Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Senate Reform”, 10th Parl, 2nd Sess, (30 April 1906)

Document Information

Date: 1906-04-30
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 10th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1906 at 2276-2320.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).

The HTML Text Below Has Not Yet Been Edited

This document has not yet been edited for mistakes. Help us out by correcting the text and mailing it as a text file to Your help will make the most complete word-searchable electronic repository of documents relating to the Canadian constitution. For more information consult our Be a Contributor page.

Read the unedited text

Read less

2275 COMMONS 2276
Mr. H. B. AMES (Montreal, St. Antoine)
For a return showing the total number of
land patents issued, together with the acreage
covered thereby, in and for the territory
included within the limits of the present provinces
of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta,
between the lst of July, 1901, and the 31st of
December, 1905, under each of the following
forms of grant : (a) commutation grants, (b)
homesteads, (c) Manitoba Act grants, (d) military
bounty grants, (e) Northwes.t halfbreed
grants, (f) parish sales, (g) quit claim special
grants, (h) railways, (1) sales of mining, farming,
ranching, &c., (j) school land sales, (k)
special grants, (1) and all others.
He said : This is an amended motion for
a return which illustrates what I spoke
about this afternoon. On the 14th of March
I moved for information regarding the number
of land patents issued, as I thought it
would he interesting to the House to know
how much had been patented in Manitoba.
Saskatchewan and Alberta and the character
of the varlous grants. It was not until
the- 17th April that I was told by the department,
in the return brought down, that the
information could not be gathered together
in the form I asked for. For a month we
had waited for this information. The return
states that it could not be supplied by
the department in less than one year as no
record was kept by the department for the
period mentioned in such form as would be
available for the return. Such record, however,
bas been kept and is available since
1901, but it makes no distinction between
the odd and even numbered sections. The
reason I move this motion is that I would
like the return compiled in accordance with
the records which the department bas kept
since the lst of July, 1901, and if I had
been informed on the 14th of March, when
I made the original motion, or within a
week or two afterwards that the entire
information could not be gi.ven, I would then
immediately have moved as I am now doing.
The point I make is that I do not
think it is just to this House when information
cannot be furnished and when it
must be known to the department that the
information cannot be furnished, that a
nonth or six weeks should be permitted
to elapse, and then the member who moved
for the return should be told that the information
is uncompilable. If that statement
had been given promptly other steps
could bave been taken, but as It is now the
probability Is that the information can only
come before the House a month or six weeks
Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the
Interior). As a question bas been ralsed in
the House during this sitting as to the good
faith of the Department of the Interior in
preparing these returns I would ask the bon.
mover (Mr. Ames) to let this motion stand
for to-day to give me an opportunity of
being able to inform the House as to the
amount of labour necessary to the compilation
of the returns.
Mr. AMES. I may say that this motion
(No. 20) is drafted on exactly the lines on
which the report of the deputy Minister of
the Interior states be can furnish the information.
Mr. OLIVER. There is no question about
the department being able to furnisi the
information as stated in the return laid on
the table of the House. But I wish the
House to he informed as to the amount of
labour involved in producing the return
which he asks, and which, as far as the
House can understand, he asks simply as
a matter of curiosity.
Motion allowed to stand.
Mr. G. I. McINTYRE (South Perth)
moved :
That, in the opinion of this House, the constitution
of the Senate should be brought into
greater accord with the spirit of representative
and popular government, and the genius
of the Canadian people, by amendments which
in future appointments will : (1) abolish the
life tenure of office by Senators ; (:2) limit
the tenure for one appointment to within the
legal term of three parliaments ; (3) provide
a fixed age, not exceeding eighty, for compulsory
He said : I shall offer io apology for taking
up a short portion of the time of the
Iouse on what I consider an important
matter, for the rights of members, whether
tiey are of recent or are of older entrance
into the House, are, theoretically at least,
equal, aIthough w-e know that in practice
the newer members are presumed to be seen
rather than heard. I could well wish, Mr.
Speaker, as I am interested in this particular
question, and believe it to be of importance,
that it had been in the hands of
a man more experienced in speaking in this
House, more experienced in placing the arguments
that I believe are favourable to
the proposition that I am making. I have
been soinewhat relieved, however, in conversations
I bave had with other members
since placing this notice on the order paper,
to find that I was not alone in feeling that
something in this line should be done. I
an relieved to find that quite a number of
gentlemen, some very able gentlemen indeed,
are likely to take part in the discussion
of this motion, and I therefore feel that
the matter will be fairly placed before the
House and the various arguments, favourable
or otherwise, properly adduced. It appears
that others really intended to place
notices on the order paper on lines very
similar to my own ; it bas only happened
that I have been the first to obey the im-
2275 COMMONS 2276
2277 APRIL 30, 1906 2278
pulse to do so. Whlle 1 speak thus rnode7stly-
and I can assure you 1 feel very diffident
on this rnatter-yet 1 know I arn open
to the charge of shorwing considerable courage
ln making a proposition that means a
change ln Bome way ln our côinstltution.
And yet, Mr. Speaker, changes do occur ln
constitutions and ln forms of governinent.
Every country which bas an intelligent
people and which. bas some form of parliamentary
goverument will in proeess of time
make changes in ils constitution and in ils
form of government, in tbe end gradually
reaching a form very closely approximating
tbat whicb is best suited to It, to the peculiarities
or characteristics of its people, to
its climate, to its geographical position. But
If, from tîrne to time, you examine a goverument
of that kind and for that purpose, you
will find that these changes are seldom up
to the~ uccessities o! the occasion, always
will these changes wait until necessity
presses. You will find, also, that no -forrn
of government is positive]y stationary, even
if you bave a written constitution as *we
have in Canada. Changes will take place.
There will be changes in the interpretation o!
that constitution. There will be ch-anges in
the practice and usages under It. We have
those changes ‘here before our eyes ln olir
Canadian constitution. The Senate of Canada
bas no judicial powers and yet by coinmon
consent and in practice we have virtually
made them a divorce court. That Is
one forrn of change that may corne even
under a written constitution. Taking the
constitution of the United States ýwe notice
another example of that. The president of
the United States is presumably not to be
elected by the direct votes of people but by
delegates wbo are elected Iby the people.
The election tben is indirect and yet by
usage, by practice, and by tylng these delegates
fo certain candidates, the people o!
the Ulnited States do really vote directly for
president, in contravention of the spirit of
their constitution. These changes in the
,Constitution corne, then, in various ways.
Sometimes changes in the form of goverament
corne by intrusion of foreign nations,
and sonietiines they create a form of governmeat
for that nation. Changes usually
corne, however, by evolution, changes made
in tirne o! peace, changes such as we have
seen &n the British constitution, whicb we
ail admire. Sometimes these changes will
corne by revolution, wbich is virtually evolution
delayed. If, then, these changes are
bound to corne. If even a written constitution
will allow o! certain changes, although
not sufficient always fer the purpose, 1
thlnk it clear that we should be at lberty,
not for trivial purposes or for Iight reasons,
to repair weak points in our *constitution.
But whenever we believe that our constitution
is seriously defective, and whienever we
think. that by discussion we nlay Improve
or clear the position, I think we should feel
ourselves at liberty to give that discussion,
and it is on that account I ask -for a disceussion
and introduce this matter to-day.
I arn not seeking a perfect form of goverament,
that of course we know is sirnply
an ideal tbat cannot be reached. We find
in looking at !orrns of government throughont
tbe world, that sometirnes a government
that appears to be giving good satisfaction,
that appears to be worklng successfully, on
close examination wjIl be found to be very
illogical in form. I thlnk in the British
constitution ltsel!, that is said to be so. I
lhave heard it spoken o! as being a forrn of
government that was unworkable, but made
workable by a constant threat of revolution.
Sornetimes we find that these illogical
forms of goverunent are very successtul,
and usually it will be found that they
are s0 on account of the patience or self
restraint o! the people who are governed,
or on account o~f the wisdorn and moderation
of their rulers. Sometimes, indeed, we
find that forms o! government which appear
to be very logical are not working out successfully
on account of the lack of those
qualities in either people or rulers.
But, for a country like Canada, a country
w’hich we are ail proud of, we desire, if it
la at ail possible, to get a good government,
good la ail its branches. We desire to have
a government that is logical in forrn, if
possible, because the more logical the formi
of a government is, the less does it depend
upon the co-operation o! the people. We
desire a form o! government that augurs
success by a division of power, by the
checks and balances it may have. We
desire a form of goverunent that la in Rue
with our national temperament and characteristica,
we desire one tbat la in lune witb
our aspirations, that la in uine with the
genlus o! our people ; and we certainly desire
one that will hold aIl the members of
parliament up to the best that is in them.
I t is of course much easier, Mr. Speaker, to
see the defects in any form of government
than it is to discover remedies, and it is
always easier to criticise than to build up.
Now, our Canadian form of government
is but new, as nations go, thougli we are
carrying into force and effect, and using
some !orms, that are very ancient. But, aithough
new lu practice bere, we are stili
old enough to recognize that it bas rnany
defects. 0f the many defects that are apparent,
botb in the House o! Commona and in
the Senate, some are really inherent in the
system of representative government, or are
inherent in the temperament or characteriatics
o! our people. In cases of that kind, I
recognize that inberent defects are not
eafiily cured. It requires patience, it requires
a long tirne. But we realize also
that some o! these defects are not inherent.
that they are remediable. We see some of
them are really foreign to the national characteristica
and temnperament of our people.
I think, Sir, the resolution which I have laid
2277 APRIL 30, 1906 2278
2279 COMMONS 2280
before you touches one of the most noticeable
of these defects, one of those that are
remiediable, and one that I think should be
iemedied. In any criticismn that I may make
in speaking to this motion, 1 desire flot to
be in any way offensive or disrespectful to
memibers of tihe Senate. I do flot think It
will be necessary to do so. It may be that
I will pass by certain fornis of argument
thiat would be very obvious to you as having
been in use. At least, what I would
desire to criticise is rather the system than
the individuals whio are engaged in working
it. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, 1 shall not allow
myseif that latitude of speech which, at
least in the newspapers, we have seen stated
as being used by senators themselves. The
proposition 1 lay before you touches only
one brancis of our parliament, that is the
Seaate. I do flot meani, by limiting it to
that branch, that 1 consider the House of
Commons as an entirely perfect body. But
the people of Canada have means of rectifying
errors, or mistakes, or faults in ns.
That is not so easy la the Senate, and therefore
my proposition is limited to the Senate.
Second chambers exist la almost ail the
great goveramnents of the world. We find
that even la republics such as France aud the
United States they exist. They do aot seemn,
then, to pertain to monarchical forms. If
these second chambers were always satisfactorily.
were always doing good work, then
we miglit concinde that any dissatisfaction
that might exist with regard to them would
be oa acount of the material we place in the
ý3enate, or of some special cau1ses. The
second chambers. la most countries, are represeatatively
coastituted, not ail alike, but
their general functions are largely so. They
a re ,always defective, I believe, and yet aiways
adhered to. The wisdom that has kept
thiem there may not l)e of the best lu tise
world, and yet it is sigaiticant that thev are
adhered -to. That is a fact that I think we
shiould not lightly pass by. Wherever these
second chambers exist there are almost
:dw.a.ys two sets of reasons for them, sometimes
one and sometimes thse other, mostly
botis conjoined. One line of reason is that
there are certain hereditary privileges or
rights, certain rights of privile.-ed classes,
certain state riglits, certain provincial riglits,
that need t0 be preserved and safeguarded.
The other line of reason is that legislation
passed lu the popular chamber is sometimes
hastily passed, that it is wise to have a revision,
some power that will take this legislation
as it passes fromn the lower chamber
and send it back, if necessary, for reconsideration.
Now, thse first of these reasons,
Mr. Speaker, that of safeguarding hereditary
rights and privileges, and state rights,
mlust be judged entirely accordîng to the
several riglits tllat are to be safeguarded
fromi danger, or encroachusent. No general
rule can be laid down for them. But I
think the ýother line of argument necessitating.
if it can be obtained at flot t0 great
a price, the revision of snch legisiation as
p)asses the Iower bouse, and of sending it
býack for coasideration will always have a
certain value.
