that of Mr. O’Farrell, in the County of Lotbinière, where an adverse petition was discharged, but a Committee of the House was appointed and the member eventually expelled as being unworthy of a seat in the House. They ought not to presume that there would be less wish to preserve the character of the House in Manitoba. O’Donavan Rossa was a case in point in the English Parliament. The time of accusation would come, and probably there would be too much of it; but they ought not to place a provision in the Bill which would have the effect of producing disquiet.
Hon. Mr. Cameron ridiculed the idea of making persons under arrest non-eligible for election, as it would involve the consequence of considering everyone under arrest guilty of crime; and the provision proposed was not required in that House, or in the Legislative
Assemblies, because they had the power to expel a member convicted of felony; but, in the case of the Senate, other considerations arose, and the necessity of such a clause was clear. The Bill, if passed with that provision, would be a fire-brand, and would place those people on a different footing from those of the other Provinces. It would make innocent persons liable to be arrested merely for the purpose of preventing their election. He thought that such an opportunity should not be offered.
Hon. Mr. McDougall was not surprised at the arguments of the member for Peel; but he was a little surprised at those of the Minister of Militia. In making the appeal that he had, he desired to say once for all that he should perform his double duty to the best of his ability, without regard to any personal relations that might have existed in the past. Reference had been made to his misfortunes; but he did not consider them to be altogether misfortunes. He believed that the Minister of Militia held towards him sentiments of quite a friendly character; but he must remember that they both had public and representative duties to perform in which no private duties had any right to interfere. The House was not to be influenced by any position he might have held in times past. The measure was before the House and it was for them to see that in framing a Government for the new Province, and in view of what had taken place, they should so far respect public opinion in Canada, the British feeling of the Dominion, that should render it beyond peradventure that any one that had been guilty of murder and robbery should be elected a member of the Legislature. He thought if some such provision was not made that they should have such men as Riel, Lepine and the traitors who sat in conclave on poor Scott elected to the Legislature. It would be extremely unwise, and under the peculiar circumstances, it was not more than just and right in view of the highest interests of the Dominion to put it beyond the power of the people to elect such men to the administration of the affairs of the Province. The hon. gentleman had referred to the Quebec Conference, and said no such provision had been made in it as that, but the agreement was that the law should exist as it was till Parliament should see fit to alter it. He admitted the House was competent to deal with such matters; but he thought it would be a disgrace to allow such men as Riel to be elected to the Legislature in the new Province.
[Hon. Mr. Cameron—L’hon. M. Cameron.]
Hon. Mr. Le Vesconte wished to know if the enactment proposed by the hon. member for North Lanark would not cast a stigma on the people of Manitoba as thieves and robbers?
Hon. Mr. McDougall said if the people up there were afraid of being excluded by such a clause then they were not fit to be entrusted with self-government. He was ready to substitute the word guilty in lieu of arrest, but he did think that those who had been guilty of felony should not have seats in the House, which might be the result unless a clause like that submitted was introduced into the Bill.
Hon. Col. Gray said the present law was sufficient to meet all cases. They should avoid the appearance of personal legislation.
The amendment was lost on a division.
Mr. Mackenzie moved to expunge the 27th Section and insert in lieu thereof “that whereas it is expedient to appropriate a portion of such ungranted lands for families of half-breed residents, it is hereby enacted that the children of such half-breeds resident in the Province shall be entitled to receive a grant of not more than 200 acres each on attaining the age of 18 years in such mode and on such conditions as the Governor General in Council may from time to time determine.” He assumed that 200 acres were sufficient for each child as they came of age. That would be definite, and would relieve the Province from the calamity of taking up the 1,400,000 acres at once.
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier said that would be merely a change in the way of disposing of the land. They had been taunted with giving away too much land; but he was aware that in the Province there were no less than 10,000 children which would involve the giving of 2,000,000 acres. The Government had therefore he thought made a better bargain than the hon. gentleman’s proposal.
Division was then taken—Yeas, 37; Nays, 80.
Yeas—Messrs. Ault, Bodwell, Bolton, Bowell, Bowman, Brown, Connell, Dobbie, Drew, Ferguson, Grover, Macdonald (Glengarry), MacFarlane, Mackenzie, Magill, McConkey,
McDougall (Lanark), McMonies, Metcalfe, Mills, Morison (Victoria North), Munroe, Oliver, Perry, Redford, Ross (Dundas), Ross (Prince Edward), Ross (Wellington, C.R.), Scatcherd, Snider, Stirton, Thompson (Ontario), Wallace, Wells, White, Wright (York, Ontario, W.R.), and Young.—37.
Nays—Messrs. Archambault, Archibald, Beaty, Beaubien, Béchard, Bellerose, Benoit, Blanchet, Bourassa, Bown, Brousseau, Burton, Cameron (Peel), Campbell, Carling, Caron, Cartier (Sir G.-Ê.), Casault, Cayley, Cheval, Cimon, Costigan, Coupai, Crawford (Brockville), Currier, Daoust, Dorion, Dufresne, Dunkin, Forbes, Fortier, Fortin, Gaucher, Gaudet, Gendron, Gibbs, Godin, Gray, Heath, Hincks (Sir F.), Holmes, Holton, Howe, Huot, Hurdon, Jackson, Keeler, Kirkpatrick, Lacerte, Langevin, Langlois, Lawson, Le Vesconte, McDonald (Middlesex West), Masson (Soulanges), Masson (Terrebonne), McDougall (Trois-Rivières), McGreevy, McKeagney, Merritt, Morris, Morrison (Niagara), O’Connor, Pelletier, Pinsonneault, Pouliot, Pozer, Ray, Read, Renaud, Robitaille, Ryan (King’s, N.B.), Savary, Scriver, Shanly, Stephenson, Tilley, Tremblay, Walsh, and Willson.—80.
