Canada, Senate Debates, “Vacancies in the Senate”, 5th Parl, 4th Sess, (3 May 1886)

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Date: 1886-05-03
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Senate Debates, 5th Parl, 4th Sess, 1886 at 328-350.
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That an humble Address be presented to
Hie Excellency the Governor (ieneral, eXpressing
the opinion that it is not in the publie
interest that any more vacancies in the SentoB
arising from death or any other cause, eho
be filled, until the people of the Dommitlif
have had an opportunity, at the next enee
election, to express their views respecting fbe
constitution of the Senate.
He said: I believe I shall best Con
sult the convenience and the pleasure O
the House by being as brief as I possiblY
can in bringing this motion to its notice.
I am sure that the House will tyday
discuss this important question froIn. e
higher standpoint, from the standPOint
that under the Confederation Act the
Senate of the Dominion was designed to
be a high judicial body. Such mas the
purpose of the framers of the Corfederation
Act, designing it to be a safe-guard to
prevent all maladministration fromn either
the one or the other of the two great
political parties of the country. wheD
the Senate acts as a partisan body it fai
to fulfil its mission to the country.
regarding the past appointments to tb’s
Chamber, every une must admit tbSt
those selected have been the promlinen
men of their respective districts.
those very men been elected by the peoP.
we should then have had the Senate
accord with public sentiment. I ne
not weary the House by gomg over group 1
which is familiar to every one. We
know how the Senate has become allost
entirely composed of Conservative ern
bers. Have we not found the leader o
the Governinent, and the so termed leader
of the Opposition for some years Con
plimenting each other in debate. sueh
conduct explains itself. It requires no
comment from me. When the senior
member from Halifax, Senator power, 0 .
of the most industrious members of tlis
House, tries to do his duty, he generallY

neets ‘with much interruption. It
“ýnot be expected that the enlightened
People of a rising country such as this is
WlIpermit this peculiar state of things
.,0 gon : and would it not be more
8nified and more graceful for this august
tbhoed y to take the initiative to day in aiding people to have Parliament framed anld formed so as to secure for them faithfui,
wise, and honest administration of
eir public affairs ? If ever there was
a People upon earth that deserve to be well
9Oerned, it is the people of this
hOninion. What a bright picture of
huinan life we behold in the rural districts
Of the Province of Quebec-tbeir beauti-

speaking people representation in the Ca”
inet in this House, and at the sanie tilne
pronouncing that they will not do it.
that treating the minority with the respeC
and consideration to which they art
entitled ? I say no. Neither is
an acknowledgement of the services
which the Province of QuebeC h
rendered to the Government of the day’
It cannot be denied that the presen t
ministry owe their position to the Province
of Quebec ; still that is the way we art
treated. I thank the hon. member frOr
Woodstock for having brought this mlltter
before the House, because I would ‘
have ventured to speak on this questi,
of dur rights had not this motion afford
me an opportunity to say a few words.
would have the Government renenbem
there is a Province of Quebec; that there
are in that Province two official language
and that both languages have a right to
represented on the Treasury benches
HON. MR. POWER-I think it iS
be regretted that the hon. gentleman frO
Woodstock should have given this flot
of motion without any consultation, asthe
as I am aware, with any member off this
House. In order that a resolution oete
sort should be productive of a debare
which would be of much value,. ther
should be consultation and preparatiofiS tohe
the part of other members to discuss
question. I took the liberty to sec
the hon. gentleman’s motion sinipIY b’
cause I thought it was, on the whOe a
move in the right direction. If I had
Vacancies [MAY 3, 1886] in ,te Senate.
been asked to draw up a resolution of that
Character myself, it might not have been
Worded perhaps in the isame way ; but
sUbstantially the resolution is one which
“Àm)y opinion deserves our support.
4his House at the present time is com-
POsed of about three-fourths Conservatives
and one-fourth Liberals and Inde-
Pendents. The hon. gentleman’s
resolution, as I understand it, simply
Proposes that during the short time which
1a to elapse before the next general election
this disproportion shall not be IIcIeased, and that is not an unreasonable
otion. What good will be done to the
country or to Parliament by a further
nlicrease of the disproportion between
the two parties in this Chamber ? I do not
think that any hon. gentleman can point to,
aniy possible advantage that will arise to
the country by it; and if we do not fill
Up the vacancies we save the country a
!ttle money–not a great deal, but still a
little. There would be also this further
Practicai advantage about it, that suppos-
‘ng at the next general election the present
advisers of the Governor-General
were found not to possess the confidence
?f the najority of the electors, the incomg
Government would have an opportunity
to fill a few vacancies in this House,
so as to give them at least a reasonable
aunt of strength to enable them to
CY on the public business in the Senate.
at would be a desirable consummation,
*’d I think hon. – gertlemen of the
COnservative party must feel that also.
chaey would not wish, if there were a
change of administration, that the Governtuent
should be carried on with so ridicul”
1Y small a representation in this House
to ‘t Would have to be if the change were
ttoh tta ke place to-day, and if the vacancies now exist were filled up by the pre-
Sdminstration. That is a practical
a11Iumlent in favor of the hon. gentleman’s
4Oto. I do not see any object at all to
gained by filling up those vacancies. I
hWnhloict hg oing now to discuss the objects a House like this exists. They
been discussed at different times in a Chamber and in a great many other
1th and hon. gentlemen are familiar
e arguments in favor of the exist-
Ch such a body; but the truth is that
Chamber, as at present constituted,
not fulfil satisfactorily any of the
objects for which the Senate is intended.
A second Chamber which is a mere echo
of the Lower House, is of no value in the
Constitution. If the second Chamber has
no independence-if it never crosses the
will of the Lower House-if it never rejects
a measure which is adopted by the
ruling party in the Lower House,
or if it never largely amends such a
measure, of what value is it? This is a
very handsome room, and there are a
number of very respectable and dignified
looking gentlemen sitting here, and there
are occasionally very good speeches made
here; but that is not what the country expects
from the expenditure that is made
on account of this House. They want
something a little more substantial than
that; and if this House is simply intended
to register, as it has been registering for a
number of years, the decrees of the
Premier of the day, then I think we might
as well not be here, and that there is
certainly nothing whatever to be gained in
the public interest by filling up the existing
vacancies. If there is any chivalrous
feeling in the majority of this House they
will vote for the resolution of the hon.
gentleman from Woodstock. I have
heard gentlemen of the Conservative party
in this House, say that they wished that
the Government would appoint some
Liberals to this Chamber in orderthat there
might be-not anything like a balance
of parties, but that there might at least be
a respectable representation of the weaker
party in this House; and these gentlenien
who entertain that feeling can at any rate
carry out their views, to a certain extent,
by supporting this motion. It does not
seem that there is likely to be much
interest taken in the discussion to day;
and I do not propose to trouble the House
any further.
agree with my hon. friend to-day.
HON. MR. POWER-The hon. gentleman
never does.
HoN. MR. KAULBACH-I do not
think that anything is to be gained by perpetuating
race, provincial and party prejudices
; in all these matters Canadian unity
.should be our watchword, on it depends our
welfare, security,peace and future greatness,
Vacancie8 [SENATE] in the &nate.
and 1 do not think anything of that kind
would result if this resolution,which suggests
a violation of the constitution, were to pass.
In the second place, looking at it from a
practical point of view, if it could be acted
on itwould disfranchise certain portions
of Canada from representation for an
indefinite time, which is a matter of very
great importance.
HON. MR. SMITH-What would?
motion should pass in-this House, and if
it could be recognized by the executive,
appointments would not be made for
years, at least for more than a year, and
many years might pass before it would be
of any practical use in this body. The
Imperial Government would first have to
change our Constitution. I do not believe
with thehon. gentleman from Halifax that
this House bas been a mere registering
body of the acts of the House of Commons.
I think we have done much more
than that ; I think the hon. gentleman
fron Prince Edward Island will agree
with me that rights, privileges and interests
of the smaller provinces, have been
guarded and secured by the action of this
House, and that Prince Edward Island
especially has gained largely through the
action of the Senate. We have amended
and improved many bills which have come
up from the Lower House, and have
rejected measures from the Commons, not
odly when the Reform party was in power,
but under a Conservative Government;
and in doing so I believe we had the
support and endorsement of the people
of the country. It is all very well
for gentlemen here, when they once
get a seat in this House to talk of
making Senators in the future elective ;
but if they were outside, they would not
be so likely to go to the people for election
to this Senate. I believe that if the
Senate were constituted differently from
what it now is it would not be in the
interests of the country. You might bring
men here coming from a higher position
in the country-elected by a higher
element in the country, than gentlemen to
the House of Commons and they might
have more independence of action on
questions of finance-and exercise it in a
way that would not be for the harmony of
both branches or be considered as in the
interests of the people as a whole. BY
this resolution we suggest that there is
something wrong in the constitution of
the Senate. It bas not been shown that
there is, but it is a suggestion to actuallY
invite the people to look into this matter
and to admit that we ourselves feel that
we do not represent the people as we
should, and we actually invite the people
to inquire into the matter. It is not a
proper motion. The hon. gentleman fro”m
Woodstock has over and over again, in a
most fulsome manner, talked of the
Senate as a body of independent gentlemen
as being representative of every
branch of industry, of every trade and Of
every important interest in the countryof
extensive knowledge and power in
debate-that all interests are highly
represented by hon. gentlemen in this
House. At times he indulges in such
addresses to the House, and at other
times he condemns the Senate as being
merely the mouthpiece of the party .in
power. I am surprised at the inconsistency
of the hon. member, and I do not
think that any other gentleman in this
House would introduce such a resolution.