The dangers, however, that attend the
system of two chambers, are apparent.
There is the possibility of friction. Eacis
chamber may think that it lias the righit to
exercise its powers freely and if they differ
then there is friction and trouble. Many
devices have been followed such as confereuces,
joint voting and other methods
of that kind for reconciling these differences.
The division of Power lias certain
advantages and the concentration
of power la a single chamber bas certain
advantages. Unfortunately we cannot
have tise advantages of that division of
power or that concentration of power withont
soîne of the disadvantages. If this
bouse, however, thinks that the Senate
of Canada is a satisfactory body, if it
thinks that the Senate is doing ail that the
people of Canada desired or exùected of it
then it would have no excuse for this resolution
whichi 1 arn proposing. That, however,
I thiak is not thse case. My own conversation
withl mauy members of this bouse
seerns to indicate that it is not the case
and we bave the historie record of at least
one of the great parties of this country in
regard to this question. 1 ar nfot going to
give you a great many details or statistics’
or quotations but on this particular poinit
1 will quote first thse opinion of a man wîdely
known la this country for lis prudence and
sagacity Sir Oliver \10wat. Iu 1893, in
addressing a convention of Liberais in this
city, lie used thiese words
We are agreed as to thse necessity of a fundamnental
reforination of the Senate-if for any
reason a senate must býe or should be retained.
Thse Senate as now constituted is the weakest
point in our constitution.
I will read yoil also a few words which
another speaker made use of on the samne
I think, Sir, we ail agrea tisat tise constitution
of the Senate, as it at present exists, is
a’ blot upon popular goveroment and free institutions.
Tise gentleman who said that is stili with
US. Perhaps lie will be knowu by thse
vigour of his language. In addition to that
I will quote to you a resolution passed by
that convention of Liberais in 1893 as follows
Thse preseut constitution of the Senate is
inconsistent with thse federal principlýe in our
system of goveranment, aud is iu other respects
defective, as it makes tise Senate indepeudeut
of the people and unýcoutrolled by tise Public
opinion of tise country, and should be 80
amended as to bring it into isarmony witis thse
principles of popular government.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. What resolution is
thse hon. gentleman reading ?
2279 COMMONS 2280
2281 APRIL 30, 1906 2282
Mr. G. H. McINTYRE. I amn reading the
resolution passed by the Liberai convention
ln this city. This was a convention not of
local Liberals but of the MLberals of Canada.
Mr. BOYCE. On what date was that
passed ?
Mr. G. H. MCINTYRE. I have not the
exact date but 1 think it was la June, 1893.
An hon. MEMBER. In June.
Mr. BERGERON. There were a great
many other things said at that convention.
Mr. G. H. McINTYRE. Many other
things. I aeed flot quote any other resolutions
of the convention. I arn limiting myself
to that resolution.
Mr. BARR. Would the hon, gentleman
tell us who used the vigorous language ?
Mr. G. H. McINTYRE. That was Sir
Richard Cartwright.
Mr. BERGERON. Where is he aow ?
Mr. G. H. McINTYRE. In reading this
resolution passed la 1893 1 recognized that
it contained some phrases taken from a
resolution that had been submitted to the
parliament of Canada by Mr. Milla ln 1874.
So that, we date back almost tweaty years
prior to this year 1893 to find existing in
the Liberal party of Canada the feeling that
the Senate was ln need of certain changes
and reformation. In 1874 indeed a resolution
passed this House favourlng certain
changes, but it proceeded no further. In
1893, wben this resolution which 1 have
read was passed by the Liberal convention
here, It of course was Ineffective as it did
flot meet wlth the approval o! the Senate,
but when it passed it did represent, 1 believe,
very fully and properly the feeling
of the Liberal party in this country. I
know that when I gave assent to it as a
Lîberal it meant something to, me. Tt bas
meant something to me ever since that date
and It means sometbing to me aow. Not
oniy then have we this historic record o!
the Liberal party showing dissatisfaction
with the Senate as at present constîtuted,
but we have had special occasion receatly
to feel the temper o! the people in that respect.
1 wlll flot discixss the partîcalar matter
further than to say that the Increase ln
-the iademnity of senators brought forth an
expression of opinion on, the part of the
people which showed that the old resentment
agalnst the Senate as at present constltuted
exIsts and exista very atrongly. I
dlaim that dissatisfaction with the constitution
o! the Senate Ia a matter wbWdh I mlght
maire a postulate. It may be that It la not
universal but kt Is so wldespread tb-at 1
deaim -the proposition to be proven.
At six o’clock, House took recess.
After Reosu.
House resumed at eigbt o’clock.
Mr. G. Hl. ýMcINTYRE. When the House
rose at six o’clock I bad ben showing that
grave dissatisfaction existedl throughout the
country with regard to the composition of
the Senate and with regard to ILs manner o!
doing Its work. I had been referring to the
historic attitude of the Liberal party la
refereace to the Senate, and 1 had shown
also the feeling manl!ested by the people
recently la the criticism on the lncreased
indemnlty, to which I may add the general
adverse criticîsma o! the Canadian press. 1
dlaim, Sir, that this grave dissatis!aotlon lo
well !ounded. With a view to removlng It
and placing the Canadian Senate la that
position la whicli It should stand la the
esteem and respect of the Canadian people,
1 bave made the proposition contained la my
motion. I believe that the proposais ia this
resolution will sufficiently improve the
iSenate, will sufficlently stimulate it to activity
; give it a sufficient sease of responsibility
o! duty without interferlng with
or in!ringing on the domain o! the Comnmous.
Tt will not la any way break up the
fixlty or stability o! the Senate, but it will,
1 believe, help to place it la that position o!
respect with the Canadian people la wbich
it ought to be held. The charter of our constitution
la the British North America Act,
and I will promise you, Sir, that 1 shaîl not
go very deeply Into IL. Ia the preamble of
the British North America Act it la declared
that the different provinces coming together
to form the Dominion, desire to be !ederally
united, with a constitution sîmilar in priaciple
to that o! the United Kiagdon. Ia
aiming at that object we have a Governor
General, a Senate, and House of Commons, lu
very close copy of the goveramental system
o! the United Kingdom. We bave copied It
perhaps almost too closely. It has been
said o! the government o! the United Kingdom
that it la like a bouse la wbicb people
have lived for long, and to whlcb !rom time
to time they have added additions and made
changes until on the wboie a very comfortable
bouse It grew, but, that any one
building a new bouse would neyer thlnk o!
copyiag IL la ail ILs particulars. We bave
* C overnor Generai representlng the King,
a Senate correspondlng to the House of
Lords, and the Commons correspondlng to
the lower House la England. We have a
federal union and the niarked characterlstic
o! this union, Ia Ita relation to the Senate
la, that the different provinces are repreaented
; Ontario by a fixed number o! 24
senators, Quebec by a fied number of 24,
and the maritime provinces o! that day by
24. And yet, we find Lthe anomaly timat
wblle the federal system 1s adopted and
representation given la that way, the different
parts of the Dominion comiag lato confederation
have no power la the appoint-
2281 APRIL 30,1906 2282
2283 COMMONS 2284
ment of these senators. The nomination of actually practicable and that would create
senators is made by the central authority, tbe ]east possible disturbance in the existthe
very authority which one would sup- ing condition of affairs. I have endeavoured
pose should be guarded against if the theory not to create an ideally perfect system, but
were carried out that the Senate was there to approacb the question as far as I could
to protect the rights of the different pro- in tbe frane of mmd of n practical peuhvinces.
It was along that line that the cian.
criticism of 1874 was made by- the Liberal Now, Sir, the fouse of Lords is the proparty
which claimed that logically, if it was lotype of Our Senate. The fouse of Lords
to be a federal union, the different pro- itself is not free from friction with the
vinces should bave something to say in the lower fouse; w-li tbat friction arises we
appointment of senators. I may say, Sir, know that as a raie the fouse of Lords
that while that may be logically a sound yields. and tbe reason is this There h ibe
argument, I have never personally regretted force of public opinion bebind the Cornions
that that idea w-as neyer put in effet ; the wlich bas some effet, but tbe fhouse of
example of the UJnited States in the appoint Lords ields principally because there d
ient of senators by tbe different states bas tbe pow-er La the Crow-n to appoint any adnot
given us a favourable view of sncb a ditional number to thoe ouse of Lords un
system. I w-ould ratber put up w-itb tbe the recommendation of tbe ministry of lit
anamoly w-e bave and consider tbat after oay. This brings the fouse of Lords soneail,
tbe provincial rigbts w-bicb tbeoretically wbat into frwn-ei t tbe expressed view-h tf
need protection are net in very mucb danl- tbe people tbrougb tbe Commons. Thore is
ger. In tbat connection I may point ont one likeness between the Lords and ibe
aise tbat la a series of very interesting and Senate. Tbe Life Tenure is commea 10
valuable articles wbicb appeared in tbe bot In the flouse tf Lords tbe Lord
Toronto ‘Newys ‘-unfortunately I only read lion is bnreditary almost entirely-tbr is
a portion of tbem-it w-as sbown among anf additional nominative powernd the nre
otber things tbat if w-e baa han a system; by a slight elective power. Our senators are
wbicp tbe provinces appeinted senaters, Sir cntirne lv nominative. the fouse of Lrds
John Macdonald during ail tbe years h w-as he aumber is net fixed ; lu Our Senate the
in pow-er would bave been met by an ad- nmlor is fixed for eacb province. Tbe
verse Senate, as tbe Provincial asseblielysdl rds receive no pay; our senators are
were largely politically against bim. somaey-at generously. We bave thse putu-
Apart frein tbe fedleral principle wbicb linrities ia our Sonate. Lt is of a flxod aurawe
have, there are otber plans suggested Of ber for each province ; it bas very grea
selecting senators w-hich 1 may perbaps puwers La vetoing legisiation ; it bas litte
mention bere. Tbe plan u st favourably or no responsibilit eitber te tbe Crown or
looked upon is, I beliexe, tbat of tbe elec- ta te public, and it bas lif tenure of
tien of senaters hy a larger conistitueOncy office. Tbiere are absent from tbe Seilate
than the members of tbe Commens repre- crtain of the checks and balances w-hich
sent. Tbat plan is favourod by many. but are iresent iii te other estates of the reyrim.
I cannot say that I talce kindly te it. I beh- We bave almost a division of kingly power
lieve tbat the Canadia people have about as in one respect ; we bave a Governr General
many elections as tbey can w-eh take care ‘-epresenting tbe King, and yet be is in clhock
oe, and la view of the fact tbat under scb te Our Primo Minister ; tbe Prime Minister
a system each bedy would pc onsidelrh e tbat it is La cbeck te tbe Governer Goneral, to
represented the people as mnucs as tbe otber, extnt of tbe necessity of baving a majority
te danger of friction w-ould be greator and l the Commons. Tbe fouse o Comons
there wuould be less likeliboed of one brancb is in cbec net only te tbe people of the
of parliament retiring before the conclusions country te w-om tbey bave te return erprb
of the otber. I must say tbat I prefer a electiu, but tbey are aise in check to ibe
iceposite Senate; dne lu wehoe the larger Sonate. Tbe Sonate only, -itbin tbe power
number would be nominated by t e Crown thiat is granted te Lt, is irrsponsible. ibat
as at present, in order tbat we May bave in is naturally ratber a grae position cf
the Senate a number o men wbe bave bad affairs if tbat power were improprly used
actual political experience. I would ratber for tbere is very litte provision for avoidlike
te se, perbaps a couple frem eac ance or for solution- Now. w-at would be
province nominated by tbe legislature of the natural resut arising frorw a syste of
eacb province; eminent me in varieus tbat kind.
callings, retired judges may be, pessibly Lt is natural te suppose tbat a bdy
retired lieutenant governors and possibly whicl possesses pewer-and we ail like to
men elected by the universities. That theo- exorcise power w-en we bave it-wen
retieally would be what I would prefer, but thero h ne responsibility and no accounting
this is not part of the scbeme I have laid te anvbedy. will beceme autocratie. It is
down, although I bave purposely placed my ise natural te suppose that men W-b are
resolution in such form that it does not an- Dot respensible te any one, and wbe give
tagonize any such scheme. as littie or as mach tbeught te questions as
I have sought as far as I could to reach tbey oose. will beceme apathetie, witb ctbe
end I ad in view by means tbat w-ere casional relapses t the other condition.