Mr. Oliver moved that the Education clause be struck out.
Hon. Mr. Chauveau hoped the amendment would not be carried. It was desirable to protect the minority in Manitoba from the great evil of religious dissensions on education. There could be no better model to follow in that case than the Union Act, which gave full protection to minorities. It was impossible to say who would form a majority there, Protestants or Catholics. If the population were to come from over the seas, then the Protestants would be in a majority. If, as had been asserted, Manitoba was to be a French preserve, then the Catholics would be a majority. He did not care which, because he desired only to see the new Province freed from discussions, which had done so much injury in the old Provinces of Canada. They presented a problem to the whole world, and the question was, could two Christian bodies, almost equally balanced, be held together under the British Constitution? He believed that problem could be worked out successfully.
Hon. Mr. McDougall said the effect of the clause, if not struck out, would be to fix laws which the Local Legislature could not alter in future, and that it would be better to leave the
[Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier-L’hon. sir George-É. Cartier.]
matter to local authorities to decide, as in the other Provinces. He quite agreed with his hon. friend in giving the same powers to this Province as the others, and it was for that reason that he desired to strike out the clause.
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier referred to the manner in which the Red River country had been settled, and grants of land which had been made to the clergy for the purposes of education.
Mr. Mackenzie was prepared to leave the matter to be settled exclusively by the Local Legislature. The British North America Act gave all the protection necessary for minorities; and local authorities understood their own local wants better than the General Legislature. It was his earnest desire to avoid introducing into the new Province those detrimental discussions which had operated so unhappily on their own country, and therefore hoped the amendment would be carried.
After a long discussion a division was taken on the amendment—Yeas, 34; Nays, 81.
Yeas—Messrs. Ault, Bodwell, Bolton, Bowell, Bowman, Brown, Connell, Dobbie, Drew, Ferguson, Jones (Leeds and Grenville), Kirkpatrick, Macdonald (Glengarry), Mackenzie, McConkey, McDougall (Lanark), Metcalfe, Mills, Morison (Victoria North), Oliver, Redford, Ross (Dundas), Ross (Prince Edward), Ross (Victoria, N.S.), Ross (Wellington, C.R.), Rymal, Snider, Stirton, Thompson (Ontario), Wallace, Wells, White, Wright (York, Ontario, W.R.), and Young.—34.
Nays—Messrs. Archambault, Archibald, Beaubien, Béchard, Bellerose, Benoit, Blanchet, Bourassa, Bown, Brousseau, Burton, Cameron (Peel), Campbell, Carling, Caron, Cartier (Sir G.-Ê.), Casault, Cayley, Chauveau, Cheval, Cimon, Costigan, Coupai, Crawford (Brockville), Daoust, Dorion, Dufresne, Dunkin, Fortier, Fortin, Gaucher, Gaudet, Geoffrion, Gendron, Gibbs, Godin, Grant, Gray, Grover, Heath, Hincks (Sir F.), Holmes, Holton, Howe, Hurdon, Keeler, Lacerte, Langevin, Langlois, Lawson, Le Vesconte, McDonald (Lunenburg), McDonald (Middlesex West), Masson (Soulanges), Masson (Terrebonne), McDougall (Trois-Rivières), McGreevy, McKeagney, Merritt, Morris, Morrison (Niagara), O’Connor, Pelletier, Perry, Pinsonneault, Pope, Pouliot, Pozer, Ray, Renaud, Robitaille, Ryan (King’s, N.B.), Savary, Scatcherd, Scriver, Shanly, Stephenson, Tilley, Tremblay, Walsh, and Willson.—81.
Hon. Mr. Holton asked the Minister of Militia what provision had been made to extend the Criminal Code of the Dominion to the new Province? He had looked through the Bill and could see no such provision made in it.
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier said the Criminal Law now prevailing there, which was the English Code, would continue in force until the people of the Province were prepared for the laws of the Dominion.
Hon. Mr. Cameron said the laws in force in Red River Territory included all crimes except capital offences, and offences the punishment of which was transportation, which could be tried only in the Courts of Lower and Upper Canada.
On a motion for the third reading.
Mr. Mackenzie said he would not oppose it. The Opposition had endeavoured to amend its objectionable features, and having failed in that, they threw the responsibility wholly on the Government of the measure as it stood. They had declined from first to last to accept any amendment, except the one that was forced on them by a strong expression of the opinion of the House at the outset; but believing that it was necessary to have some Bill passed, to have some form of Government established there, he did not ask for the Bill to be passed on a division, and so far as he was concerned it might pass without any opposition whatever.
The Bill was read a third time and recommitted.
On the motion of Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier for the purpose of amending the 10th clause relating to elections, as he had proposed in the early part of the evening, the amendment was concurred in and the Bill passed.