This resolution is likely to have the saie
result as all motions that emenate fromi
that hon. gentleman-it must result in
nothing. The Opposition raay suppose
that we are not independent because we
don’t think and act as they do. But We
have acted and do act in accordance with
the views and wishes of the people-the
great majority of the people in all the
HON. MR. McINNES (B. C.)-It Was
not my intention to say anything on this
subject until I entered the chamber a few
moments ago, but I made a promise to the
hon. junior member from Hamilton, at his
request, that if I made a few observations
on this subject the House and country
would have the benefit of a speech froml
him. Consequently, in order to carry Out
that pledge, I feel called upon to make a
few remarks, but instead of following the
line of argument of the hon. gentlemae
who has just taken his seat, I will brieflY
state that I think this House is under an
obligation, to the hon. gentleman frOm’
Woodstock for bringing this important and
living subject before our notice and before
Vacancies [MAY 3, 1886] in tMe Senate.
the notice of the country. It is an undoubted
fact that the Senate is not held
mitlh at estimation throughout the Dominion
that it ought to be, and however well
People may be disposed to look upon a
second chamber, I claim that the vast
najority of the people feel that this House
does not represent the true interests of the
country-that it is not representing the
sentiments of a majority of the people of
this country. If the present Government
remain much longer in power I have every
reason to believe that the Senate will not
rernain as at present constituted foranother
five years. It cannot remain much longer
as it is at present. My idea is that the
CoIstitution of the Senate ought to be
changed without delay. I believe that the
Provinces, or rather the local legislature,
Ought to appoint the members of the Senae
for life or for a very long period of
years. Next best to having the senators
appointed by the local legislatures, let
them be elected by the people for a period
of from nine to twelve years, and let onethird
retire every three or four years.
HION. MR. KAULBACH-More provincialism.
HON, MR. McINNES (B. C.)-I believe
that if the provinces had the appointifg
of the senators, they would come here
and feel that they were not under any
Obligation to the right hon. leader of the
Government, or the leader of the Opposition,
that they would come here as true
representatives of the province in the first
Place, and after that the interests of the
Dominion as a whole. What is the fact
to day ? There is not a member here,
who has received his appointment from
either Government, that does not feel
Under more or less restraint or obligation
to the party or leader of the party that
aPpointed him, and members are to that
extent shackled and bound. In many
lastances I am quite satisfied that hon.
gentletnen here would take a different Stand from what the dc, where it not
that they feel they owe their appointment
tu the present Government and con-
.euently must support all measures 1ntlOduced by them. If they came here,
ahe have suggested, as representatives of
Provinces, they would come no know-
Mg One Party or the other; but would
come to -discharge their duty to the
country, and I believe the sooner that
systern is adopted, the sooner this House
will become what it was intended to be,
a grand judicial, deliberative body, and
a check on crude legislation emanating
from the other House-not a mere recording*
body as- we have beeri for a very
considerable time.
HON. MR. TURNER-Being challenged
by my hon. friend opposite, I think
it is due to myself that I should make a
few remarks. There is one thing that has
been accomplished by this debate. We
have had the hon. member from Woodstock
moving resolutions from the comiencement
of the session, and until to-day
he has not had a seconder. I give the
hon. member from Halifax credit, therefore,
for boldness in seconding this
resolution. With regard to the statement
of the hon. member for Woodstock that
he has a very high opinion of the late
appointments in this Senate, and thinks
that if they had been elected by the
popular voice, they would have been perfectly
qualified to sit in this Chamber, I
confess I do not see how an election would
affect the abilities of those gentlemen in
any degree.
HON. MR. McINNES (B. C.)-Has
the hon. gentleman reference tc me ?
HON. MR. TURNER-No, my reference
is to the remarks of the hon. gentleman
from Woodstock. So far as I am
concerned, I differ from some of the
speakers on the other side ; I think that
the business of this House is managed in
a very becoming manner, and with a great
deal of caution and judgment, and . I
feel perfectly satisfied also that if
the present Opposition were in power tomorrow,
they would receive the same fair
treatment and the same kindly. feeling
from the, members on the now Government
side of the House as the Government
dô at present. At least, I speak for myself,
and I feel satisfied that I voice the
sentiments of the great majority of the
members of this House.
HoN. MR. POWER-The hon. gentleman
was not here when the Conservative
party were in Opposition or he
would know better.
Vacancies [SENATE] in Me Senate.
HON. MR. TURNER-For my part, if
the Government bring in whac I consider
to be injudicious and unwholesome measures,-
I certainly shall oppose them, no
matter what party may be in power. I
am satisfied that the previous Government
brought in some very unwise measures,
and I would have opposed them hàd I
been here. I accepted a seat in this
House with the full determination of
acting according to the best of
my judgement, whatever Government
might be in power, and of giving my vote
for such measures as I considered were
in the best interests of the country ; and
that resoution I intend to adhere to as
long as I have the honor to occupy a seat
in this Chamber. One of the fundamental
reasons for creating this Senate was to
protect the interests of the smaller provinces,
so that their interests could not be
overborne by the greater power and influence
of the larger provinces. To carry
out the plan proposed by my hon. friend
opposite-to keep the vacancies open for
some years, would be perfectly ridiculous.
To carry his argument to the reductio ad
absurdum, supposing all the members of
one of the smaller provinces died in the
meantime, that province would for an
indefinite period be unrepresented in the
Senate. I consider it is the duty of the
Government to fill up the vacancies as
they occur, and to keep the balance of
power, so far as the interest of the provinces
are concerned, as originally
HON. MR. SCOTT-Lest my silence
be misconstrued, I feel it my duty to say a
word on the present occasion-and only a
word, because I do not intend to discuss
this question at length. It is very well
known that I have,’on former occasions, in
answer to some hon. gentlemen, expressed
my views in favor of a re-construction of the
Senate,’ either entirely on the elective principle
or the combined elective and nominative
principles. I am not at present committed
to the particular character of the
nomination hereafter-either by the provincial
Assemblies or by the people; but
that some change is imminent must be apparent
to every gentleman who takes an interest
in the character, in the honor, in the
dignity and position that this Senate ought
to occupy in the country. To say that the
Senate at this moment commands the respect
of the people is idle and absurd when
we remember for one moment that nearlY
one-half of the people of Ontario, the premier
Province of the Dominionis represented
in this Chamber by only four gentlemien.
I am not now including the hon. member
from Woodstock, because he announces
his position as a Conservative opposing
the administration; but excluding that
hon. gentleman, there are just four meml’
bers of the House who are in sympathY
with the great Reform party in the Province
of Ontario, a party that, if yOU
consult the electoral lists either of the last
or of the preceding election, you will find
in point of members differed very little
from the party that gained the ascendencY.
By a careful manipulation of the constituencies,
which was carried out with the
assistance of this House, and by othSr
devious and improper methods, the
representation of Ontario has been revolutionized,
as it will be changed, no doubt,
by the assistance of this House, at the
next election when the elective franchise
goes into operation, under the skilful
manipulation of the revising barristers in’
the different counties where the votes can
be changed from one side to another. 1
mention these points in order to show
that it is utterly preposterous to talk about
this Senate meeting with the approbatiOni
of the people of that Province at al1
events-the Province for which I sPeak
and from which I come. We live in a
democratic age, when a chamber constituted
as the Senate is, differs entirely frOn’
any other legislative body on the face Of
the globe. Even European countries,. far
behind us in intelligence and knowledge
of constitutional government, have upPer
chambers elective either wholly or partially.
In Canada a nominated chamfber
is entirely repugnant to the first princiPles
on which we are governed. Our municipalities,
our town councils, city councis,
and county councils are all elective, and
many of our offices are filled by electiOn-
The tendency of the age is towards elective
representation. The people are the
masters. It is idle to say that any government-
I am not speaking of the appointments
made by any particular administration,
because it is the tendency of governments
to appoint their friends-will aP’
point their opponents. In many in-
Vacanciea [MAY 3, 1886] in the &nate.
stances gentlemen who are entitled to,
hold commanding positions in the
Country have been appointed : in others,
gentlemen who are not so fitted for the
Position, who have never been elected
and could not be elected for any con-
Stituency, but who have been found in
the way of ambitious members of the
“ouse of Commons, have been appointed
to the Senate to clear the way-those are
the motives and .promptings that have
governed this administration in making
their appointments, and I do not
fOr one moment mean to say that any
Other administration would do much
better. It might and might not, I
should hope that a Reform administration
would do much better, but I
do not. claim any superior lence excel- in that respect for the party to,
which I belong, because it is in the
natural order of things. According to the
history of this Senate, it is used simply
for the political exigencies of the governmnent
of the day. That is the fact; and if anybody chooses to look back the last Sixteen or eighteen years he will find my
Words confirmed. What was the character
Of this Upper House when it was elective ?