2285 APIRIL 30, 1906 2286
What has been the record of the Senate?
For long periods of time, when the majority
in the Senate corresponded, politically, to
that ln the Commons, it has been apatbetic.
while occasionally it has broken out vexati-
-ously, alniust always, it bas happeued. wbeu
the political majority ln the Commons differed
from that of the Senate. If we had a
change of government and the Conservatives
were to corne Into power-a contingency
which may flot be very near at biand,
thougb perhaps the younger members of the
Conservative party may live to see itthey
would very quickly f eel the antagonism
of the Senate, I fear, with the opposing
majority of the Libei’al party there. It is
natural to suppose, then, that to a certain
extent the political gain to the Liberal
party would be lost, and a political gain
would accrue to the Conservatives by a
chainge iu the composition of the Senate at
the present time. I believe that a strong
feeling exists among the Canadian people
that the Canadian Senate bas failed entirely
to reacli that standard whicbi is desired
and that it should be changed. And
yet we recognize that the Canadian Senate
has been In -a somewhat unfortunate positioni.
It knows perfectly well that a people
like the Canadian people, stroug, self-reliant,
independent, would not take kindly to
any autocratie action on its part. They
could flot prevent It ; they could oniy make
that feeling manifest by criticism. Coinfort
and ease would not lie that way for
the Sepiate, and so it .has flot often spokea.
Un the other baud, it knows that the Canadian.
people, w-ho are working people aud
who expect value for their money, cannot
but look wîth scoru upon a body that does
not give a sufficient and adequate return
for what it costs. The Canadian Senate
bas sometimes interfered, seldom to advantage,
but always with the charge against
it of beiug actuated by political feeling.
Occasionally It bas misseci very vaînable
chances of improving itself ia the estimation
of the Canadian people. If whea the Bis
of last year to which I have referred were
before the Canadian Senate, it lad risen to
the point wbere its members had said: ‘We
will not demand as much salary as the Coinmous,
inasmuch as our duties are less onerous;’
if it had said, ‘These Bis that provide
for pensions to ex-cabinet miaisters
appear to be somewhat hastily drawn, and
we will send them back for reconsideration,’
what a dîfferent position it would be lu at
the present time before the Canaclian people.
So I claim that not oaly Is there very grave
dissatisfaction witb the Senate, but that
dissatisfaction ls of such a character that
It demaads some remedy. Remedies are
sometimes very weak, unless accompanîed
by some impulse. We kuow what a mi’ghïty
force a bigli ideal or a great impulse is to
anybody. I cannot, for instance, fancy any
member entering this Flouse for the first
time without feeling a thrili of inspiration as
hie remembers that lu this very chamber iu
whlcb he sits Macdonald, Mackenzie, Tnpper,
Blake, Thompson, Laurier, bave fought
for their views and their policies-have
fought as giants fight, sometimes victorlous,
sometimes beatea, always patriots, nation
builders, bistory makers. I cannot fancy
a member entering this Hlouse and feeling
that inspiration witbout determlnlng that
as far as his part goes, accordlng to the
ability tbat Is granted to hlm, no matter how
humble bis position in the Hlouse may be,
hie will endeavour by concrete legislation, by
reformns accomplielhed or attempted, by good
advice, by eadeavouring lu some way to
strengthen the moral fibre of this Fluse, to
make is presence feit, and wben the time
for bis retirement cornes feeling that he bas
added a littie to the contentment and prosperity
of this country. Would I be wrong
la saying that sncb an inspiration does flot
seem to be given by the Senate to its members?
Wonld I be wrong ln saying that it
,would seem as if it were necessary to inoculate
the sleeping senators with some
germ tbat would stimulate tbem f0 activify
and a sense of dufy? Somefbing should be
done, 1 tbiak, to make those gentlemen feel
that tbey areput upon their honour-somethiýng
thnt would creafe a proper esprit de
corps among them ànu regard to other matfers
than a mere attention to dignity. I
thiuk there should be some bigler ideal, not
oaly la this Ilouse but la the other, tfn
that high position is slmply a ribbon la a
buttonhole or a charm on a man’s watch
dham, f0 make’ him feel a littie as if bis
vanity were being ministered f0. In tbat
and la many other respects remedies are
But wbat are the remedies that will adequafely
flil the bill? Among those that have
lbeen mientioned, probably the first that
cornes f0 the minds of the people, fhe first
that is frequeatly mentioned, is -abolition.
lu itself it has the menit of simplicity. If
does flot reqnirge very rnany details; It
coules very readily to the lips, and yet,
although I have been very near it at times,
after al fhe consideration I bave given to
this subject. near as I have ‘been to it, I
have hesitated f0 traverse that distance. It
seerns f0 me that by abolition you would
not only rernove fhe bad th-af may be lu the
Senate, fIe weakness or defects, but you
would cut off the good, and tînt there Is
or shouid be good la the Senafe is, I think,
perfectly evideat. It would be unwise, It
would be impossible, iadeed, f0 do away
wifh the Senate without also doing away
with the Hlouse of Commons as it is at present
organized. Abolition of tbe Senate centainly
would bring changes la the Commons.
We claim to be represenfativés of the peopie.
We are so la one sense, and yef we
ail realize tînt it is la a somewbat limifed
sease. We represent certain majonities.
Almost haif the people who send us here are
opposed to ns and prefer some othen man.
We are ratben elected legisiators. There-
2285 APRIL 30, 1906 2286
2287 COMMONS 2288
fore, I say that to do away with the Senate, Senate which -il] demoustrate the value
I think it would be necessary to make such ot the retorm.
changes in the Commons as would provide I Delieve that the lite tenure which I ar
either for a referendunm or for a system of touching on in this resolntion is one ot
minority representation: and if we felt that the most serions defects of the system. I
there was to be no revision of a measure ohject to the lite teure for the reasons and
passed here, there would be considerable the tacts I have cited lu my resolution.
anxiety at times as to whether the measures I object to it becanse R is fot in accord
we passed were really handled with as close with the principle of representative and
care and scrutiny as they ought to be. But, popular governinent or with the genins of
apart from the arguments, and they are the Canadian people. I object to it also
very strong, that may be used against abo- becanse of its effect on the senators tbemlition.
I have this to say, that even’ if I selves amd 01 the legisiation of the country,
believed in it. I realize that it is not a as well as on the opinion i wtich that
practicable policy at the present time. body is heM Dy the Canadian people. Why
I do not think, from what I have ascer- was a lite tennre given ? No donbt lu order
tained. it would command a majority in that Lt miglt create a feeling of stability
this House. I certainly have very littie and permanance lu the senators which
hope that it would command a majority in would lead thern to do exactlY w-at they
the Senate. I believe that some of the thonght right, by freeing them from the
smaller provinces, which are very largely danger ot being called nto accont Dy the
represented there in proportion to their electorate for tlieir actions. Lt was La urder
size, would object, and we know quite well that they might be less snbject f0 the weakthat
the imperial parliament would not ness of yieldiag to a momentary feeling of
likely pass the Bill unless it were one ap- public passion. But if we could provide
proved of by all these different bodies. So that same consciousness et stability aid
that I pass by abolition, not only because tirlfluifss by a shorter tern, would not the
I think it unwise at present, but because objections to the abolition of the lite tender
it is not practicable. be removed ? If the average tenu in office of
There are others who say : Why change a senator is fot snpposed to De longer tan
the Senate at all ? Why not leave it as tt litteen 3-ars, we miglt very well limit bis
is ? It is sleeping now, let it sleep. It is term of office to that perioi. That would
doing no harm, why interfere with it ? give hlm snfficient stahility and flrmness
Well, that may be the view of many Lib- to enable hlm to do what lie thonght riglt
erals at present, but I think it is not a and relieve hlm from the dread of immewise
one, and it is not one which was held diate responsibility to the people, if It De
by the Liberal party in the past. Besides deemed desiraDie that li should De free
we have not only the present to consider. from proper pressnre. If it De said, that
We must look to the future, and that future if a man bas only fitteen years to
may be troublesome both for us and the serve, he will tee] that la whatever
Conservatives. The proper time to make action le inay faie, he must count
any change is not when the necessity of an on the approval or disapproval o! te
immediate change is present but rather goverarnent of tUe day ft the end of
when there is no act of interference on his term, that point mîglt De got over by
the part of that body in the policy of this making the reappointment not immediately
House, for then the change is less likely following the expiry of bis first term. An
to arouse the hostility of political passion. interim of a year would very qnickly cover
But though to-day the Senate may not be that. I tbink that any one who is appointed
actively interfering, it is certainly not do- to that position for a term of fitteen years
ing its duty in the opinion of many Cau- vonId tee] that Lt was not a life job. He
adian people. I an not offering any pan- -vonld tee] that ia flfteen years he had to
acea for the weakness and defects of the male bis mark or do what lie eould la the
Senate, but I do say that if its abolition is wont of governing the country. On that
not practicable, if it is not desirable, still acconnt he would tee] stimulated to activelY
it is not good policy to leave the Senate engage La the work of legisiation during
entirely as it is without an effort to obtain that period. le would tee] compelled te
its consent to some change. And if it be attend more close]y to bis work, and tUe
better to endeavour to amend and improve fitteen years limit wou]d mate the average
that body rather than engage in a confliet age of the senators ]ess than at piesent.
for its abolition, which would certainly be Lt is not possible to conceive that la the
of very doubtful value and the result of case of old men, no matter how ripe their
which would be equally doubtful, then we jndgment may De, the activLty and vltality
should seriously and calmly consider such ot lite can De given as freely as Dy younger
a proposition as I am making in order to men. While there may De men la the
see whether it is sufficiently adequate for Senate, as in other walts of lite, over
the purpose. And if it be not .adequate, eighty years of age who show woaderfnl
then let us know why. In my opinion, if vitality. whose minds are as dear as ever,
will not be so much the change itself as we can safely lay Lt down as a general
the additional spirit it will infuse into the mIe thaf when a man approxîmates eighty
2.&28A9P RIL 30, 1906 29
hie bas by rnany years seen bis best days,
and bence we wouid be wise indeed to
limit the age to within eigbty years. 1
thlnk you wiil ail concede that it is really
impossible to give that measure of respect
to any legisiative body wblch it shouid comnmand,
if there is any large proportion in
it of oid men. I will aoin witb any one in
respect for age ; but age, to receive its
proper respect, rnust be in its proper place.
It must flot be assurning the work and the
responsibiiity that really pertaîn to men
in the active period of life. And no mnatter
how evident the decrepitude may bie to
every one else, no matter how evidenýt it may
be that the occupant of that position is far
and away beyond the Urne wben bie should
be attending the duties of bis office, stili If
bis tenure be for life, hie -will continue
to occupy the position some one else should
and will influence others by his presence
and inertia. That the Senate of Canada
contains many able men, I very cheerfully
admit. It contains men erninent in every
brandi of life-in the professions, in commercial
hf e, in manufacturing business. It
contains men of such eminence tbat I beleve
we would bie gad, in times of crisls,
to accept their views and lndeed entrust
the care of the state to tbemn at sncb a
What is the reason then, if there Is
enougb abilîty, patriotisrn and experieuce
lu the Senate, that It does not fulfll al
that is expected of it ? The party feeling
remains, for one thing. Then tbere is the
lack of respousibility to auy one. Then
there is the fact that private business very
largely absorbs their euergy. And besides
ail this, tbere Is the Inertia of age. If we
could restrict the membersblp to younger
men, if we could get rid of that party
feeling, If we could arouse a seuse of responsibility
and stirnulate the sense of duty
or create sorne hlgber ideal, then 1 think
indeed that the Senate of Canada would
freely fulfil ail tbat is expected of it. But
even tbese able men, wbo, we recognize,
are lu the Senate, wili gradnally grow older,
will gradually become less fit for tbe work,
but will stili rernain tbere. Strong men,
fond of the active work of life, cannot be
tempted into the Senate so long ns tbey caui
rernain In political activlty. It Is sald that
tbe best cure for admiration of tbe Senate
is to be appointed to it.
Tbere is this other fact to, bè consldered.
Iu the case of friction between the Senate
and tbe Commons wben the party lu power
lu the Commons Einds itself cbecked by the
dominant party of the Senate, the changes
I have snggested wlll produce a greater
feeling of patience wlth IL Every now and
then vacancles wlll be occurrlng. There wll
be an opportunlty of reappointrnent comlng
mucb more freqnently, and the party lu
power lu the Commons may well afford to
wait patlently a littie tirne under such
clrcumistauces. At preseut if the Senate
were to throw out Bis carried iu this
House, the feeling would be one of helpless
indignation. Thiat Is not desirable.
Consequently we shonld seek to improve
the Senate withont lnfringiug on the rlgbtS
of the Commons. The whole spirit anid
intent of rny resolution is not to destroy
but rather to conserve and irnprove.
It is to stirnulate the Senate to a proper
performance of its duty without lufringiug
ou the rigbts of the Commons.
I believe that tbe resolution I -have offered
is one which the Senate can accept without
any bass of diguity ; it is one wbich I arn
incliued to think tbey would accept. There
are certain evidences of that. I have noticed
lu the newspapers n report tbat a very able
senator.from, St. John absolutely spoke lu
favour of abolition. We know indeed tbat
there are some senators who bave proceeded
there freim this body who believe lu aud
wdll no doubt support sonie forrn of reform.
This resolution that 1 bave off ered removes
noue of tbe privileges or powers of the
Senate ; it does flot interfere ýwitb or change
any of its functions or any of its precedents
for guidance. I tbiuk it would ýquietly and
effectively work changes there and that
with the iu’creased seuse of responsibility
would corne iucreased activity. ‘If the
Senate can see its way to accept these and
furthier changes, so mnuch the better. 1
bave limited rny resoîntion to the very minimum
of the changes tbat I tbink would be
of value. I do not expect that it would so
cure that there wonld be no defects. We
do not expect that Iu the Commons, we caunot
look for it lu the Senate. I think the
change would br-ing about valuable and
useful improvernts without disturbauce.
1 think they are the changes that have the
greatest likelibood of acceptance. I believe
I rnay fairly appeal to the House to at least
give them a careful and proper cousideration,
to endeavour to ‘%vork them ont lu sncb
forrn that if accepted we xvould bave a
Senate so fixed in the esteern of the Canadian
people, that when it differed from the
Flouse of Couinons it would be respected
and not maligned. I tbink 1 may fairly too,
appeal to the leader of this Honse to decide
that the time bas at lengtb corne wben
tbe bistorical attitude ôf the Liberal party
rnay be sbaped into action by confereace
wltb the Senate. Perbaps, lu some form, if
flot exactly this, a mensure xnlgbt be forrned
or some proposition made that wonld bie
carried throngb. Certalnly lt bas been and
is lu the power of the goverument of tbe
day to coustautly see that the best class of
men, even if we go ontside of politics, are
appointed to the Senate. I think that these
changes will not only improve the Senate,
but they will give the Canadian people the
feeling that this body, wbich ls so powerful,
Is not entirely beyond their control. It will
give tbe Senate a feeling that they are
respousible to the people and flot respon-
2289 2290
sible only, as I feel that they are at present,
to that very vague force ‘called public opinion,
and to their own sense of duty.
Mr. M. S. SCHELL (South Oxford). Mr.
Speaker, in rising to offer a few remarks
in support of the resolution that bas been
so ably introduced by the hon. member for
South Perth (Mr. McIntyre) it is not my intention
to enter into any lengthy d.iscussion
of this subject. For many years there has
been a strong and growing sentiment in this
country, displayed in the public press, on
the public platfori, and also by political
econonists who have written on this subject,
that the Senate bas not altogether met the
expectations of the framers of the constitution
of our country. The public opinion that
bas been thus aroused we thik it not altogether
based on prejudice. We believe that
the Senate ls not fulfilling its duties to the
extent that it was expected it would when
the ýfathers of confederation drew up the
basis on whicli our governent is founded.
Some have gone so far as to favour abolition.
I may say personally I have had
strong views on that line, forned largely
fron articles that I have seen in the press
but as I have come in closer contact with
the work that is being performed by the
Senate. as I have endeavoured to learn during
the short period I have been in the
House soiething of the work of the Senate,
I have corne to the conclusion that it would
not be in the interests of the goverument
of this country to have the Senate abolislied.
I believe that sonething on the lines
of the proposed resolution would be far better
than the abolition of the Senate. This
matter was brought to the attention of those
representing the governient in convention
sone years ago, in the year 1893, when a
convention was held in this city of Ottawa
which I had the pleasure and the honour of
attending, and at w-hidi the resolution whicb
has been already referred to was passed.
We believe that when that resolution was
passed in that convention it was the sincere
thought and intention of those that ýtook part
in that convention, that if the Liberal party
were returued to power, they would endeavour
in sone w-ay to bring about reform in
connection with the Sonate. In connection
with other niatters the government have put
into practice the resolutions that were passed
at that convention, in connection with
other matters to the henefit and advantage
of tlis country, and we believe that they
are still of the sane opinion as at that timue
and nTe desirous of instituting some mensure
of refori in connection witl the Senate.
I believe they have been moving along in
the line of reforn as fast as circuimstances
and conditions would warrant. We find
that in 1899, a Bill vas passed by this
House and sent to the Senate for ratification
but the Senate refused to concur in
that Bill. A similar Bill was passed in
1903, and whlien that was sent to the Senate
the Senate was so reformed that they saw
,the advantage and the merits of the Bill
and they concurred in that Bill which was
drawn up on lines similar to the one previously
thrown out. From a Senate that
was largely Conservative we find that it
las been reformed until to-day it is practieally
a Reform Senate, so I say I believe the
government has been noving on as fast and
as efficiently as circuistances will warrant.
We miust remember that in order that any
change may be effected the Senate must
concur ; they are a body of equal importance,
I presume, in sonie respects at least,
witiT the House of Commons, and in any
matter affecting the constitution or any
change that may be brought about, the support
and concurrence of the Senate would
be necessary. So I believe this government
is willing, as circuistances offer, to take
a position on the line of the resolution that
was passed at the convention I have referred
to. Practically, nearly the steps indicated
might be taken in this direction. I
believe that the time has corne. The country
bas been somewhat aroused, as we know,
regarding the position of the Senate and its
work by reason of the Indemnity Bill that
was,passed during last session. Public attention
has been again drawn to it, and
there is a strong feeling in the country,
everybody is aware of it. that the Senate is
hardIy worth w-lat it costs the country. I
do not say that as a reflection on the Senate.
It is probably not its own fault that the
Senate lias not more work to do. According
to the fori of governient under whicb
we are operating, the work of legislation is
largely perforied by the committees. But
I think a large portion of it nilght be perfornied
by the Senate, that a better division
of work umight be made, always excluding
ioney matters. In legislative matters they
possess equal powers with the Coninons,
but it bas been deemed advisable that the
mîajority of the Bills thit are initiated
should be first introduced in the Comnions.
Consequently the anount of work
that cornes before the Senate is more or less
The fathers of confederation, when they
w-ere drawiig np our constitution, bad two
systeis of upper chambers to choose froi.
There were the British House of Lords and
the Amnerican Senate. The British Hlouse
of Lords, as you know. is largely the growth
of ages, it is probably the oldest upper
chaniber aiong the nations of the world.
As a body it is largely representative of
vested interests rather than a legislative
body, still it possesses legislative powers
and privileges. But they are not in the
habit of availing theiselves of those powers
and privileges. They have mainly come to
be a revising or anending body of Bills that
are passed in the louse of Commons. They
revise or amend Bills as they deei best,
2298 APIRIL 80, 1906 2294
and in some cases rejeet them for the time
being. I think It is Bagshot who says that
their prerogative Is to revise or reject this
once, this twice or this thrice, and finally,
if the Bills are sent up again, they will concur
in them. Your attention bas been called
to that feature, because the Commons has
the power withln itself to appoint an unliinited
number, to the House of Lords, and
can compel them to accept any legislation
that may be sent up to them.
The United States Senate, on the other
hand, offers the system that our fathers
of confederation had especially in view.
that is, a provision for the protection of
state or sectional interests. The Senate of
the United States Is composed of two members
from each state of the union. At the
present time I think the representation is
90 members. not a very large number as
compared with the Senate in Canada. They
have about 90 senators, -representing a population
of over 80,000,000,. while we bave a
Senate of over 80 members, representing a
population of about 6,000,000. We think
that the Senate of the Dominion of Canada
is altogether too large, and that the work
might be done very much better by a smaller
number. In connection with this subject
I have prepared a synopsis of the constitution
of the senates of the leading European
countries, which I will take the liberty of
reading to you :
Germany.-The Imperial parliament of Germany
was constituted on the 16th of April,
1871, and consista of two houses, the Bundesrath
or federal council and the Reichstag or
Diet of the Realm. The former, or Bundesrath,
represents the staites of the empire, and is the
upper house of the imperlal system. It le
composed of 58 members, appointed by 25
states forming the empire. Each state according
to its size, returns a certain number.
Members are not appointed for any flxed term,
but may be recalled at any time by their
governments. Both houses bave equal powers
as regards legislation. No Bill can become
law until it bas passed both bouses. The Budget,
as In nearly al. countries, is settled entirely
by the Reichstag In its details. The
Bundesrath simply accepta or rejects as a
whole. The several German States composing
the empire have ail governments composeS
of two houses.
France.-The constitutional law of France
passed, I think, February 24, 1875, enacted
that the senate should consist of 300 members,
of whom 225 were elected by the departments
and colonies and 75 by the national assembly.
The former elected for a term of 9 years but
the latter held their office for life.
elected by the Departments and Colonies. They
are elected for 9 years, a partial renewal taking
place every three years. The senate has the
power of initiating laws : but again, as is
the case with Germany, Bills relating to financial
matters must be presented dn the ftrst
Instance to the Chamber of Deputies and
voted in that House. The Senate possesses
much less power than the Chamber of Deputies,
but la still able to make its Influence
felt by the latter body.
Italy.-The Italian parliament la composed of
a Senate and Chamber of Deputies, both Houses
possessing constitutionally equal powers. Bills
relating to financial matters must be first introduced
into the Chamber of Deputies. The
Senate bas never made use of its right of
initiating legislation. The principal function it
bas exercised bas been in amending, revising
or rejecting Bills sent up from the Chamber
of Deputies. The Senate Is composed of the
élite of the kingdom, men of mark and wealth.
Men of long experience in the lower House.
They gauge with wonderful accuracy the feelings
of the country. They are generaly In accord
with public sentiment. The Senate of Italy,
with the exception of princes, of royal blood,
ls the only one composed of life members
nominated by the Crown. It is claimed to ba
one of the most influential of the upper Houses
of EuroDe.
Denmark.-The Danish Rigsdag is composed
of an upper and lower House. The Landsthing
or upper House consista of 66 members. Twelve
are appointed by the King for life, chosen from
those who are or have been members of one
of the representative assemblies, while the
remaining flfty-four are elected by the people
for elght years. One-half retiring every four
years. No Bill can pass either House unless
more than half its members are present and
take part In the voting.
Belgium.-The number of members composing
the Senate is hal! that of the number of deputies
composing the lower House. Senators are
elected for eight years, one-half retiring every
four years. In case of a dissolution the Senate
ls entirely re-elected. Constitutionally their
powers are equal with the exception that all
Bills relating to supply must be first voted by
the Chamber of Representatives. Such Bills
may, and sometimes are, amended by the Sonate.
There ls a disposition to conciliate and
as a rule legislation proceeds on harmonious
Ecclesiastical members sit In upper chambers
of Austria-Hungary, Baden, Bavaria, Hesse,
Portugal, Roumania and Spain.