Ssay it was superior to this body to-day
-It was a more independent body. Your
Presence in this Chamber to-day in Ottawa
18 due to the elective Legislative Council
‘of old Canada. Year after year the re-
Preentatives of the people of Upper and
end Lower Canada in the Lower House
omnbined to keep up the system of moving
the seat of government from Toronto Io
duebec and Quebec to Toronto to the
sgust of the great body of the people.
WOg stopped it ? The Legislative Council
bf old Canada, not a nominative body
bs an elective body, refused to pass the
stiIemates because- the government perrretrendov
alI no f pthuett ing in an item for the government from Toronto to Quebec and vice versa. In that way
apermanent seat of government was
Obtained. We owe to the people of
e tario, at all events, the selection of the
Ve best men from that province in this
Cean1ber. The leader of the governruent,
Whose absence, in union with all of
S I deplore to-day was elected by the
e, and has been an honored member
sea s body ever since. Those who held
the old Legislative Council of
Canada were naturally the first named,
under patents, by Her Majesty to the
Senate when Confederation took place.
We owe the presence of Sir David Macpherson,
and even of the hon. member
from Woodstock himself, to their election
by the people. To the cause, also,
we are indebted for my hon. friend on my
left (Mr. Allan), a gentleman second to
none in this House, and my hon. friend
behind me (Mr. Read) who has shown
such excellent judgment on all occasions,
and my hon. friend opposite (Mr. Vidal).
I think they all feel stronger in their position
here because they have been chosen
by the people. My hon. friend from
Hamilton just now said he would be prepared
to treat any government fairly
whether he was in harmony with them
politically or not. I quite appreciate his
sentiment, but if he had sat in the last
Parliament, as I did, he would know that
members of this Senate were not then
quite so fair and reasonable ; that this
House, with its great Conservative majority,
was used as an inquisitorial commission
for the purpose of sending forth
through this country damaging reports
against the late Government-reports that
to-day they would not endorse. They
spent month after month procuring evidence
to show how preposterous it was to
make improvements on the Kaministiquia
River, yet last year and this year there
are votes for the improvement of that
river. They said that a breakwater should
be constructed at Prince Arthur’s Landing,
and to carry out the scheme, they
spent money there to no purpose, It
failed. When we introduced a Bill for
the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, it
was thrown out of this House; when the
present Government introduced a Bill for
the same purpose it was carried here.
When we introduced, a Bill to right a
wrong in the County of Huron-to reconstruct
the ridings of that county as
they should be-it was scorned and
thrown out ; when a Bill is introduced by
the present Government to manipulate
every municipality in Ontario-to “hive
the Grits,” as they say*-to alter
every constituency at the beck and instance
of their friends in the other
House-no attempt is made to stop it, or
to see whether it is fair or in accord with
provincial rights or not. When the pres-
Vacancies [SENATE] in the Senate.
ent Government took the absurd position
of fighting the Provinces and attempting
to deprive them of their rights-when
they attempted to take the licensing
power from the provincial governments
which they had enjoyed for 18 years, and
when I raised my voice here against the Bill
when it came up to the Senate,who listened
to me? Not a souL Sir John Macdonald
had stated that the licensing power
belonged to the Dominion, and so this
House, at the beck of the government of
the day, at once accepted the proposition
and would not listen to any argument
against it for one moment. What is the
position of this House on that question
to-day ? Does it occupy a good one on a
question where it should stand up for
provincial rights? On every measure
affecting provincial rights it supported the
Government. It was in the interests of
the strong party in the House of Commons
that that view should prevail and it
did prevail. That was the way this
Chamber manifested its independence. I
ask in all fairness whether we can secure
the approbation of the people of Canada
as this House is constituted ? Assuming
that by reason of the extraordinary
manipulation of the counties and the
franchise, the Conservative party will at
the next election ne winners, where will
the corporal’s guard of Liberals in this
House be left? Time makes sad havoc
in our ranks, and we cannot expect that
we will be all here at the end of another
five years. Do you expect that the
public business can be carried on properly
in this Chamber by the exclusion of one
great body ? It may not be in the
opinion of this House a majority,
but it possesses a majority in some
of the provinces. It has had a
majority in Ontario for the last fourteen
years. Do you suppose that that party in
Ontario will rest satisfied and allow this
Senate to sustain the Conservative party
in the way it has been doing ? I think
not-not if they are an independent people-
not if they feel that they have equal
rights with other men. They will not
support or permit it. I say it is not in
harmony with the age. The question is
a large one, and I am obliged to leave
here in about ten minutes; therefore I
regret still more that I am speaking, because
I ought to be present when othergen-
tlemen are replying ; but I felt that I co uld
not allow this question, which is a living
one-because this is an age when the
power of the people is coming to the front
more and more every day-to pass without
some comment. This is an age when
a man holding such a high position as
Lord Roseberry feels it incumbent upon
him to warn his peers in’ the House of
Lords that some change is needed there
in a country where the constitution is a
thousand years old-where everything is
in such firm lines that it would seem impossible
to alter them. But here, where
the nominative system has been on trial
for only a few years, where it is a departure
from the principle that the people
are the source of power, and to the people
belongs the representation in parliament,
we cannot afford to ignore this question.
It is a living one, and it cannot be shirked,
and I merely rise for the purpose of stating
my views briefly on the question, lest
my silence might be misconstrued. I
have not in any sense exhausted the subject;
I have barely touched it. If I had
the time I could go over the various
countries that in the last ten or fifteen
years have been reconstructing their
constitutions, not by appointing representatives,
but by the election of representatives
by the people, who are responsible
to the people, and who at one
time or other have to give an account of,
their stewardship to the people. Who are
we here to-day ? We can do as we please;
not a word can be breathed against us ;
wC care not for the people ; we can order
those doors to be closed; we can exclude
the reporters, and the people need know
nothing of our work. We can pass orders
and make decrees. Perhaps a mad-cap
king in Bavaria may do freaks-but even
he is called to account now and then ; but
this Chamber has no check on its powers.
We are absolute, and do just as we please.
I say that is not in harmony with the age,
and not in accordance with the spirit of
the times. I think it would be proper for
the Senate itself to take that action which
it ought to take in re-constructing itself.
As I said before, this is a subject which
we ought all to approach from a high
motive, from a desire that all those who
corne after us at all events should feel
grateful for the change.we have brought
about. Hon. gentlemen may fancy that
Vacancies in the [MAX 3, 1886] &nate.
they would be injuring themselves per- 8onally by such a change. They look upon
it from the standpoint that it means
their own execution. I do not think so ; I
would not advocate any violent change.
1 WOuld not approve of any change which
would deprive hon. members who have
received patents for life of the privileges
and honors conferred upon them. I do
lot ask for any such change. I think the
change can be brought about by the
gradual process of resignation or death.
In that way a very material alteration
Would take place in this Senate in a very
short period.
‘4ON. MR. ail HOWLAN-Suppose we resign.
11ON. MR. SCOTT-The Senate would feel the influence of the new blood from
the People. It would feel at all events that the ,ria- t eprinciple on which appointments had
1en made no longer existed ; and therefore
they would be free to act as they
thought proper. Looking at it from that tandpoint I think the Senate itself ought
tO rise to the occasion, and discuss pro-
Perly on all occasions a new constitution for itself. I am not committing myself to any sPecial line, but it ought to be on the elective basis.
thyiON. MR. HOWLAN-Do you think
is a proper time to discuss it ?
lpoN. MR. SCOTT-No, it is not a pro-
Pet tile, and I must apologize for having
SPOken. I observe my hon. friend from
tagara is about to speak, and I regret
am not able to remain to hear him.
lION· MR. BOTSFORD-I did not
1e1 c8etd tthoa-dt ayth is question would be dis- because it it one which
or1o3 d Place the Senate in a false position. not constitutional, and I regret very ‘s1ich indeed that the leader of the Oppoel
has felt it necessary to make his -Uent speech on such a motion. If he ad Made it on an Address to the Crown
co 1’perial Parliament to alter the have tion of our country, then it would
su en in Point; but I must say I am
. red ·that he should have made it on
so,.igution which, as I shall presently
one that ought not to be sustained
in this House. I rise also to entirely
disagree with the hon. members who have
spoken on this question as respects the
composition and manner in which this
Senate performs its duty. In the first
place the hon. member who brings forward
this extraordinary resolution says that the
large majority of this House are not
independent. By what right, or on what
principle can he charge the majority of
this House with not being independentwith
being gentlemen who come here to
vote as other people say they should and
have no independent opinion of their
own ? I protest against such an assertion.
made by any hon. member of this House..
I believe the Senate to be as independent
as any legislative body in the world. Then
again the hon. member who seconds this
resolution says that the Senate has never
performed its duty ; that we have not
made alterations in the Bills, and have
never thrown out a measure sent to ugfrom
the other branch ‘of Parliarnent by
the present Government ; that we are
mere recording bodies of the acts and
proceedings of the House of Commons.
I say that is not a correct statement of the
manner in which the Senate has performed
its duty ever since it was constituted. I
maintain, from the recollection which I
have of the legislative measures which
have come up from the other Chamber,
and which have been discussed here, that
we have on very many important occasions
made material alterations in Acts passed
by the other House. Then again the
hon. member in advocating this resolution
says that we are not independent ; that
we are under restraint because we have
been appointed by the Crown. Now if hefeels
that way I am sure I do not, and I
never have so felt. I have been 19 years,
a member of the Senate, and I can state
with great sincerity that I never was influenced
in any one single vote that I gave
because of having received my appointment
from the administration of the day.
I believe I bave sufficient knowledge of
the character of the members of the
Senate to know that they are not hampered
by such a consideration when they are
dealing with measures which are for the
benefit of the Dominion at large. I
think tfiat such observations should not.
come from hon. members of this,
Senate. They are not justified inm
Vacancies [SENATE] in Me Senate
making disparaging remarks against
the whole Senate ot Canada. With respect
to what public opinion is in the
Dominion of Canada as regards the Senate,
I must say the information which I
possess, and the expressions of public
opinion in my own province especially,
lead me to the conclusion that the people
consider the Senate of Canada to be a
responsible, respectable and influential
body. There is not that detraction any
where in my province as regards the constitution
of the Senate that I hear pronounced
by the individual members of
the Senate themselves. This resolution
cannot pass at all. If the hon. member
from Ottawa, who is not now in his place,
had reflected for a moment, he would
have seen that the Constitution of this
Dominion cannot be altered by a simple
resolution of the Senate of Canada. That
is quite clear ; yet what does he propose
that we shall do ? Suppose this resolution
passes ; we ask the Governor General
to violate his oath of office, to suspend
the duties which he is called upon by the
British North America Act to discharge.
Now, is not that an extraordinary position
to take ? We call upon the Governor
General, in direct violation of his instructions,
to suspend, in fact, the Constitution,
and not to discharge the duties which he
is required by the Constitution to perform.
I am surprised to hear hon. members in
their speeches discuss this question as if
it could be at all entertained by the
Senate. If there is to be an alteration.of
the Constitution of the country, it must be
in the ordinary and regular way which is
pointed out-by a joint Address of both
Houses of Parhiament to Her Majesty and
the Imperial Parliament to alter the Contitution
of Canada, and we should be prepared
to give sufficient reasons for such
legislation. But the idea of the Senate of
Canada asking the Governor General not
to perform his duty-asking him to stultify
himself and to violate the constitution of
the country, is one that cannot be entertained
for a moment. As regards the
influence which this Senate may possess if
elected, that is a question which, of course,
could be fairly discussed when it is thought
desirable by a majority of both Houses of
Parliament, to present a joint Address to
Her Majesty and to the Imperial Parliament.
That would be the proper way if
it is necessary to make an alteration ; but
undet existing circumstances I do not see
how it is possible that a majority of the
Senate will sanction a resolution of this
HON. MR. PLUMB-1 did not intend
to speak on this subject, for I have rnade
it a rule to ignore entirely anything which
is proposed by the hon. member frot0
Woodstock. I do not consider him worthy
of an answer, but as the leader of the
Opposition has seen fit to address the
House on this subject, I feel bound tO
say a few words in reply to him, and I an’
sorry that he has found it necessary tO
leave the House before I had an opPOrtunity
of speaking upon the subject. MY
hon. friend who has just sat down has
pointed out that we have no right to pass
a resolution of this kind. It is not at all
extraordinary that the erratic menber
from Woodstock should move a resolution
which is utterly irconsequential, utterly
unconstitutional, and which would stultify
this’Senate if it were passed. I do not
understand at all that any considerable
portion of this House are willing to put
themselves on record on a resoluti0l
which calls upon the representative of th’e
Queen in this country to violate his constitutional
oath, to abrogate his duties,
and put himself in a position of absolute
antagonism to the constitution of this
country. I do not believe that there is
anyone who is willing to place himself
seriously and permanently on record il’
the minutes of this House in such a posttion
by voting in the affirmative upon this
motion. The resolution itself has, in its’
direct effect, not been spoken to. Every
one who has spoken on the resolution
except perhaps my hon. friends fror0
Lunenburg and Hamilton, has gone ehtirely
outside of the matter. We are not
talking about a change in the constitution
of the Senate, but we are talking about
limiting the action of the Governor General
pending such change. We have
nothing to do with discussing the
change. This resolution does not touch
it at all ; and as my hon. friend who
has just sat down has pointed out, it has
not been brought within the lirnits o
discussion here by a proper form o
motion. The hon. member from Woodstock
has been a member of this House
Vacancies [MAY 3, 1886] in the Senate.
and Of the old Legislative Council of
Canada for twenty-two or Years, twenty-five and he has not yet learned how to
daw a motion ; he has hardly ever introced
one here framed in the proper
nianner. He has, in his extraordinary way, deavored to bring this subject up, and
‘f there is anvone responsible for the derogation
of this House, I need not point
Out who it is. When my hon. friend
rorn Ottawa rose to say that he wished to
Put himself right on the record in respect
Of this resolution, he might have been ex-
!XCted to confine himself to the question
!tself I was surprised to see that
‘nstead of doing that he wandered over
the whole question of politics. He went
a8 far as the Kaministiquia River, and
$Poke of the bills which have been thrown
out in this House. His references to
then were very unfortunate. Everyone
ws that the Esquimalt and Nanaimo
was objected to by the present leader
Of the Opposition in the House of ComrKons.
It was sent up here with that
tenîtleman’s strenuous objection attached
it; and everyone knows that it was
efeated in the Senate by the votes of
eading members then in accord with the
Overnment and now in opposition. The
ttBo na.n ogtehnetrle man from Ottawa also referred bill, known as the Tuckersmith 7il. That was an unfortunate reference.
,&fter the question of the re-construction
‘f the constituencies had been settled Under the census of 1871, a gentleman in
had House of Commons, whose election
bbee een protested and who was likely to, foreuanvsoeraetedd , as he subsequently was, to have a bill passed
or his especial benefit, the object
; which was to annex the townsSttiitI
uenc’Oy f aTndu cktehrusms itehn surteo hihs isr e-ecloenc– ion. This House very properly said that
nch questions should be dealt with only
Otute in ten years according to the consti-
!Ition, and they would not allow any Irleerence with or manipulation of the
blectoral constituencies during the interim,
sucause every one knows to what abuses gent a measure might lead. The hon.
8r8 tt hheem raenc oanlssotr uhcatriokned back upon the act of constituencies in
1882. I do not intend to discuss that
qietion here. I do not think this is a
y Occasion to discuss a matter which
has nothing to do with the question before
us; but yet I will say-and I wish the
hon. gentleman from Ottawa were present
to hear me-that while two wrongs do
not make a right, and while I do not
pretend to be the advocate of any
measure of any government which is not
in accordance with my judgment a correct
one, there has been no more abominable
reconstruction in regard to constituencies
under the rule which makes a decennial
reconstruction necessary, than that of the
Mowat Government under the Redistribution
Bill of Ontario.
a point of order, and I ask the Speaker
what this has to do with the question
before the House. It is simply an outrage.
THE SPEAKER-I wish to say, in
reply to ,the hon. gentleman, that I consider
a number of members have been
allowed to wander from the question and
the hon. gentleman is merely replying. I
think this discussion has wandered far
from the limits of the resolution, and
while I have the power to stop hon.
gentlemen under such circumstances,
since the House is ultimately to be the
judge of the question and has not stopped
the other members, I leave it to the
House to stop the hon. gentleman from
HON. MR. PLUMB-I had not the
slightest idea of going into any of those
questions if I had not found them introduced
in the speech of the hon.
gentleman who leads the Opposition
in this House; and it would be
a strange thing if anyone should be
prevented from replying to an hon.
gentleman who has made serious
charges on the floor of this House against
the Government, after he had wandered
from the subject of the resolution, because
it is not pertinent to the subject. I do
not think it was courteous to interrupt or
to attempt to circumscribe remarks based
on those of the hon, gentleman holding
the responsible position that he occupies
as leader ot the Opposition in this House,
interrupted occasionally in his leadership
by the hon. gentleman from, Halifaç, and
taken occasionally entirely out of the hon.
gentleman’s hands by a gentleman whose
Vacancie8 [SENATE] in the Senate.
name I will not mention; but I conceive
that it was not proper that such statements
as those made by the hon. member
should go unchallenged upon our Debates.
I think I am quite within the judgment of
the House when I claim the right to
notice, in a brief way, and in a parliamentary
way, the statements that were
made by the hon. gentleman from Ottawa.
I therefore presume that the House will
bear with me while I briefly refer to what
the hon. gentleman has said. When I was
interrupted I was speaking about the redistribution
of Ontario into constituencies
for the Local House. I can say that in
that reconstruction townships were cut in
two for the sake of giving a slight advantage.
I can say that it is not strange that
for some years the Government has been-
a question of order. I protest against the
introduction of Ontario politics in this
House. It is not necessary for the discussion
of the question now before the
HON. MR. PLUMB-I am only replying
to the hon. gentleman who introduced
the subject.
THE SPEAKER-I desire to repeat
what I have already said, and which hon.
gentlemen seem not to have understood.
The discussion before the House is one
altogether beyond the limits of the resolution.
Every hon. gentleman who has
spoken, with the exception of the hon.
gentleman from Woodstock, who moved
the resolution, and the hon. gentleman
from Halifax, has departed from the reasonable
scope of the discussion which should
have taken place on this resolution ; but
no one went so far in that direction as the
leader of the Opposition. He was permitted,
hy the large majority which is said
to be in this House in favor of the Government,
to proceed without interruption,
and was not called to order. While,
therefore, I have the power of stopping
the hon. member from Niagara, my decision
on al occasions is subject to the approval
of the House. The House not
having stopped the hon. member from
Ottawa, I do not intend to stop the hon.
member from Niagara ; but there is a
way of doing it, Any member by making
a motion can stop it ; he can move that
the hon. gentleman be not allowed tO
proceed as he had been doing when called
to order, and take the sense of the FlOuse
upon it.
HON. MR. PLUMB-I have in no case,
since I rose to my feet, in the slightest
degree wandered from the-debate as pre
sented to us by the leader of the OPPoStion.
Every point that I have touched
upon to this time was challenged and
provoked by the speech of the hon. ge’
tleman, and I have yet to believe that
this Senate will not permit me to replY
to the challenge thrown out by the honleader
of the Opposition. If the hongentleman
wants to stop me in those re
marks-and I give him notice that I in’
tend to go on with them until I am stOPped-
he knows how to do it ; but I prOtest
against his abortive attempts to stolP
me and I ask him to meet the question
boldly by proposing that I shall not be
heard. My hon. friend, the leader O
the Opposition, for whom I have the
highest esteem and regard, certaly
wandered from the point at issue .
al know that, because he brought 1
matters which have nothing at al
to do with the question under discs
sion; but he did not wander frofr i
much more than the other gentlernen
did. The question is not as to the con’
stitution of the Senate; the question is al
to preventing His Excellency the Governor
General from making any further appoiOt
ments to the Senate until there bas been
a public expression at a general electiOn
as to its present constitution. That is
There is nothing about submitting the
proposition anywhere, and it is a question
as to whether we shall stultify ourselves
by asking that the Executive shall lot
fulfil a duty which he is compelled to d
under his oath of office when he accePt
the position which he holds as GoverOr-
General of this Dominion. But rnY honfriend
said, among other things, tha
during the time when the late GoVer
ment was in power the Senate behahd
very badly, and that the Senate
appointed committees for the purPQseo
bringing, if possible, the Governal
of the day into contempt. He said they
had one on the Kaministiquia .W”
terminus. Now the hon. gentleman says –
Vacancies [MAY 3, 1886] in the &nate.
Yu see how baseless the ground for the
appointment of that committee was from
the fact that there is an estimate before
e other House for dredging out the
channel oi that river.” The hon. gentleinan
did not see that he was giving himdelf
away by that statement. We contend
that the Kaministiquia was not
navigable ; that we could not get vessels
tf proper draught up that river. Now
the hon. gentleman says the government
are miaking estimates for the purpose dredging of that river which shows that we were perfectly right when we contended
that there was no navigation there.
1ONM. R. POWER-Nothing of the
HON. MR. PLUMB-My hon. friend tiever interrupts me ! The hon. gentle-
ITlan. from Ottawa said that under the
elective system the Senate was a bcdy of
tnuch higher character than it now is Under the nominative system. I could
point Out to the hon. gentleman the words
Of the great leader of the Reform
Party-the man who created the
Party in Ontario-the man who had
a seat in this House; and a nominatIle
seat it was; and I might also mention
tothe hon gentleman who said something ebout people sent here who had lost their elections, that the Hon. George Brown was
epPQ nted after it was found that he could
def get a seat in Ontario-after he was defeated at the polls. That hon. gentle-
%nwho was largely the author of the
fOinative system, in his speech on the
tfation of the constitution, stated that
the elective Senate had been a failure;
that the elective Senate had deteriorated; tlat the elective Senate was not such a 4 esirable body as we should have for the
Upper House of the Dominion. Any-
PoOltel itiWcsh o has read the record of the Of that day (and no one
h read it more carefully than the
Sldgntleman from Prince Edward
a fs nOwsthat the Hon. George Brown
oteyr sf ervent advocate of the nominative for this Senate, and said that any <>her î yYtm
Whlh sem would fail to secure that
The h Was intended and desired.
ell hon. gentleman knows perfectly
tbheaet n thpaoti ntewda so utt hree pecaatseed ly; and that
the elective system could not be worked
out where such large constitutencies were
absolutely necessary to be represented by
only 24 -for instance in Ontario-and if
there was any change in the Senate it
would be necessary to fill it up on the
systemof nomination bythe legislatures. It
is not our fault that the Conservative party
are largely in the majority in this House.
It is the irony and logic of events that
year after year the hon. gentleman and his
friends have been in the minority in this
Dominion. Whether it is from one cause,
or whether it is from another the fact
remains. My own opinion is that the
people of this country -have given their
confidence to the Conservative party and
therefore it has happened that the hon.
gentlemen in opposition have not have
had the opportunity to make appointments
to the Senate when vacancies
HON. MR. PLUMB-I cannot imagine,
if the hon. gentlemen had possessed the
power, that they would have appointed
Conservatives to the Senate, I imagine
that they are no more strictly or triumphantly
generous than political parties generally,
but the leader of the Opposition
has said that an elective Senate stood so
directly in opposition to the popular
branch-the immediate representatives of
the people-that when they wished to
force a question, they refused to pass the
estimates. That is exactly what we say is
the danger ; that is exactly what we say is
the difficulty in giving the purse strings
into the hands of the higher body. That
is the argument we have always used that
if the Senate is elected by the people, it
will claim to have a right to deal with the
fiscal policy of the country. and to have
control over the Treasury, and there is
where the complication will be; and the
hon. gentleman admitted the whole fact
by saying that the elective body had interfered
and forced the majority out-forced
the body that represents the people directly
into a position which they would
not otherwise have taken, by refusing to
pass the estimates. Could there be anything
more illustrative of the danger of
having a body elective than the confession
made by my hon. friend ? It was not in
Vacancies [SENATE] in the Senate.
keeping with his usual astuteness ; it was
not in accord with the usual clear judgment
he shows in other cases ; but I pardon
him, because he was not prepared to
speak when he rose, and when he said
that the time had come when the people
would demand a change, but he was not
at all prepared to say exactly in what form
that change should be made, I have to
suppose therefore, that his subsequent
remarks were made without that reflection
which usually distinguishes
the utterances of that hon. gentleman
in this House and elsewhere.
A few more words will suffice. The
hon. gentleman says that we are fighting
the provinces ; and another hon. gentleman,
who spoke upon this subject, proposed
that the Senate should be so
constructed that its first duty should be to
the provinces and afterwards to the Dominion.
I supposed that we were. here
under the Act of Confederation to make
this Dominion a whole. I supposed when
I was sent to this House that I came
here as a representative of the interests of
the Dominion, and I say that no more
dangerous principle for the security of
Confederation could be advanced than
that this body is composed of isolated
members, each of whom is representing
his province and not the interests of the
country as a whole. I say that that would
be one of the greatest dangers in a body
created as it has been /proposed, during
this discussion, to create the Senate. I
believe that the man who serves Canada
most faithfully to-day is he who, disregarding
provincial interests, disregarding the
lines which are drawn to separate province
from province, will endeavor to fuse this
great Dominion as a whole, forgetting that
there are sections or sectional differences,
and endeavor so far to do his duty that
no ho-tile and irritating questions connected
with sectional interests shall arise
in the debates of this body. I believe
that.nothing will be more detrimental to
the future of this great Dominion, which
we believe will ultimately be a great power
on this continent, standing alongside of
the great neighboring Republic, than the
fomenting of those petty differences which
will naturally come up as long as the
principle of representing provinces, and
not the Dominion, is regarded in the legislation
of this House. I say that every
man who wishes well to this country will
endeavor, so far as he can, to obliterate
provincial lines and to act for the general
benefit. I believe that I am as niuch a
representative of British Columbia, of the
North-West, of Manitoba, of Quebec and
of the Eastern provinces, as I an Of
Ontario. I do not speak of my province ;
I speak of the whole ; and I shall, as far
as my humble efforts are concerned, devote
them to the prosperity of the Dominion at
large, only through which we can ever
hope to hold ourselves together as a
Dominion, and to carry out the destinY
which Confederation was deigned to brinf
about for us. The hon. gentleman saysthat
we are subservient to the Government
; that we are merely here to
register the decrees of the majority.
When we ventured, on an occasion which
I mention with sone hesitation on account
of my hon. friend who sits at my left, and
whom I highly respect-when we ventured
to differ from the House of Commons on
that occasion, there was a general howv 1
raised all over the country because the
Senate had asserted its independence,
The Senate had the right to assert its independence,
and to assert its opinionr
and it did assert its position. Whether
that position was in the interests of the
country or not, the Senate believed it wis,
and it had no possible object in acting Ir)
the way it did except in the sincere and
earnest conviction that it was acting &
the interests of the community, and that
it could afford to interpose its check, and
put itself outside of and beyond the
temporary popular excitement. They
felt that that excitement would pro*
bably die out, and it was the dutYo
the Senate-it was what it was creat
for-to stand outside of immediate pOPU
lar movements and review them with the
feeling that it is not immediately affected
by them; and I take it for granted that 1
am within the judgment of the H{ouse_
that I am within the judgment of the cou
try, when I say that this body in a practi
way represented the temperate, well-col
sidered public sentiment, and that now, to
then, we shall never be found recreant ta
our duty. I trust that this mischievoUt
resolution will meet with the fate it just
deserves. If there is anything which is Ca
culated to bring this House into public COntempt
it is exactly the kind of legislatiOe
Vacancies [MAY 3, 1886] in the Senate.
which is proposed by resolution of this
HION. MR. BELLEROSE-Did I derstand un- the hon. gentleman from Niagara
to say that the Government were bound
under oath to follow the constitution ?
lION. MR. PLUMB-I was speaking
not of the Government at all, but of the
Governor-General who, as head of the
Executive, is compelled by his oath of
Office to appoint members to the Senate
When he is called upon by his advisers to
do so. The resolution before us calls
Upon hir to suspend his judgment until
after the elections.
ION. MR. DICKEY-I was about to ask the leave of the House, and I regret
to be obliged to do so, to recall what the
issue is that we are asked to vote on. We have heard a great deal to-day as to which
I shall say nothing. I shall pass no
Opinion on it, because it is not the
question before the House. My rule is
Invariably to keep to the question, and
MY object in now rising is to ask the 11Ouse to keep to the question. What is the subject before the House ? It is not whether it is desirable that there should
.at some future period an elective body;
t 1s not whether there shall be a body
chosen by the various provinces; but the
quÇstion before the House, and what we
are asked to vote upon, is an Address to the Governor-General, asking him to sus-
Pend the exercise of his functions and
not to fill up vacancies in the Senate until SOrne, remote period. That is the whole
qution, and as germane to that question,
d to satisfy my hon. friend from
Lanaudiere, I invite his attention to the 32nd section of the British North America
et, which bears upon this question. It
‘S to this effect.:-
b When a vacancy happens in the Senate
kverrneoerg-nGaetinoenr,a l death or otherwise, the shall, by sunnons to a fit qnalified person, fill the vacancy.”
That is the constitution of the country,
pn. as My hon. friend frorn Sackville has POinted out it can only be changed in Wayn,e and that is by the act of a Parbicent
of equal power to the Parliament
Wbich gave us the constitution. The hon.
bleraber who proposed this resolution probably
was not aware that that was in the
constitution of the country; but there can
be no doubt of the fact, because I have
referred to the Act itself, and the House
will, perhaps, pardon me for doing so as
being a member from one of the smaller
provinces, the special object of the creation
of the Senate being to protect thern by
that body in the constitution of our country.
It is unfortunate, and I am here a
standing monument of the fact, that there
has been scarcely an interval between any
two sessions since we came to this House,
that we have not been called upon to deplore
the absence of our fellows who have
gone over to the majority. In speaking
of my own province I am sorry to find
that his honor the speaker, and my -hon.
friend on my right, and myself, are the
only survivors of the contingent sent from
Nova Scotia 18 years ago ; and we are
asked now, with that fact before us, and
with the possibility that there may be even
more vacancies in the various other provinces-
vacancies, if they only amounted
to one a year, of some six or seven in the
smaller provinces-we are asked to postpone
the filling up of those vacancies for
one or two years, so that there may be,
possibly, before any could be filled among
the smaller provinces of the Dominion,
vacancies to the extent of ten or twelve
seats. Under those circumstances, I
think I need offer no apology to the House
for saying, as a member representing
one of the smaller provinces, that I earnestly
protest against the passage of this
resolution. It is an attempt to tie up the
hands of t-he Governor-General in a matter
in which he is controlled by a higher
power-by the Imperial Act, and by his
own oath of office; and if we were to pass
such an Address and present it to His Excellency,
I think I am justified in saying
that it would be regarded-I will not say
by His Excellency, but by a great many
people-as-little short of an impertinence
in connection with the discharge of the
solemn duty which he has under the constitution,
and which he is bound under the
constitution, alike with the oath of office,to
fulfil. I hope the House will not entertain
this resolution, and when the larger
question, which has been very improverly
introduced into the debate to-day, comes
before the House, we will look to it carefully
and conscientiously, and we will be
Vacancies [SENATE] in th Senate.
in a position to come to a conclusion upon
it very different from what we might
expect from the temper which has been
displayed here to-day, which unfortunately,
has been an effort (that I hope will not be
successful) to make this a party question.
I do not find fault with them ; they have
the right to take their own responsibility;
but I do regret that gentlemen who know
perfectly well the responsibilities under
which they lie in taking a position of this
kind, should insist upon treating this as a
party question and making inflammatory
speeches for the purpose of influencing
votes in support of this resolution. Without
desiring to say a word that will create
any feeling, I am quite satisfied that the
sentiment I have just given utterance to
is in entire accord with the sentiments
of the reflective members of the Opposition
to win whom was the purpose
of the course that has been taken to-day.
I therefore trust that the House, having
now the plain issue before them, leaving
out of sight altogether those extraneous
matters that have been introduced, will
vote simply on whether they are prepared
to go to the Governor-General with an
Address of this kind and ask him to suspend
his functions under an Act of Parliament
until after another election, or
whether we will negative this resolution
and say that those gentlemen, wishing to
raise the question as to a change of the
constitution of this House, shall do so in a
legitimate, fair, open and honorable manner
and not endeavor to accomplish their
purpose by a side wind, in the manner
proposed by this resolution.
HON. MR. TRUDEL-Some days agc
I intended to put on the order paper a notice
of inquiry whether it was the inten
tion of the Government to fill the vacan
cies in this House which I,at least, deplore,
This being my sentiment, it is hardly nec
essary for me to state that I cannot approv
of the resolution which is before us. P
good deal has been said in this debate, and
I think that some of the assertions madt
cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged
Some of them have the effect, in my opin
ion, of narrowing the field of our labor
and disposing of what I believe to be thi
constitutional rights of the members o
this House.
In this resolution, in my opinion, ther
are two distinct questions. First, the question
which is directly raised whether we
should not express our opinion to His Ecellency
thatno further appointment should
be made. Second, a question which is
rather suggested than directly propOsed,
and which has brought about most of the
debate which has taken place-the suggestion
that there should be this postponment
of appointments, pending a
change in the constitution of the Senate,
Though it is not directly proposed by the
resolution, it is suggested, and I would
not be prepared to say that the remarks
made on the reconstruction of the Senate
should be considered clearly out of order.
There is a proposition which has been«
expressed by the hon. gentleman frorn
Niagara, to which I think it is my dutY to
call the attention of the House. If
understood him properly, he said that this
resolution is clearly unconstitutional. 1
expected when he rose that he would cal1
the attention of the Speaker of this fouse
and ask him to pronounce upon that point:
I fail to see that this resolution is unconstitutional.
I d: not think the question
should have been set aside on a point O
order, because this House has a right tO
assert what is mentioned in this motion.
I may add, however, that I consider it
would be very unfortunate and unwise if
the House should do so, but still I fail to
see that there is anything unconstitutional
on the part of this House in expressing
such an opinion. If I call the attention
of the Senate to this point it is because it
touches one of our most precious rightsthat
is, the right to express our opimion
on any question of public interest.
repeat, I do not believe that the niotiOn
– should be supported. I believe it is a verY
– unwise one, but still this House, in n’Y
opinion, has a strict right to pass it. r
. was very glad to hear one of the senior
– members of this House, as well as the
hon. gentleman from Hamilton, point ou1t
what I consider to be the principal objec-
1 tion to this resolution. I do not consider
e it unconstitutional, but it suggests somnething
which, if carried out, would be e
– violation of the spirit of the constitutioil
s and for this reason: it is well known that
e one of the most important objects in the
,f creation of the Senate was to maintain a
balance between the different sections o
e the Dominion, and to redress what waS
Vacancies [MAY 3, 1886] in the Senate.
considered to be an injustice in granting
representation by population in the other
“ouse. It was considered at the time
tat the whole Dominion, then, as it stood was divided into three great groups,
-Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces.
Ontario was given a much larger
representation than either of the two other
groups in the Lower House, and it was
‘ 0 nsidered that in some place the three groups should be placed on a footing of
equality. If I remember correctly this
was done specially to protect the Province
which had fought for years and years
against the principle of representation by
PoPulation, by creating a House where the
Province of Quebec should be on exactly
the same footing as the Province of Ontario
So that if the majority from Ontario in the
Hiouse ofCommons should perpetrate some
mfjustice itcould be redressed bythe equal
influence of the two provinces in this
Chamber. The moment the representation
of each group is not complete here,
I humbly submit that the spirit of the
>lnstitution is violated, because the balance
is destroyed. I was very glad to
0hear my hon. friend from Amherst remind
the House that filling vacancies was not
left to the caprice of the Administration,
but that it was one of the provisions
of the Constitution. I would like
to insist upon this point, but, as I stated
before, I did not do so because of the
“liness of the leader of the Senate, but my
intention was to ask the Government why
‘Certain vacancies had not been filled.
Everybody knows, for instance, that one
Of the leading men of our province, who .s now Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec,
has not been replaced in this House. 0f
‘Course we, who are in the minority, will
Miss his vote, if an important occasion
should arise when it would be needed. I
an always very glad to hear hon. members
of this House, or any of our public
rMen, assert the principle that we should
try to make Canada a homogeneou
Country ; but we cannot forget that oui
‘Population is composed of elements
‘essentially different-elements which have
a Perfect right, not only according to the
Constitution but according to treaties, tc
tetain their autonomy ; and while, in one
sense, we ought to be Canadians and do
‘Our best to make our country great anc
Prosperous, on the other hand it canno
be expected that a part of the people of
the Dominion should sacrifice what they
consider to be dearer than their lives, an
inheritance for which their fathers fought
for a century, for the mere sake of creating
uniformity of language and customs. We
cannot expect that one of the nationalities
in this country will abandon all that and
consent to their extinction from the point
of view of nationality and language.
Therefore, I do not consider the opinion
expressed by the hon. member from
Niagara is altogether right. Our constitution
not only admits, but makes it a
duty of the members of the different
sections to represent sectional interests to
the extent I have just mentioned. Those
broad and liberal views are so often
expressed, and they are so true in one
sense, that we are more generally inclined
to give them our assent than to oppose
them ; but we ought sometimes
to explain our position, in order that the
country may not entertain a wrong impression
on the subject. I am sure that
those who speak a different language and
belong to a different race from ours would
not be prepared to say that for the mere
sake of unity they should abandon what
they consider to be their dearest inheritance-
their language, their usages and
nationality, and they should remember
that we, on our part, entertain a similar
objection. Of course it is hardly necessary
to say that, as to the other question, I
should be very glad to see it brought in a
different form before this House, and I
think we cannot examine and study it too
much. Strictly speaking, I have the same
right to speak on it, but I think it is better
to refrain from doing so. I repeat that as
to the present motion I consider myself
obliged to vote against it, though I may
state frankly and without any political
feeling, that I consider it is to be regretted
that the two great political parties in this
confederation are not more equally represented
here. It is not from sympathy
with those gentlemen that I say so, but
considering it from the point of view of
the general interest of the country, I think
it is almost as necessary that there should
he a strong Opposition as a strong Government,
and I believe that it is a misfortune
to a certain extent that the Opposi-
1 tion in this House is not a little more
t nuinerous.
Vacancies [SENATE] in the &nate.
HON. MR. ALLAN-Like some other
hon. gentlemen who preceded me I certainly
had no intention whatever of saying
a word on this resolution when the debate
began. It never occurred to me for a
moment that the House would seriously
entertain the resolution. Although the
hon. member from Halifax here, in
his usual benevolent spirit, seconded
it. I suppose that it is only for
the purpose of giving himself, and perhaps
other members, an opportunity of expressing
their opinions. I cannot conceive it
possible that hon. gentlemen in this
House, no matter what may be their
opinions with respect to the constitution
of this Senate, can seriously propose that
the question should be taken up and that
they should record their votes in reference
to any changes on a resolution framed in
the manner in which this one before the
House is. But I should be sorry, after
all that has been said and the course
which this discussion has taken, to allow,
if the resolution is really pressed, a vote
to be taken without saying one or two
words in reference to it. In the first
place, I desire to protest, and protest very
strongly, against the language which has
been used by some hon. members of this
House in reference to the Senate itself.
It is bad enough to have these things said
out of doors, but I cannot help thinking
of the old proverb, ” It’s an ill bird that
fouls its own nest,” when members of the
Senate repeat words spoken against us by
the press. I think it is unfair and unjust;
I have been a member of this Senate
since Confederation ; I have had the
honor of belonging to two of the largest
committees of this House, and therefore I
think I can speak with some knowledge
when I refer to the manner in which the
legislation of the country is conducted in
the Senate. I have heard remarks made,
which were exceedingly complimentary to
the manner in which business was conducted
in the committees of this House,
by gentlemen who have been for years
members of the largest committees of the
House of Commons. I think the Senate
has no reason to be ashamed of the
manner in which it has conducted
the business of this country. It is
done carefully and thoughtfully, and I
deny in to/o that we have constituted ourselves
merely a registering body for the
House of Commons. On the contraryr
we have seen measures time and agan
changed and rejected and had I supposed
the discussion would have taken the
course it has to-day, it would have been
very easy to have furnished examples. I
should have no difficulty in quoting a
large number of them, showing where this
House has exercised a most wise and
judicious control over the legislation Of
the House of Commons.
HON. MR. POWER-I should like to
ask the hon. member if he would be good
enough to point out any instance since
1878 where this House has rejected or
largely amended any Gov2rnment measure
coming from the other Chamber.
HON. MR. HOWLAN-I think it 1s
about time that this farce should be StOr
ped. I want to know if this debate is in
order ?
HON. MR. LLAN-I am in the handsof
the House.
THE SPEAKER-Any member actingl”
under the decision I have already give’
can stop the debate by a motion. If 1
had had control of the order of the House
this discussion would have been ended an
hour and a half ago.
ION. MR, ALLAN-After what the
Speaker has just said, I should be very
much inclined to sit down. (Cries Of
” Go on.”) I intend to be very brie f.
shall not go into the discussion of what
measures have been rejected here by ths
House. I was speaking generally, and O
my knowledge of what were the facts O
the case. I desire to protest against the
statements which have been made With
respect either to the character of the legis’
lation of this House or its position in the
country. Even at the risk, perhap%
of calling up again my hon. friend On
my left (Mr. Power), I venture t
say that in a very large measure
it will be found by any candi.d
person that the manner in which this
House has been spoken of by the pressand
outside of this House, as alluded to
by my hon. friend from Ottawa, has been
confined, to a very great extent, if
entirely, to that portion of the press whICl>
Vacancies [MAY 3, 1886] in the Senate.
s1 now in opposition to the present Gov- ernment, and which, therefore, naturally
tries to find fault with a House, the
mlajority of whorn they know to be in
sympathy with the Government. But I desire to say another thing, and that was
mY chief object in rising : I have never
Concealed my desire that this House
should not be composed exclusively of
gentlemen of any one party, or should
assume a strong political partizancharacter,
and nothing would give me greater
pleasure than to see appointments made
to this House of gentlemen of standing
and weight in the country who are not
strong partizans, no matter to what party
they belong ; but that, or any other
change, surely cannot be approached or
Properly debated on a resolution such as
this which we now have before uF. The
tile may come when it will be necessary
toDc nider whether any and what changes Wil be made in the constitution of this
Chamber, but I hope when that time does
Cole the subject will be taken up in the
earnest and thoughtful manner which the
“mPortance of the subject requires, and
lot taken up on a resolution which the
rTerest tyro in constitutional law must
know cannot be passed by this House.
“ON. MR. READ-I hope the House
wittpermit me to reply to some statements
which have been made in the course of this discussion. It has been claimed, and it is not denied by the mover of this
resolution, that the Senate is a high iudicial body. its acts have shown, ever
slnce I have had the honor of holding a
Beat here, that it has acted in that capacity.
COplaint is made that it is composed
Princîpally of Conservatives ; that is not
the fault of the House ; it is the fault of
te country. What does party govern-
! ent Iean ? It mean a way of governtIs
by the majority. The majority, in
the case, support the National Policy and
‘Wh hicceo nasretr ucthtieo n of the Pacific Railway. two great questions on
Which the country has been divided, and
thi5 louse now represents public opinion
0t those great measures. It is no matter
Potl you call me ; I am a National
4allY nan, and it is no matter what you
‘th anyone on the other side, he is against
National Policy. That is the great
estion which divides us. The construction
of the Pacific Railway has
divided us; but that is. decided; the
Government, in its wisdom, has carried it
out in a manner that is creditable to itself
and to the country, and in a manner that
the country will sustain when the occasion
comes. It is not a very great misfortune
to belong to a party which has carried out
those great measures and possesses the
confidence of the people. It has been
said that we should have wise, honest
and faithful administration of public
affairs. Well, we have it ; the electors
say so, and the country shows it.
If the people did not choose to return
members opposed to the National Policy,
and in favor of constructing an amphibious
line of railway, the fault is not ours.
Then, it is said that we have not the
confidence of the people of the country
because there are strictures on the
Senate in a portion of the press. My experience
is that a public man cannot
pursue any course without meeting
with the censure o& a portion of the
press. I do not mind what is said. I am
prepared to do right though the heavens
fall. That is what we are aiming to do in
this Chamber. The hon. gentleman fron
Ottawa referred to some acts which were
carried through this House during the time
that he was leader of the Government, and
he referred to the redistribution bills. If
he had made a fair or honest statement, I
should not have attacked him, but as I
had the honor of making the motion, and
the hon. member from Belleville seconded
it, defeating the Tuckersmith Bill, I propose
to say something about it. During
the redistribution of seats to increase the
number of members fron Ontario, it was
necessary to rearrange the constituencies
and the county of Huron was divided into
three ridings by Sir John Macdonald’s
Government. The county of Huron contains
822,ooo acres ; that is divided into
three sections, the north having 313,000
acres, the south 256,ooo acres and the
centre 253,ooo acres. Now, take the
householders. In the north there were
3,759; in the south 3,703; and in the
centre 4,002. Now, take the population ;
in the north there were 21,856, in the
south 21,512, in the centre 22,721. There
is an equal division of acreage, householders
and population; but the gentleman
who held the seat in the other branch
Vacancie8 [SENA TE] in the Senate.
of Parliament for the south riding, whose
election was protested, knew that he would
be unseated, and he did not expect to be
re-elected. He said : “You have not rearranged
the constituency properly; it is
not exactly uniform ; there are right angles
and acute angles, and the county of Huron
is all angles; you will do better by taking
the county of Tuckersmith from centre
Huron and adding it to the south riding.
HON. MR. DICKEY-He was angling
for votes.
HON. MR. READ-There were four
hundred voters in that county, three
hundred and fifty of v>hom petitioned
to be added to the south riding. I have
a return of the Clerk of the Crown in
Chancery from which I find that that
Township of Tuckersmith had given in
one election a Grit majority of 200, so you
may imagine why he wanted the Township
of Tuckersmith added to his constituency.
I will state pow how the rearrangement
would have left the acreage and
population. South Huron would have
contained 299,ooo acres and Centre
Huron 219,ooo, a difference of 8o,ooo
acres. Then, in householders, South Huron
would have had 4,3oo and centre Huron
3,405. The rearrangement would have
made a decided inequality. It was a Bill
for the purpose of enabling the hon. gentleman,
who was subsequently unseated, to
get returned if possible. Then, if the Bill
had passed and he had been re-elected,
what would have been the effect ? Tuckersmith
would have been represented by two
parties in the same Parliament. I think
I have proved sufficiently that we had
good reason for rejecting that Bill. It has
been stated that the Legislative Council
of Old Canada threw out the Supply Bill
because the Government of that day put
a vote in the estimates for moving the
seat of Government. Now, was that done
by an elected or a nominated Council ?
In 1856 the first election for a Legislative
Council was held. On that occasion 12
members were elected. Twelve more
were elected in 1858; 12 in 186o, and 12
in 1862.
I see in Bourinot that in the session of
1856 the-Supply Bill contained a provision
for the erection of Public Buildings
in Quebec, then the seat of Government.
The majority in the Legislative Council
were opposed to the policy of the
Assembly on that question and took
strong ground against the passage of the
Bill while it contained this obnoxious iterm.
The ipajority carried a resolution defeating
the Bill on the ground that the
House had not been ” consulted on the
subject of fixing any place for the permanent
seat of Government of the Province.”
Then, in 1859, Bourinot says
” The Legislative Council again refused to
vote the supplies, an amendment being
carried on the second reading of the Bill,
to the effect that the Council could not
consider the Budget until the Government
had made known its intention with respect
to the Seat of Government. Subsequently,
however, the Bill was revised and supply
voted-other councillors who had been
absent on the first division having arrived
in time to save the Bill.” So that the
House, when this Bill was carried, was
not composed of elective members. There
might have been 24, and may not have
been any on the first occasion. The
House at that time was composed of 55
members-that is in 1859, and I see
among the names that of the hon. gentleman
from Toronto (Mr. Allan); consequently
the hon. gentleman who leads the
Opposition in this House was a little
mistaken as to the composition of the
Upper House at that time. I shall
decidedly vote against the resolution of
the hon. gentleman from Woodstock, as I
consider those constitution tinkers are not
exactly what we require at present. The
constitution that has stood so long and
has served us so well should be retained
until some just reason is advanced that
will show that the country is dissatisfied
with it. The best proof that the country
is not dissatisfied is the fact that when we
have defeated any measure of the Government
they have never brought it before us
again. We have deteated some Government
measures, and the country was satisfied
that we were right and the Government
was wrong.
endeavor to follow the good example set
me by the hon. gentleman from Amherst,
who, I think, confined himself very closelY
to the resolution before the House. I
think it is to be regretted that a question
Vacancies [MAY 3,1886] in the Senate.
of such great importance should have
been taken up in this desultory fashion.
A question of such importance as this
Should have been the result of considerate
deliberation and concert between leading
rnembers of this House. I have, myself,
On a former occasion, and I think a more
suitable one, expressed my views as regards
the manner in which this House
should be reformed. Possibly I may, on
Sorne future occasion, have an opportunity
of repeating those opinions, and I intend
to reserve anything I have to say on that
Point until that opportunity shall occur.
I think some things have been said during
this debate which are not altogether relevant
to the question before us, and which
might be fairly commented upon. For
istance, a great deal has been said about
the dependence of members of this House.
I, myself, am a standing monument of the
contrary fact I was appointed to this
House by the Government of Sir John A.
Macdonald in 1873, and I and my colleagues
saw fit to take a position opposed
to that Government, and I have been op-
Posed to it ever since-not blindly, I
hope, because any measure of theirs which
I thought was a good and useful one I
have always been ready to support.
Then, as regards my own party, I
took a position opposed to my own
Political friends upon an important franchise
bill which came before this House.
.I Opposed that measure, in concert with
Other Senators from my own province,
and we opposed it so successfully that our
arnendment was sent down to the House
of Commons and adopted there. That
shows that there is room for independent
action of members in this body. I could
lot agree with the remarks which fell from
the hon. gentleman from Niagara to the
effect that a Senator appointed to this
body is emphatically a Senator of the
Dominion-I think the hon. gentleman
Went so far as to say mainly and chiefly
a Senator of the Dominion. I cannot
take that view of the question. I think
that the number of Senators appointed for
the sialler provinces, as alluded to by the
hon. gentlemen from Amherst, indicates
very clearly that the intent of the framers
of this constitution was that the Senators
Should have special charge of the interests
Of their particular provinces. I have felt
that to be the case with reference to the
terms of Confederation of our province.
How often have I brought that question
before the House ? I have now the satisfaction
of knowing that a dep’utation
from my Province, which recently went to
the Imperial Government and had various
interviews with the Secretary of State for
the Colonies, based their proposition upon
motions made by Senators from Prince
Edward Island, and upon answers given
by a gentleman whose absence we all deplore-
the Postmaster-General. Upon
the answers made by him was a large portion
of their memorials addressed to the
Secretary of State. I therefore say most
emphatically, notwithstanding the opinion
of the hon. gentleman from Niagara, that
I consider myself and my colleagues
charged, first and foremost, with the interests
of my province, not necessarily opposed
to the interests of the Dominion, but that
specially and particularly the interests of
our province are placed under our charge.
I say that with the more confidence because
in the other Chamber it frequently
happens that there occurs a difficulty. it
is not so easy, where a large number of
motions are before the House, to bring a
matter affecting any one province before
the notice of Parliament, and it frequently
happens that some particular motion
which interests some province specially is
not reached. The consequence is that
the wants and wishes of that province are
not so prominently and so pithily brought
before the notice of the Government as
when the motion is made in this House
where, from a paucity of business, every
motion is sure to obtain an attentive hearing.
I do not, after the [atience with
which thé House has listened to a very
irrelevant debate, wish to be drawn into
any speech in reply to hon. gentlemen
who have become rather discursive. I
could make some remarks on the Kaministiquia
River, and some other questions
that have been referred to, but I decline
to do so. As to what changes must take
place in this House, I have already expressed
my opinion, and I will again do
so when the proper time occurs.
propose to reply to the very modest
speeches of the hon. members from Dorchester
and Niagara. Their arguments,
so logical and convincing, must have been
3 A9
Liqk House at [SENATE] Cape Race Bill.
satisfactory to tbe House; but I desire to
specially notice the remarks of the hon.
gentleman from Amherst, a very distinguished
barrister of long standing, who
raised the point that the motion was unconstitutional.
I ask him now, is a motion
requesting the Senate to express an
opinion upon any great public subject unconstitutional
? Would he answer now?
I observe that he is silent, which will make
it evident to the House that he was
trifling with the Senate. As to the
hon. senator from York (Mr. Allan),
I understood that he used the same
language with the motion, and
added that any tyro would know that the
motion was unconstitutional. It is the
general mode of reply of the hon. gentleman,
as I have observed, for many years,
that he and his leader generally called
those from whom they differ bad names.
They say that such members are out of
their minds: that they are slanderers: that
they are beside themselves: that in fact
they know nothing. That is the style of
reply of that hon. gentleman who appears
always to be very scrupulous in his manner
of dealing with public questions. I
only hope that he and his leader can satisfy
their own consciences with regard to
their public conduct.
The House divided on the resolution,
which was lost on the following division:
Hon. Messrs.
Alexander, Leonard, Power.-3.
Boucherville, de,
McDonald (C-B.),
Macdonald (B.C.),
Miller (Speaker),
Robitail le,
It being 6 o’clock the Speaker left the

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