The Portugese House of Peers and the Senate
of Spain include both life and elective
The Bundesrath of the German empire and
the Senates of Belgium, Denmark, France, the
Netherlands, Roumania, Sweden, Switzerland
and the United States are entirely elective
Notice that it is not unusual for the Euro- Von will see that practically every govpeau
countries to change their constitution, orument o! importance bas an upper
and we can do the same. I would also ask chamber. I bave doue a littie readingyou
to notice that in 1871 the Germans not a ver> great deal on this subjetpassed
their law instituting their present but I have closely observed the work o!
form of government. the Senate, I have oudeavoured ta finS ont
In 1,884 the constitution of France was par- ns nearly as I could bow well it bas filleS the
tially revised. No change In the manner was objecta for which it was crateS and I have
made,, but it waa enacted tbat aIl sbauld be came ta the conclusion that th Sonate is
2293 APRIL 30, 1906 2294
a very important part of the government
not only off tbe Dominion of Canada but of
the governments of the various nations of
the world. I have taken the trouble to find
out what the work is that the Senate has
been accomplishing during the last few
years. The Senate has practically equal
powers with the Commons in the matter
of initiating Bills, but by reason of
the working of our system of government
and no doubt because it appears wiser
to the cabinet most of the Bills have
been introduced in this House. The Senate,
however, bas the power of initiating
Bills as I said, and it availed itself
ot this privilege in the year 1900 to the
extent of initiating twenty-five Bills. It
bas the power of amending or rejecting bills.
That same year it amended thirty-one bills.
In 1901 it initiated twenty Bills and revised
or amended the same number ; in 1902 it
lnitiated twenty-seven and revised thirty ; in
1903 it initiated twenty-six and revised
thirty-four ; in 1904 it initiated fourteen and
revised twenty-five and in 1905 it initiated
forty-three and revised forty. It has in
addition made many amendments to Bills
which have been brought in. I have been
informed that as maiiy as seventy-five or
eighty amendments have been made in connection
with one or two Bills that have gone
up to that body for its concurrence or consideration.
I have also observed that the
publie generally is not aware of the amount
of work that the Senate is doing as a large
percentage of its work is accomplished in
committees. It is doing a great deal more
work than the public generally is aware of.
Because of the discussion not taking place
in the chamber there is not so much attention
given to its work and because the discussion
of the most important Bills bas
taken place in the popular chamber the
country is made conversant with the various
points in connection with these Bills and
very little attention is afterwards paid to the
discussion which takes place in the chamber
of the Upper House. I feel, however, tbat
the ‘Senate certainly has not measured up to
or met the popular idea and that there is
room for a great deal of improvement. I
am sure that the resolution which bas been
moved suggesting an age limit and a limitation
of the term of service will commend
itself to the favourable consideration of this
House. I believe that a limitation of the
term would make for the efficiency of that
body. When the fathers of confederation
provided for life appointment their thought
was that it would make for independence.
I think that perhaps they were right but I
belleve the Senate might bo expected to
be just as independent if the members were
appolnted for a term of fifteen years. A
term of flfteen years, I think, would be sufficiently
long to almost preclude the anticipation
of a reappointment and the senators
would be practically as independent and free
to act according to their best judgment with-
out reference to any influence that might be
brought to bear upon them as if they were
appointed for life. I think the adoption
of a term limit of fifteen years would be a
very wise provision. It would in a measure
make unnecessary any provision in regard
to an age limit because I think the members
would in ail probability be appointed before
tbey reached the age of sixty years, or
possibly at an age young enough that the
fifteen years would lapse before they reached
the age of eighty years. Another point in
favour of the term limit would be that it
would provide for the regular appointment
of new senators which would result in the
introduction of new blood at stated periods
because every five years new members to
the numiber of one-third of the total would
be introduced.
In the United States Senate the members
are elected for six years, there is a renewal
e Very two years under which system onethird
of the United States Senate is elected
every two years, thus providing for a rotation
of members which, I think works for
olticiency. 1 would urge also tbat attention
be paid to the age limit. We want a live
Senate, a capable Senate, a Senate able to
do effective and efficient work, and one of
the strongest arguments that ean be urged
against the Senate to-day is that the senators
are not earning their pay. In short we
want to make it a living institution. Canadians
are an intensely practical people ;
tlhey like to see that they are getting the
worth of their money and while they are
generous, I believe at the same time they
like to know tbat men occupying such positions
and drawing a large salary are competent
to discharge their duties with ability
and with diligence. Again as I said, I would
favour a reduction in the number of senators,
and to my mind this is a more important
provision than the other two. The Senate
of the United States representing 80,000,-
000 people bas but a few more members
than has the Canadian Senate. I believe
the number of members in our Senate could
be reduced by one half vithout at all
impairing its efficiency. The Senate was
coustituted w ith a view of representing the
various districts of the Dominion as well
as to some extent on the basis of population,
and hence we find that the maritime
provinces were given 24 senators, the same
as the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
That same idea might be retained even if
the number were reduced, and my suggestion
would be that 12 senators should come
from each of these districts instead of 24 as
at present. I believe that would conduce
to even more efficient work in the Senate
than at present, for the reason that when you reduce the number of such a body there
would be naturally a feeling of greater responsibility
on those who would be callei
to the office. According as you divide responsibility,
you in a maner lessen the effi-
2295 2296
2297 APRIL 30, 1906 2298
ciency of a body, especially wlien the work
is flot so onerous as to demand as mach
time as we think the Senate should devote
to public affairs. The western provinces of
this Dominion now send 10 or 12 senators
and I believe that on account of the large
area they represent they are entitled to a
large number. The population of western
Canada is not very large it Is true, but
in a few years, even if ,we consider only
representation by population, the provinces
in the west would lie entitled to as at least
as many senators as the maritime provinces,
Quebec, or Ontario. Probably they would
be entitled to a greater number, but, it
strikes me that if Manitoba, Saskatchewan,
Alberta and British Columbia, had
eacli four senators it would not be out
of their fair share as compared with
the representation from Ontario, Quebec
and the maritime provinces. On this
basis of reductipa which I have suggested
you would have 52 senators instead of 84,
representing an annual saving to the country
of over $100,000 annually, a consideration
whlch I feel would appeal to the people
of this country.
As to the mode of appointing the senators,
some have advocated election by the
popular vote, but I do not think that would
be wise. In the pre-confederýation’ discussions
George Brown specially referred
tç; this question, and lie objected to an elective
senate on the ground of the expense
that wdjuld be incurred la these elections in
large senatorial districts, and especialiy ln
v~iew of the elections for the House of Gommons,
and the provincial legislatures. Ia
sucli elections la large and widespread districts
there would be a tendency to corruption,
and 1 do not think there would be
any particular gain la having the senators
elected la this way. Moreover, the voice of
the public generally is already expressed to
some extent under our present system. The
cabinet bas the appointment of the senators,
the members of the cabinet are responsible
to the House of Commons, the members of
tilis House are responsible to fihe People,
and so la the appointment of senators the
people have a volce even though it be ln
an indirect way. Some advocate the appolntmeat
of senators by the provincial legisiatures.
Under that system there would
be for one thing the danger of federal lnterference,
the legisiatures might be perhaps
ail Liberal or ahi Conservatives and
friction miglit arise la that way. But, la
order to meet the popular sentiment, and
posslbly In order to brlng the Senate more
la accord witli the genlus of Canadian goverameat,
It miglit not be unwise to give
the provincial legialatures the power to
nominate, say, one out of every four senators.
That, I thlnk, could be very easily
done. If the provinces thought It wise to
delegate that power to the universities they
inlght do so, and In this way posslbly a
wider and better representation might be
Fecured and a fuller expression of public
opinion volced la the Senate. These are considerations
which we miglit take cognizance
of, and la view of the feeling which exists
in the cûuntry towards the Senate and the
work of the Senate, it would be opportune
for the governient to consider carefully
wliether some plan on the lunes suggested la
this resolution may not lie carried out to
the advantage and general welfare of this
Speaker, I do not rise to discuss the general
principle of this resolution; I do not feel
able to-nigit; to do so owing to a severe
cold. But for the sake of information, 1
would Ilke to ask the hon. gentleman w’ho
lias introduced it what the meaning of the
resolution really is. I think I can understand
the first section whicli says, ‘abolish
the life tenure of office, by senators.’ I can
understand, 1 think, the third section which’
says, ‘provide a fixed age, not exceeding
80 for compulsory retirement.’ But the
second section which says 1 ihuit tlie tenure
for one appoiatment to within the legal
terms of three parliameats,’ is not s0 clear.
I apprehend tliat tlie meaning of the lion.
gentleman is this: A senator may *be appointed,
say at the age of 30, lie may lie a
senator for three parliaments, whicli at tlie
outside could not be more than fifteen years.
That would bring liim to tlie age of 45.
Then lie would immediately apply to tlie
goverament of the day, If lis party were in
power, for a reappoiatment. This would
entitie hlm to liold the position until lie was
60 years of age, when, if lis party were still
la power, ho, could reasonably ask to have ls
time extended until lie was 75. 1 understand
tlie purpose of this resolution to be to bring
new life Into the Senate, but are we going
to do it by a system of this kind? I tlii
flot. I think the draftiag of the lion. gentleman’s
resolution could lie very mach improved
upon. 1 do not propose to dl&euss
the resolution. I am surprised that a resolution
of this kind which miglit iead to, the
abolition of thie Senate sliould be brouglit
lu. Both gentlemen who have spoken have
told us that the Senate Is a very Important
body. Why, then, abolleli or weaken it?
1 am not saying that it is an Important or
an unîmportant body. 1 am not golng to
discuss that; it is a big question, and it
would require some lengtli of time, but if
the resolution is to receive the apprôval of
this House I think it sliould lie made more
dellnite than It ls.
Minister). Mr. Speaker, I sincereiy and
very lieartlly congratulate my lion. friends
the mover and seconder of this resolution
for liaving brouglit this important subject
to the attention of the House. I congratulate
tliem especially on the manner and
temper In which they have discussed It. But
2297 APRIL 30, 1906 2298
2299 COMMONS 2300
notwithstanding the criticisms which my
hon. friends have directed against the existing
manner of electing the Senate, it is
on the whole a matter of sincere congratulation
that, as we approach the thirty-ninth
anniversary of the existence of confederatio1,
we can realize that up to this time
there bas been no serious attempt to reform
the work of confederation as It came
from the hands of its framers. The American
constitution under similar circumstances
bas been amended several times during the
saine space of time, and, on the whole, it
may be taken as to the credit of those who
framed the constitution, that their work bas
received so little criticism. It is a matter
of history that of all the features of confederation
the one which bas evoked the
most serions criticism is the very subject
of the Senate. Those who have taken care
tu read the confederation debates know that
upon this point tlere were more radical
differences of opinion than upon any other.
Confederation was first adopted in 1864,
and eight years before, i 1856, there had
been in the old legislature of Canada a law
passed to make the legislative council electire.
whereas under the constitution of 1841
it had been nominative. After years of
agitation what was thouglit to be a reform
was effected in changing the constitution
in that respect, and having the legislative
council elected by the people. Those who
have taken the trouble to read the history
of those days must admit that the new sysem
which was introduced in 1856 by the
parliament of united Canada had most satisfactory
results. It brought into the legislative
council of that day some of the ablest
men who ever adorned any legislature in
Canada-such men as Mr. Chancellor Vankoughnet.
Mr. Letellier St. Just, Mr. afterwards
Judge Sanborn, and a good many
otber naines I do not recollect at this moment.
That was in 1858, and iu 1864, wben
the project of confederation was brought
forward, the people were still under the
saine class of ideas which had caused them
to adopt the elective legislative council istead
of the nominative. The two parties
represented in the confederation goverument
and legislature were at once at variance
in regard to the mode of election of
the Senate, and it is perhaps remarkable
under these circunstances that the leaders
of the two parties at that time, Mr. Brown
and Mr. John A. Macdonald, beld views
which thougb soimewhat at variance at first,
were afterwards reconciled. Mr. Brown was
an advocate of a noninative Senate. He
For myself, I have maintained the appointive
principle, as in opposition to the.elective,
ever since I came into public life, and have
never hes-tated, when before the people, to
state my opinions in the broadest manner;
and yet not in a single instance have I found
a constituency in Upper Canada, or a public
meeting, declaring its disapproval of appoint-
ment by the Crown and its desire for election
by the people at large.
And listen to the views of Sir John, then
Mr. Macdonald:
The on-ly mode of adopting the English system
to the upper House, is by conferring the
power of appointment on the Crown (as the
English peers are appointed), but that the appointments
should be for life. The arguments
for an elective council are numerous and
strong ; and I ought to say so, as one of the
administration responsible for introducing the
elective principle into Canada. I hold that this
principle bas not been a failure in Canada, but
there were causes-which we did not take into
consideration at the time-why it did not so
fully succeed in Canada as we had expected.
Our great cause was the enormous extent of
the constituencies and the immense labour
which consequently devolved on those who
sought the suffrages of the people for election
to the council. For the same reason the expense,
the legitimate expense, was so enormous
that men of standing in the .country,
eminently fitted for such a position, were prevented
from coming forward. At first, I admit,
men of the first standing did come forward,
but we have seen that in every succeeding
election in both Canadas there has been an increasing
disinclination on the part of men of
standing and political experience and weight
in the country, to become candidates ; while
on the other hand, all the young men, the
active politicians, those who have resolved to
embrace the life of a statesman, have sought
entrance to the bouse of assembly.
In these words you see that Sir John Macdonald
was not adverse at all to the elective
system, and on the other haud Mr. Geo.
Brown was absolutely opposed to it and
positively iu favour of the nominative system.
I am not sure that on this point Mr.
Brown was quite in harmony with bis party.
I believe, on the contrary, that the great
tendency of the Liberal party-certainly in
the province from which I ýcome-was in
favour of an elective Senate. But these
points of difference were reconciled, and
afterwards ail parties united in recommuending
ais appointive Senate. Now, confederation
bas been in force sone forty years.
From lime to time there have been outbursts
of public opinion, not very strong
but still noticeable, in favour of a reform
of the Senate. And at no time, I am sure,
bas the present mode of appointment to the
Senate been absolutely accepted by the
Liberal party to which my lion. friends who
moved and seconded the motion and I belong.
At this time therefore I am not surprised
that a revival of the sentimen, wbich
for a long time prevailed in the ranks of the
Liberal party, should find expression again,
asd that some desire should be expressed
for a reform. Well, what would be the nature
of a reform which would 1e acceptable
to all ? This is a question which bas puzzled
more than one. My bon. friends. the mover
and the seconder of the resolution, both referred
to the convention of 1893. which was
2299 COMMONS 2300
APRIL 30, 1906 20
held in this city, and ln whicb the reform
of the Senate was declared necessary ; but
while we macle that affirmation, the difficulty
bas aiways been to settle practically
wbat reformi would be acceptable. At once
we were met, when we tbougbt of reduclng
the idea to iegislation-and it Is a subi ect
wbich has more than once perplexed the
present adylsers of bis Excelleflcy, witb the
difficulty of agreeing upon sucit reformi
as would be satisfactory to ail. limmediateiy
we were met by the line of cleavage
wbicb, up to the present, bas proved aimost
Insoluble. There Is a strong -sentiment, especialiy
ln Ontario, ln favour of the abolition
of the Senate. I beileve, if you regard
the public press as the proper expression of
the sentiment of the people, you wili find
that sucb an opinion prevails. In f act it
may be snid that perhaps flot a majority,
but certainly a large proportion of the
people of Ontario–quite irrespective of politics-
wouid be in favour of tbe abolition
of the Senate. For my part I believe this
would be a mistake, and I could not be induced
to reconcile myseif to such an idea. A
second cbamber seems to -me absoiutely indispensable
under our Êystem of government.
A second chamber bas been beld to
be -necessary for two reasons rwhich were
mentioned by rny hon. friend from Southt
Perth (Mr. Mclntyre). It is supposed to be
a checkt upon hasty legisiation. But this is
an Idea wbiceh bas neyer madle mucit impression
on my judgment at ail events.
Considering the course of sncb legisiatures
In the Dominion wbich are composed of a
single brancb, elected by the peopie–the
IegisIatureý of Ontario, Manitoba, British
Columbia and some otbers-I do not believe
that we need seriouýsly apprebiend nny danger
from the existence of one brancb only
of the legislature. But one consideration
wbich, to my mind, is absoluteiy conclusive
and paramount, is that under our system
of governiment, a second chaLmber is an absoiuteiy
needed safeguard for the smailer
provinces against a possible invasion of
their rigbts by the larger provinces. Tbe
system we have bas been largeiy borrowed
-not entirely, but largely-fromn the constitution
of the American Republic. As we
know in that republic, the bouse of representatives
is elected according to ‘population.
Tbe people of the different states are
represented la Congress according to population.
But ln the Ainerican Senate ne
sncb principie is admltted. In order te
favour tbe ntinorities, tbe constitution baç
provided that every state, big or smaill
sbould be represented ln the Senate by twc
merabers. So tbat the great state of N”‘~
York, the empire state, Is represented Ir~
the Senate by two members, just the sam(
number as the smali state of Rhode Island
aithougit tbat smaller state, sends to tbh
lower branch of the legisiature only tw
members aiso as compared wltb tb4
very much larger number sent by tbe
state of New York. In tact the state of
Rhode Island is represented ‘by two members
ln tbe Senate and two In Congress.
H-ere ia our Senate, as in the Senate of the
United States, we bave not adop.ted tbe
principie of representation by population.
We bave not altogetber adopted tbe system
of tbe American repubiic, but if we were to
have a Teform 1 wouid not be adverse to
adopting in tbat respect. tbe system of our
neigbbouTs and bave eacb province represented
by an equai number of members, wbetber
tbat province be large or smail. Tihis
principle bavinýg been adopted adi±ttediy
for the protection of the smaller provinces,
every one wili admit at once tbat If we
were to remove tbat safegnard, tbere would
be a natural discontent in tbe ýsmaller provinces,
so tbat I contend that we cannot
seriously entertain. even for a moment, the
idea of ever aboiisbi-ng our Senate. The
arguments wbicb we see from time to time
lu the press bave altogetber Ignored that
view of the constitution, wbicb is a true
one, and a paramount argument in favour
of the maintenance of a second cbaniber.
That first suggestion being eiim’inated,
you corne back to the other alternative of
baving an elective Senate. But by wbom
sball it be elected ? We ean revert to the
old system, adopted. In 1856, and bave the
senators appointed, as were tbe legisiative
council of tilat day, by a group of counties,
tbree or four-by a large division. But,
as was pointed out by My bon. friend fromn
Pertht (Mr. Mclntyre) when be said thiat
tbe Canadian people were of tbe opinion
tbat we bave already as many elections as
we sbouid, 1 do not tbink tbere is any serious
desire at tbis moment to bave more
electiotis, even for the Senate.
Another suggestion bas been macle, to
wbicb my bon. fniend from Perth (Mr.
ýMcIntyre) bas aiso referred and that is
to foilow tbe American system and bave
our senators appointed by tbe local legisiatures.
But as soon as bie made that’ suggestion,
he ratber discounted. it ‘by pointing
out tbat the impression exists in thue American
republic that the mode of appointment
*ot tbe senators by tbe state legisiatures bas
not been as satisfactory as was exipected.
*It is a matter of notoriety that ln tbe press
and some of the bigber Periodicals of the
United States, tbe opinion is commonly expressed
tbat tbe Senate of tbe United States,
ibas falien off from the bigb place in wbich
it once stood. and Is to-day, but an assembiy
of plutocrats. Tbat Is a statement ln wbicb,
for my part, I am not at ail disposed to
ragree. 1 tbink that wben one looks at the
work of tbe American Senate, even of tbis
day, be wiii be forced to admit that it is
0f tbe bigbest possible order.
Itmay not be to-day 0f tbe same level
aslit was 40 years ago wben it bad in its
Smidst sucb men as Webster, Caihoun, or
2C3O03M MONS 2304
ClaY, but to-day it lias some of the besi
minds I suppose in the Arnerican union. Il
would be of no use to give names, but WE
remember the late Senator Hoare, wbo foi
more than 25 years was a member Of thE
American Senate and who was a man of
the bigbest abillty and character. We ma3
aise mention one of the present senators,
from Massachusetts, Senator Lodge, whosE
Dame, I believe, is nlot one that we can remember
with very peculiar faveur in Canada,
witli regard to a certain transaction
at least, but wbo is a man of tbe bigbest
cliaracter aise, a man of a very high order
of ability, a man who would adora any body
to wbieh lie belonged. There are quite a
number of other men to whom 1 couid point.
1 was for five or six weeks, in 1898, la
WXashington, and 1 followed the sittings of
the Senate carefully. 1 happeaed to be
there at the time that the treaty with Spain
was dîscussed, and for my part I have to
confess I was impressed witb the bigh character
of the discussion that took place and
t(i wbicb I bad the pleasure of listening. I
admit that there have beeni some scandais
in the election of members to the Senate by
tue local legisiatures. liere was, flot many
years ago, a famous scandai ln connection
witli the election of a senator from Montana.
But that is iio argument against the
mode of appointiiient to the Senate, and if
w-e corne to a couclusion on Ibis subject, I
would suggest tUat this is a malter whieb
migbt weil be considered, wbietber or flot
we would find ln it a proper mode of electioli.
If the members were to be elected Uy
the legislature, one by one, I do not know
that it would ie lte highest and most creditable
men who w-otld lie appointed. I amn
afadthat under sucli circumistances it
w ould be giviag an undue preponderance to
one party over the other. But I bave often
thouglit that if w-e were to have tbe election
of senators by the local legisiatures and
adopt the mode which is provided for in our
miles for the appointment of committees, we
miglit find a solution. By our rules w-e can
bave committees of tue House, if any mernbers
so desire, appoiled not as we appoint
tbemi now, but as they were appointed ln
tormer years. by open ballot. Suppose ydu
have tht-ce senators to be eiected at one
time by the local legisiatures, wbat would
bappen ? If you liad the appointmient made
by open ballot, and one rn w-as t0 be
al)poiated, let us look at what would take
place to-day in the Ontario legislature. The
legislature of Ontario is cornposed of 98 rnembers
of wbom the Conservative party bave
some 68 and the opposition tbe Liberal party,
about 30. If you bad to vote t0 elect tbree
members aI the saine time, by the system of
open ballot, you would lie sure of baving
upon every occasion. two Conservatives
elected and one Lîberal. or I will reverse
theceaaes ~nd then il wnuid lie two Liberals
elected and one Conservative. and Ibis would
be, 1 tbink, as fair a representation as you
t could bave. At tbç present time the Contservatives
are la the ascendency la tbe province
of Ontario, I am very sorry to say.
tAn hon. member the other day, I thlnk lt
was the hon. member for East Simacoe, told
me I was ruing the fact every day of my
ife. I bave ao besitation la confessiag I
arn; It is a great misfortune to the goverament
of tbe day, a greater misfortune
to the country, but that Is their owa funeral
more than ours ; at ail events at tbe present
time the Coaservatives are in the ascendency.
But, if the Conservatives are ln the
ascendency, I would bave no hesitation at
ail la saying tbat, the views of the country,
sucb as they are, lad as they are, if you
wvill, should be represented ia the Senate
for ýwbat tbiey are worth. I arn glad te say
at the preseat time, tbere are other provinces
of the Dominion whicb bave, la my
estimation, a better understanding of public
:tffairs and wbo w-ould make up for the province
of Ontario.
I say that perbaps in tbis matter we
(ould have a Senate properly elected. What
i think we must lie careful to secure, and it
is a serious coasîderation and perhaps nobody
feels it more than the one wbo now
,ddresses the House, is that the Senate
should lie representative of ail classes of
opinion and not only of one class of opinioni,
and if w-e are to adopt a system of that
kind w-e sbouid be sure that under ail circurnstances.
the two parties who represent
idifferent shades of opinion would lie represented
in the Senate.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN. Does the riglit
lion. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) say
th-at underour present constitution lie feels
te mnust select appointees 0f bis own party
wliUen cboosing tiern.
Sir WILFR’IID LAUlIEIL. 1 do not say
Iliat tbat I must select, but I do say to my
ion. friend (Mr. W. F. Maclean) tbat wbea I
bave to corne to the moment of selection, if
1 have to select between a Tory aad a
Liberal, I feel I can serve the country better
by appoiating a Liberai Iban a Conservative,
and I arn very mach afraid tbat any
man wbo occupies the position I occupy tedlay
wili feel the saine way, and tbat so
long as the appointing is as it is to-day la
tue bauds practically of the First Minister,
I arn afraid, we stand little chance for reforrn.
We bave bad a good deaI of reform
ii. the Senate ; It is better than it wns some
yeams ago, perlxaps it is not the ideal tbing
yet, and I arn glad te say that il is Liberals,
il is mea la tbe party la power to-day, who
tlîink we ougbt to take advantage of the position
we are in aI tbe present time, to carry
ont wbat we tbink would lie a better mode
0f appointment. I arn not prepared te say
that at Ibis moment I wouid like t0 pronounce
pracîicaiiy la favour of one system
oi another. Thiat the present mode is nlot
2305 APRIL 30. 1906
satisfactory to my bon. friend (Mr. G. H.
Mclntyre) wbo bas moýved the resolution, is
iiot satisfactory to my hon. frlend wbo bas
seconded it, I knew before tbey spoke, and
1 may say It is flot altogether satisfactory
to myseif.
But tls question Is flot new, It existed 40
years ago wben confederation was debated,
just as it exlsts to-day and the men
of that day, ln view of ail tbe complications
wbich any other mode of. selection
would invoive, tbought that the present
mode of appointrneft, illogical and unsatisfactory
as it may be, was the most practicable.
and perhaps we will bave to continue
the samne mode for some time. But I bave
to say to my lion. frlends that 1 arn quite
satisfled the rnatter sbould be brougbt liefore
parliarnent, 1 would be glad to get expressions
of opinion frorn ail sides, and If
ail parties can corne to sorne conclusion and
tind a mode tbat would be more satisfactory
than thie present mode, find a solution to
this problem, 1 would hall thiat solution from
whiatever quarter it might corne.
My hon. friend (Mr. G. H. Mclntyre) bas
made sorne suggestions, but the suggestions
wvlicli lie bas made are only in my estimation
baif measures ; they do not go to thie
root of the matter at ail. My bon. friend
does not propose to dispense witli the pre-
.sent mode of election, lie would leave it in
the liands of the Crown. But lie tliinks we.
would find a solution by abolisbing the 11f e
tenure in thie Senate and rnaking It, say,
a lo-year tern. There may be sornetbing in
tis but I tliink If we were to approacb tbis
-ubject we should try to approacli It from
a broader point of view than fromn tbe point
of view even of my lion. fniend. I do not
say tliat by way of deprecating wbat lie bas
done, but my hon. friend bas endeavoured
to fiad a very mild rernedy for the evil
whicli le says exists at thie present time. I
hold that if thie Senate lias not given al
the satisfaction we miglit bave expected
frorn it, It is not because tbe Senate bas
done anything wrong ; on the contrary, I
I-wlieve tbe Canadian Senate bas done very
well and that we might well lie proud of it.
If any criticisrn is given it is not for wbat
tbey bave done ; tbey bave done sorne tliings,
wvbicb I arn far from approving, but on the
wbole tliey bave done very well ; that cniticismn
las corne liecause it seems tbat the
iSenate does not corne up to the bigli expectation
of wbat was tbouglit would be the
outeome of the constitution at tbe tirne of
Crlticismn never went furtber tban tbat.
But before we launneh into any scheme in
regard to that matter, we must approacl iIt
la a very prudent way. We are going to
bave this year, I arn glad to say, a conference
of ail the provincial governments, and
I thlnk this question may lie left for consideration
by tbemn. Not that we are bound
ln this matter to consult tbe provinces, lie-
‘eause I think tbat this Is a question over
which this Huse, this parliament, witbout
any reference to the local legisiatures, can
present a petition to the Imperial parliament
for reform. I thlnk, on a question wbere
so mucli delicacy exfsts, it is flot inadvlsable
that we should bave tbe opinion of and
consultation -výltb the premiers of tbe different
provinces wbo are to meet here during
tlie course of tbe present year. The suggestion
whlcb I bave made may or may
not appeal to tbern, but If we do appeal to
tbesn, perliaps we rnay discover some mode
of dealing witb it. Witli this suggestion,
renewlng my hearty congratulations to rny
lion. friend for havlng lirouglit the matter
to the attention of the bouse, I hope lie will
n-ot press bis motion .to a conclusion, but
will agree to witlidrnw it.
Mrn. R. L. BORDEN. I arn rejoiced that
thie Prime Mînister appreciates a littie lietter
thie difficulties of thie situation tlian hie
did wlien lie moved this plank No. 9 in thie
Ottawa platforrn of 18P3. I arn assuming
tliat the riglit lion. gentleman rnoved it, liecause
of thie famlllarity whIch lie bas exhilbited
this evening with regard to thie wliole
subject. I oliserved tliat immediately nfter
six o’clock lie took opportunity to convey
a littie instruction to rny lion. friend wbo
rnoved tliis resolution, as the Prime Minister
did not seem to ‘le altogetlier pleased witb
the reference.
friend is altogetlier mistaken.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. bere is the~ unworn
plaak of the Ottawà platform of 1893:
The present constitution of the Senate is
inconsistent wlth the federal principle in our
system of governrnent, and is in other reýspects
defective, as it makes the Senate independent
of the people and uncontrolled by the publie
opinion of the country, and should be 80
,amended as to bring lt into harmony wi-th tbe
principles of popular goverument.
Tliirteen long years have elapsed since
the riglit hon, gentleman grew eloquent,
even more eloquent tban thie mover 0f thie
resolution, in support of tbe principle there
enunciated, and during ten of those years
lie lis been at the liead of affairs la Canada.
Apart frorn one particular occasion
wlien the Senate rejected a measure which
was passed liy this House, I do not know
that nny very substantial effort lias been
made to carry out tbe prInciples contained
la thie resolution wbicli 1 bave just read. It
is succeeded ‘by plank No. 10, thie prohibition
plebiscite, and It la a littie difficuit to say
wbicb bas been most earnestly and vigorously
followed up from 1896 to tbe present
tirne. It is true that on the occasion to
whicb 1 have just referred the riglit bon.
gentleman and bis colleagues caused to be
introduced Into several of tbe leglatui’es
of Canada a resolutn looking to tbe amefldment
of the Senate. 1 belleve an attempt
was made to Introduce tbat resolution Into
the legisiature o! tbe province o! Quebec
2305 APRIL 30. 1906
2307 COMMONS 2308
and to have it sanctioned by that legisla- first see that his party had a fair working
ture. But rumour Las it that the right hon. majority in the Senate of Canada, a pergentleman
was not so successful in his fectly fair proposition; and after that. he
Sefforts to have that resolution affirmed by would endeavour to carry out what would
the legislature of the province of Quebec be a true and fair principle, that as is, he was in the case of Ontario, New to make appointments alternately from both Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and I think one political parties, or at least occasionally, other province. The view which the hon. from the political party that was opposed gentleman has expressed to-night, that the to him. MIy right hon. friend says that this
provinces have nothing at all to do with cannot be carried tiot. Well, it cannot be
this question, is not one which seemed to carried out unless the right hon. gentleman
commend itself to 1im at that time, be- is willing to carry it out. aud it cannot be
cause it was an open secret that the course carried out unless le finds himself strong
which he took at that time in having these enough and courageous enough to oppose a
resolutions presented in the different legis- certain element in bis party who are always
latures of the provinces of Canada w’as willing and ready to look at the Senate of
merely a prelude and a preliminary to mov- Canada as a refuge for men who are not
ing an address in this parliament looking able to enter the House of Commons, or
to the amendment of the British North Am- who. having entered the House of Coimerica
Act in that regard. mous, are no longer in a position to coi-
Now, the right bon. gentleman has re- mand the suffrages of the people. So long
ferred to the good work which bas been î as any party in power is willing to look at
done by the Senate of Canada. He differs the Senate of Canada merely as a refuge. a
a little from the mover of the resolution reward for men who have performed certain
with respect to that: aud I may say to the party servieks, the present mode of appointmover
of tli.s resolution that possibly the ment will never justify itself to the people
members of the upper House in Canada and we shall always have public indignacould
formulate as good a debate and as tion ready to be excited against the constistrong
a debate with respect to the short- tution of the Senate. 1, for one, do not decomings
of this House of Commons as that sire to be understood as reflecting on all the
which Las been initiated by my hon. friend appointments that my right hon. friend the
in regard to the Senate. Some reference has leader of the government has made to the
been mnade to the action of the Conservaitive Senate or even a majority of thei. lie
majority in the Senate from 1896 until a few bas appointed very many able men. very
years ago. I would like to remind the hon. nany distinguisbed men to the Senate. Sir
gentleman who moved this resolution, and Oliver Mowat, the Hon. David Mills and
the Prime Minister as well-although I need other men of that type, who, although strong
not reminid him. because Le bas done jus- Liberals, were men proper to be appointed
tice to the Senate-that a Liberal member to the Senate of Canada, and their appointof
the Senate admitted in bis place in par- nent justified itself not only to Liberals,
Mument, I think. that the Conservative ma- but to Conservatives throughout the cnjority
of the Senate in Canada. with respect try. But. there have been appointments to
to the Drummond county deal alone, had the Senate wbich have surprised even the
saved the people of this contri-y no less strongest political friends of my right hon.
a sum than $400.000. friend. I am sure that if my right bon.
Now, I realize that the Senate is uot abso- frieud reulizes i-e situation as somo of lis
lutely perfect, and I am sure that all of us, poli-icul friends realize ut he would underat
least most of us, would be disposed fç stand that the remedy for this matter bas
admit tiat the House of Commons is not beon for sone years past auJ is now l bis
an absolutely perfect and ideal body. There awn bauds. auJ tbat be, Juring the short
is not very much wrong with the present Period la wbicbe m2y remain ut the 110:1(
mode of constituting the Sonate. provided of public affairs, wl Le uble stili to do
the right lion. gentleman at the head of this somethiug to improve i-e constitution of
government were a little stronger than Le i-e Sonate of Canada.
bas admitted himself to be to-night. Ris Now, thbre is anotber observation wbb
words, as I interpret them, are these: That I w-ould like to male lu regard to the Souunder
no circumstance does le find himself aie, auJ i- is thut i-e Sonate Las not restrong
enough, or willing, for that matter, ceived at me hands of this goverumeut. and
to appoint a man opposed to him in poli- possibly ut Las fot received ut the bands off
tics, although Le might be a most moderate provions goveruments. i-bt consideraion lu
man, and a man whose appointment to the respect to legislation to wtich it is entitled.
Senate would commend itself to the people Over aud over again siace I have beeu a
of Canada regardless of political party. member of this bouse I bave seea i-e most
Rumour has it, if I am permitted to allude important govornent moasuros sent 1p iu
to rumour, that the right hon. gentleman was a body io t-e Sonate -heu alroady wo Lad
not always of that opinion. that years ago the anouncemont from the governmen
it was bis firm intention that if Le ever did ilai we wore expectoi to prorogue ln two
get into power-and the prospects did not or îbroe days. Thai is not a proper w’ay
look very brighi ut one time-bhe woulJ to treat an important legisnatine sly
APRIL 30, 1906
of co-ordinate powers and jurisdiction to
those wbich we possess. How can you
expect the Senate to command public confidence
wben you huddle the wbole of the
estimates and balf a dozen very important
Bills into the Cbamber of the Senate just
two or three days before parliament is expected
to prorogue ? The Senate ought under
proper conditions to be as good a legislative
body-I would be prepared to go further
than that-I would say it ought to be
a better legislative body than the House of
Commons. My own observation in the province
of Nova Scotia, before I came into
this parliament, bas been, that, although the
policy of the Liberal government of Nova
Scotia was very much the same as that of
this government has been since I bave been
in public life, namely to use the legislative
council of Nova Seotia as a refuke for men
who had performed some party service and
who had very little if any other qualification,
nevertheless, there have been some
good men appointed, and the legislative
council of Nova Scotia bas been a better
legislative body during the last ten or fifteen
years than the bouse of assembly. This
should also be truc of the Senate. I am
inclined to agree that possibly the Senate
bas not always exhibited that diligence and
industry w-hih so important a legislative
body might have been expected to exhibit.
I trust that there will be a little more diligence
and industry in regard to important
and pressing public questions displayed by
the Senate in the future. I know that Ilt Is
very easy to be critical and I dare say
that deficiencies, or defaults, of ibis kind
may be due in some measure at least to
causes which a mnember of the House of
Commons not especially faniliar with the
conditions in the Senate cannot always very
readily appreciate; but I think it is the opinion
throughout the country that a considerable
number of senators are a -little more inclined
to consider adjournments and not
too numerous sittings than, they are to take
a very active or pressing iriterest in public
questions which are always to the fore in
this country, and some of which, at least,
should be of interest to the Senate, and
ought to .be discussed in the Senate from
time to time.
The bon. mover of this resolution (Mr.
G. H. MeIntyre) bas, I think, performed a
service in bringing this matter to the attention
of the House. Apparently it will not
have any very great practical.result as the
Prime Minister bas asked that the resolution
shall De withdrawn. I might observe
in that connection that, following plank No.
9, to which I have already called attention,
I find, in Political Pointers No. 3, issued by
the right hon. gentleman and bis supporters
In the year 1900, the following passage :
This às the only plank that so far bas not
be-en effectively dealt with by the Liberal gov-
ernment, but the subject has not been lost
sight of.
I assure the bon. mover of this resolution
that the subject will not be lost sight of by
the Prime Minister, and that probably in the
next six years we shall make ‘just about
the same progress, if unfortunately ,the country
shall keep the right hon. gentleman in
power,’ whlch I think is extremely improhable-
but in that contingency we will
make at least as much progress as bas been
made from 1900 to the present time. I am
sure that with that assurance from myself,
coupled with the assurance already
given by the Prime Minister, the hon. gentIeman
who bas moved this resolution will
De more than satisfied with the work h1e bas
done to-night. I must give the whole of
this paragraph. There is only one other
Great constitutional changes of this kind Involve
much consideration, and the co-operation
of the imperial government and parliament.
Those considerations, I might add, do not
seem to have obtruded themselves upon the
attention of the Liberal conference in 1893
when in so light hearted and joyous a manner
they committed tbemselves to plank No.
9 to whieh I have already alluded. I repeat
that the remedy, in so far as the constitution
of the Senate is concerned, Is within
the hands of this present administration
during the period in which they shall continue
in power, and I agree with my right
bon. friend the leader of the government
that the evils, if they De evils, which have
been referred to by the bon. mover of this
resolution, do not seem capable of being
remedied to any great extent by the adoption
of the resolution which bas been moved
Mr. FINLAY. May I ask the hon. gentleman
(Mr. R. L. Borden) a question ?
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. More than one.
Mr. FINLAY. The hon. gentleman seems
to think that our honoured premier should
appoint Conservatives to the Senate. Did
h1e ever know of a Liberal senator being appointed
during the Conservative regime ?
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. I was not quite prepared
for cross-examination but I am informed
that Mr. John Macdonald, of Toronto,
a strong Liberal, was so appointed. I
would like to inform the bon. gentleman
who has asked me the question that in stating
what I did to-night in regard to what
might be done I was only voicing what
every common rumour attributes to the
Prime Minister as being bis intention when
once lie had secured a working majority in
the Senate. Whether that may bave been
his intention in years gone by h1e knows
better than I do. I was alluding to that,
not to the suggestion to which the bon. gentleman
just now calls attention.
2309 – 2310
2311 GOMMONS 2312
Mon. W-M. PATERSON (M-\inister of there were betwenl 12 and 15 Liberal sena-
Customs). Are we to uinderstan’d that the tors out of 80 ;and for 25 years the Conbon.
gentleman (Mr. R. L. Borden), when serviltive government had been calling Couhie
becomes Prime Minister, intends to fol- servatives to the Sonate if you except the
10w tha.t course ? case of 31r. McDonald. Several years after
the Liboral party came to power thore was
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. If my hon. friend a aiajority of Conservatives in the Senate.
(Mr. Paterson) should retain that vigour of The hon. the leader of the opposition Who
intellect and body which have always char- says thiere was no0 attompt mado to carry
acterized him since I have beea la this eut this plank in the Liberal -plaform, has
Ilouse 1 will promise him thint just as sooa been able te discover that the Prime Minisas
the Consorvative l)alty acquiros a fair ter has communicated with the provincial
working majority la the Senate- legislatures to soe what their feeling was
Some hon. MEMBEIIS. Hear. hear. on the matter. Why did not the Conservativo
party during their manly years of office
Mr. R. L. BORDEN1ý. 1 shahl be glad mako an attempt te reform the Senate, when
10 entertain a proposai from niy hion. friend we have now the leader of the opposition
(Mr. Paterson) lookinig to bis entering that sýayinlg tbat reform is needed. But does it
august body at tbe earliest possible moment. say nothiug for the rigbt hon. the Prime
Minister, Mr. PATERSON. does it say nothing for the Liboral Much as I might desire mnembers w-ho propesed and seconded this
it, 1 do net think 1 eau thiank the leader o~f resolution ; does it say nothing for the Lihthe
opposition for the offer hie bas mnade. eral members of tbis lieuse, that they are
Mr. R. L. BORDENX. It is made il thce 11w willing 10 consider aad If possible te
kinId sastu rseiyroitu .devise some way wliereby a reformi can be
kindeat ssuprrietI en. rougbt about, when tbey are la the înajority
M~r. PATERSON. I quite appreciate the l flie Senate, and when if they liked they
spirit of the effer, but 1 wonld pref or te ceuld go aieng as the Coaservative geveruenter
the Senlate by soeme other meanls. ment did for 25 years conltinuing te incroase
Mr. . L.BORENh. atis nt e their majerity lu the Sonate. Is it net te
r. Iout. LBOD .Thtineveythe credit of the Liberal party and te the
graceus.Liberal Prime Minister, that la the face of
Mr. PATE~RSON. 1 think, speakinig from that opportunity te miiintain supromacy in
recollectien, that durinig aeariy ail the fivo tbe Senate, hie is wiiling te censider changes
years of the Mackenzie administration the thait weuld make the Senate more consistent
Senate was la tbe hands of our Conserva- w-ith popular and respeasihie goverament.
tive friends, and Mi. Ma’ckezie adth There is ne denyiag that life appointmeats
powver of mentiening te the Governer Gen- dIo net stimulate mien or tend te hring eut
erai whmi hie would like te hoe calied te fill the best tbat is in them. One of the propethe
vacancies ia that bedy. The hon. gen- .illons of miy bon. frienld (Mr. Mclntyre)) is
tliman bas heen told that there was ene tbat life ternis sbould cease. These Who ho-
Liberal appeinted dnring the long teri of leve il respeasible governmiient and wbvo
Sir John MNacdonald’s power. That geiitle- deeju it advisable that a legisiature should
mnan was an indepeadent Liberai and aiways carry eut the wislies of the peeople, sve tiiere
ciaimied te be an independlent Liberal. 1 is5 a weakness la our constitution la that
sat la this Mlise with ilai, and if my *me- xc speet. ‘]’he Britisb Ileuse of Lords bias
mery serves nie right, hie was net at ail a life tenuire of office and its memibers are
tinies feunld veting with the Liberal patY, la-rgely- bereditary, but it lias heen pointed
but sometimies, perhaps net ver oenho (ut there is the salegnard that: flie Lords
voted lu support ef Sir John Macdlonaid’s c-ai nnet Pc obstructive ef liopular legisiatien
geverîîmieîît. for ail fimie hecause there is the I)oNve of
Mr. 8AM HUGHES. lHe w-as an iliteili- creating inew peers. That power lias net
gelit inlan. – been exercised. hut nevertleless it is tiiere
Io lie exercised if tlhere w vas a persistent
MIr. PATIERS$ON. In repiy te ily hon. .ttelimpt te ehs;truct the popuhar mwill. Under
fiiend ()Il,. l”inlav) this ene case of an Inde- or constitution the Sonate, if they saw fit
pendent Liberal beiiîl. called te tlie Senate Io doe se, could i)erslstently obstrîlct the
by Sir Johîn Macdonald, balis been poiiited legisiation demanded] hy tlic lpeople. anid
te. Ihere is no remedy. But, undi(er oui consti-
Mi. . F.MACLAN.b ere~ tîtion if mon slîeuld forget their respon- eueF eW F. IAn-N.sWir s or ‘iliity. and foilow oui.) tlîeir o-wîi inîclinatienis.
tile Sonate miglit ebstrîxet legisiation
Mr. PA1TERSON. But Sir Wilfrid Laurier tlesignied fer the welfare of tue peopie-of
la;s miel heei !l powver se long as Sir Johin course I dIo liet l)elive tlie Sonate wouid do
Mae1(dauald. Tue Coiiservatives; were in o-and w-hiei the direct rdl)resentatives 0f
poe c foir 25 yoars; auid lîow they are able the people illiglit try la vain te secure.
te point te eue indepeudent Liheral Poing2: Tbere is ne reproach te the Liberal party
ealied te tlie Sonaite dluriig that tfinie. When iecéause thiey have net heen able te effeet
thie T.iherai party came inte power la 1896 ‘this reformi hefere nlow. It is te the crodit
2813 APRIL 30. 1906 21
of the Liberal party that ail the planks of’
tbe Liberal platform of 1893 have been
deait witb except this one. .That ls certainly
to tliQir credit.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Dld the lion. gentleman
understand me as saying that ?
Mr. PATERSON. I understood you to
rend that.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. I read It, but it
was from your own literature, and the presumption
is that there is flot much truth ln
Mr. PATERSON. And does the hon. gentleman
presume to deny it?
Mr. BERGERON. Whicli one lias been
carried ont
Mr. PATERSON. I wouid rather ask
the lion. gentleman which lias not, except
this one.
Mr. BERGERON. Which one bas been
Mr. PATERSON. Did you not have a
Mr. BERGERON. Yes, and it cost about
Mr. PATERSON. Weil, 1 have given you
one, haven’t I?
Mr. BERGERON. Have you granted prohibition?
Mr. PATERSON. Wasn’t it a piedge that
tlie customs rate of taxation should be reduced?
Mr. BERGERON. Wliere is your promise?
Mr, PATERSON. Emliodied ln tlie tariff,
tas far as tliat is concerned. Didn’t it express
regret at the terrible additions being
made to the public debt of Canada and
declare that the debt sliould not be lncreased
as it was being increased? And wliat lias
been tlie resuit ? Wliy, the net publie debt
stands to-dày at just about wliat it was
when we took office, probably it is lower,
measured by the proper standard for measuring
the public debt. If you take it at
so mucli per head, with the increased population
in the country, the public debt lnstead
of being lncreased lias ‘been lowered,
and lowered very materiaily. So you may
go through tlie différent planks of that platform
and maire yourself acquainted witli
tlie legisiation tliat lias been enacted and
then see liow the Liberal party have carried
ont their piedges; and now we have this one
plank, notably a very difficuit one, as the
Prime Minister lias said, of being accompiislied,
but on which nevertlieless the Liboral
party have, not so far as I am awaro,
changod their ideas as adoptod ln 1893, that
it Is desirable that tlie constitution of the
Senate shouId, as far as possible, be amended
so as to bring it more ln harmony with
the principies of popular and responsible
Mr._R. L. BORDEN. I observe aIso lmmediately
precedlng this:
We den-ounce the principle of protection as
radlcally unsound and unjust to the masses of
the people, and we declare our conviction that
any tarif£ changes based on that principle muet
fail to afford any substantial, relief from the
burdens under which the country labours.
Mr. PATERSON. Read on; that is not
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. (reading):
This issue we unhesitatlngly accept, and upon
it we await with the fulleet confidence the verdict
of the electors of Canada.
Mr. PATERSON. There is something bofore
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. You want more than
That the cuàtoms tariff of the Dominion
should be based, flot as it je now, upon the
protective principle, but upon the requirements
of the publie service; that the existing tariff,
founded upon an un&ound principle, and used,
as lt lias been by the government, as a corrupting
agency wheTewith to keop themselves
in office, lias

Share this: