Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Parliamentary Debates on the Subject of the Confederation of the British North America Provinces, 8th Parl, 3rd Sess, (3 February 1865)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Parliamentary Debates on the Subject of the Confederation of the British North America Provinces, 8th Parl, 3rd Sess, 1865 at 13-20.
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FRIDAY, February 3, 1865.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said the Speaker having desired that he should not go on with the Address about the union of the colonies, he proposed not to take it up till Monday next, but as the matter was one of the utmost importance, he thought it would be well now to settle the mode of conducting the discussion. He would propose that after the discussion commenced, it should continue day after day, and that for the purpose of greater regularity the Speaker should remain in the chair. At the same time he would propose that the rule which prevented members speaking more than one when the Speaker was in the chair should be suspended, in order that every member might have the same liberty of free discussion as he would have in Committee of the Whole.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said the Attorney General’s [John A. Macdonald] proposition that discussion should continue day after day, was one which, in his opinion, ought not to be entertained by the House. This was a very grave question, and he thought the people of this country had a right to consider maturely the sentiments promulgated by their representatives with regard to it. He was sorry, therefore, to have heard it announced by the Attorney General [John A. Macdonald] that the Government were to hurry the measure through, to the exclusion of all other matters.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said he had not stated this. His idea was that after the debate commenced it should go on each day after half-past seven, leaving the afternoon sitting for other business. If the discussion was to be confined to government days, the debate of Tuesday would be forgotten by Friday, the same arguments would be gone over, and they would sit the whole year round to finish it.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said other changes of no less importance than this, with reference to Clergy Reserves, Legislative Council, Seigniorial Tenure, &c, had been before the people for a quarter of a century, and fully discussed session after session before being finally disposed of. Public opinion in that way was fully matured on these questions, but here they were called on at a few days’ notice to change entirely the Constitution we lived under, and time was not to be allowed for public opinion to be expressed on it. He objected also to the suspension of the rules of Parliament, so as to make the discussion take […]
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[…] place with the Speaker in the chair, instead of in Committee of the Whole. If there was any question on which the House should adhere to its forms, it was a question like this—when the Government was so strong, so outrageously strong—(laughter)—the minority should be protected by the rules of the House being fully maintained. He observed the President of the Council [George Brown] laugh. He had learned a good deal from that gentleman in standing up for the rules of the House. But now, forsooth, the lion and lamb were lying together, and the Government, knowing that they had it in their power, were now to carry the measure through by brute force—the force of the majority.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said there was nothing irregular in his proposing that discussion should go on with the Speaker in the chair. The suspension of the rules he proposed was for the protection of the minority, by allowing each member to speak and state his objections as often as he pleased.
John Cameron [Peel] approved of the proposition that discussion be conducted with the Speaker in the chair. With reference to the other proposition that it should go on from day to day, he suggested that after Attorney General Macdonald [John A. Macdonald] had stated his views at length on Monday, the debate should be adjourned for at least one week, that people in the country might have the views of the Government fully before them, before the debate fairly commenced. After that it might go on day after day.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he had not regarded the Attorney General’s [John A. Macdonald] proposition in exactly the same light as the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], but was willing to accept it as indicating a desire on the part of the Government to afford facilities for a full and free discussion. He thought, however, it would be advantageous if, after the general discussion took place with the Speaker in the chair, the House went into Committee of the Whole, to consider the details. He thought three days in the week sufficient for the discussion.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] had rightly apprehended the object of the Attorney General [John A. Macdonald] when he treated his proposition as dictated by a desire to afford the fullest opportunity of discussing this great question. Nothing could be further from their intention than to hurry the measure through by brute force, as charged by the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald]. Although the Attorney General [John A. Macdonald] had proposed that the discussion should continue day alter day, he had not suggested for a moment that the whole should be hurried on; the debate at any period might be adjourned, if deemed necessary, to allow time for the expression of public opinion. There were 130 members, and almost every member would desire to speak on the question, and he thought clearly the proper course was to devote every day after half-past seven to the discussion, to allow all the members on both sides to state their views, that they might go to the country and be fully considered. He thought there was a good deal of force in the suggestion of the member for Peel [John Cameron], that after the views of the Government had been stated distinctly to the House the debate should be adjourned for a short time. Of course the Attorney General East [George-Étienne Cartier], as well as the Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald], would desire to explain the scheme from his point of view, so would the Minister of Finance [Alexander T. Galt]; and probably he also (Mr. Brown) from his own particular stand point would like to say something about the scheme. After the views of the Government had thus been put before the House, there could be no difficulty about adjourning the debate for a time, that the country might distinctly understand what they were about.
After some remarks by Joseph Cauchon [Montmorency] and Christopher Dunkin [Brome],
William Powell [Carleton] asked whether the House was expected to adopt the scheme in its entirety, or would it be open to the House to adopt one portion of it and reject another portion of it?
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—That is not a fair question.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Perfectly fair.
William Powell [Carleton] thought Mr. Holton’s regard for fair play excessive, when it even impelled him to interfere on behalf of the Administration.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I think it would be unfair to answer such a question.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said he agreed that Mr. Cameron’s proposition was a reasonable one. The Government would, in the first place, lay their case before the House, and through the press before the country, and then allow a reasonable time for the country to judge of the case as presented by the Government. It would not, of course, be presented by himself alone, as the President of the Council [George Brown] had said. The subject was so large in itself and comprehended so great a variety of details, that he fancied all the members of the Government would find it necessary to express their views on particular portions of this great scheme. In answer to the member for Carleton [William Powell], the Government desired to […]
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[…] say that they presented the scheme as a whole, and would exert all the influence they could bring to bear in the way of argument to induce the House to adopt the scheme without alteration, and for the simple reason that the scheme was not one framed by the Government of Canada, or by the Government of Nova Scotia, but was in the nature of a treaty settled between the different colonies, each clause of which had been fully discussed, and which had been agreed to by a system of mutual compromise. Of course it was competent to the House to vote against the Address as a whole, or to adopt amendments to it, but if they did so, it would then be for the Government to consider whether they would press the scheme further on the attention of the House.
It was obvious that unless the scheme were adopted as it had been settled between the different provinces, if they prosecuted it further, they would have to commence de novo and he had no hesitation in expressing his belief that if the scheme was not now adopted in all its principal details, as presented to the House, we could not expect to get it passed this century. It had been only in consequence of a very happy concurrence of circumstances, which might not easily arise again, that the different provinces had been enabled to arrive at the conclusion now presented, and he should exceedingly regret in the Interests of Canada and of the future of British North America, if anything should delay beyond this year the completion and conclusion of this great scheme.
The resolutions on their face bore evidence of compromise; perhaps not one of the delegates from any of the provinces would have propounded this scheme as a whole, but being impressed with the conviction that it was highly desirable with a view to the maintenance of British power on this continent, that there should be Confederation and a junction of all the provinces, the consideration of the details was entered upon in a spirit of compromise. Not, one member of the Canadian Government had his own views carried out in all the details, and it was the same with the other delegates.
But after a full discussion of sixteen days, and after the various details had been voted on, the resolutions as a whole were agreed to by a unanimous vote; every one of the delegates, whatever his view to any of the details being satisfied to adopt the whole scheme as adopted by a majority for each individual resolution, and to press it upon his own Legislature as the only practicable scheme that could be carried; such being the cage, he trusted the Government would have the support of a very large majority of the House in carrying the scheme just as it stood, members sacrificing their individual opinions as to particular details, if satisfied with the Government that the scheme as a whole was for the benefit and prosperity of the people of Canada.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] would like to inquire whether, according to the course of proceeding proposed by the Attorney General [John A. Macdonald], the several resolutions of the Conference would be submitted separately to the House as affirmative propositions?
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said “no.“ The proposition submitted to the House is that an Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that a bill should be passed based on these resolutions. All amendments might be moved to that one resolution. It would be the same thing, in fact, as to move them upon each resolution separately.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] held that the Government ought to ask for an affirmative vote from the House on each of those resolutions. They had been prepared and passed by a self-constituted body, without the House or the people ever having been consulted on the subject. Unless the House were a sham altogether, the least reference that could be paid to it would be to obtain a direct affirmation of each of the basis on which the projected Constitution which was hereafter to govern us wore to be founded.
Joseph Cauchon [Montmorency] wished information as to whether the scheme was to be discussed as a whole, or whether there would be an opportunity given to consider each part of it separately? There were part of the resolutions about which there might be some misunderstanding and difference of opinion, as for example those clauses by one of which it was stated that the civil laws of the country were to be under the control of the local governments, and by the other of which the law of marriage was placed under the control of the General Government. The law of marriage pervaded the whole civil code, and he wanted to know how it could be placed under a different legislature from that which was to regulate the rest of the civil law. He did not, however, see why an affirmative vote on each resolution would enable the House to pronounce with more freedom on these details than the course proposed by the Attorney General [John A. Macdonald].
Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] said the member for Montmorency [Joseph Cauchon] misapprehended the scope of the objection made by the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton]. […]
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[…] That objection was that the freedom of Parliament would be better consulted, and more opportunity would be given to learn the sense of the House by the different clauses of the Address being moved seriatim, in the same way as supplies were voted. This was the manner in which the Irish Union Act had been passed, as well as the bill to change the Government of India, the Canadian Union Act of 1840, Legislative Council Act, and other important measures. This was the uniform course of Parliament, and there was no precedent to be found for any contrary mode of proceeding. He thought the course proposed on the Opposition side of the House the most reasonable—that there should be a general discussion on the scheme, in which Members of the Government should state their views; that then there should be an adjournment for a week to enable the public to consider these speeches, and that then the subject should be discussed three whole days each week till disposed of. This would, in fact, be devoting more time to it than the plan that was proposed by the President of the Council [George Brown], and would secure more fair, open and full opportunity for discussion.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] could understand the object of the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion]. That hon. gentleman was opposed to Confederation, and the course he proposed was just that which was calculated to throw the scheme to another Parliament and till another conference was held, so that Confederation might not be effected till the day of judgment. These resolutions were in the nature of a treaty, and if not adopted in their entirety, the proceedings would have to be commenced de novo. If each province undertook to change the details of the scheme, there would be no end to the discussions and the conferences which would have to be held.—Then, as to having a debate three days a week, it would extend the session beyond all bounds, especially as after the Confederation scheme was disposed of, there would be a measure for organizing the local governments under that scheme.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Why not bring that measure down with this?
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said that they were two different propositions, and they council be only dealt with separately. If the House declared, by its vote, that Confederation was desirable, then it would be proper to consider the nature of the local governments; but if it failed to accept the principle of Confederation, then it would be entirely useless to bring up the other measure. Besides, to bring down both measures at once would make confusion worse confounded, because members would, of necessity, introduce their views upon local governments into the consideration of the Confederation question.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] commented upon the declaration that the resolutions of the Conference were tantamount to a treaty, and asked by what authority the Government had undertaken to negotiate a treaty. He contended that all forms of the House should be strictly observed, so that there should be no infringement upon the rights of the minority.
Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South] asked whether it was the intention of the Government to carry this measure into force without submitting it to the people?
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said he could answer his honorable friend at once. If this measure received the support of the House, there would be no necessity of going to the people. If, however, the measure were defeated, it, would be for the Government to consider whether there should not be an appeal to the country. (Hear, hear, and laughter.)
Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West] asked whether it was intended to make any amendments in the scheme to meet the suggestions contained in the despatch of the Colonial Secretary.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West], in reply, said of course he could not answer what the policy of the Imperial Government might be; all he could say was this, that the representatives of the various colonial governments, after this treaty had been made, agreed to go home and press upon the legislatures of their respective provinces this measure as a whole, and to present in all the colonial legislatures addresses identical in their nature to Her Majesty, asking Her to pass an Act based upon these resolutions, such address being an expression of the deliberate opinion of the colonies. It would then become the duty of the Imperial Government and Legislature to act as they pleased in the matter. He hoped and believed they would not make any alterations in the scheme adopted by the Conference. He was quite satisfied that if the local legislatures asked them to pass the scheme as it stood, they would leave us to be the best judges of our own affairs and carry the measure through.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he had given notice the other day of three questions he intended to put to the Government before going […]
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[…] into Committee of Supply, but as the present was an equally favorable opportunity, he trusted there would be no objection to his putting them now.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—No, go on.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said the first question had a reference to the subject to which the Attorney General [John A. Macdonald] had alluded in the course of his remarks just now. It was, whether it was the intention of the Government to bring down their projects for local constitutions for the two sections of Canada before inviting the House to proceed with the discussion of this question of Confederation. The honorable gentleman had already answered that question by saying it was not the intention of the Government to introduce this measure, and had given reasons for this course. Upon these reasons he (Hon. Mr. Holton) desired to say one word. He maintained that the question now before the House was, should they revolutionize the country, should they revolutionize the government of the country? (Hear, hear.)
That was undoubtedly the question, and he would like to know distinctly whether the form of the proposed new government, local as well as general, formed part of the same scheme? He felt that the House could not be in a position to consider the proposed forms of the Constitution until they had before them, at least in a general way, the forms of government which were to obtain between the two sections of the province, of the union of which a dissolution was to be wrought by the measure before the House.
Then another question which he had proposed to put had reference to the educational system of Lower Canada. The Minister of Finance [Alexander T. Galt], in a speech at Sherbrooke, had promised that the Government would introduce a bill to amend the school laws of Lower Canada. The honorable gentleman must be aware that this was a question on which there was a great deal of feeling in this section of the province amongst the English-speaking, or the Protestant class, of the population. He did not like to introduce anything of a religious character into discussions of this House, but in debating the great changes which it was proposed to effect in our system of government, the effect of them upon that class to which he referred must be considered. Among that class there was no phase or feature of these threatened changes which excited so much alarm as this very question of education. Well, the Minister of Finance [Alexander T. Galt] had said, with great solemnity, as having the authority of his colleagues for it, that this session the Government would bring down amendments to the school laws of Lower Canada, which they proposed enacting into law before a change of government should take place, and which would become a permanent settlement of that question.
The question he then desired to put was whether they intended to submit these amendments before they asked the House to pass finally upon the other scheme of Confederation, and if so, to state when the House might look for that measure, as it would undoubtedly exercise very considerable influence upon the discussion of the Confederation scheme, and probably in the last resort from several members from Lower Canada. (Hear, hear.)
Then the third question of which he had given notice had reference to the Intercolonial Railway. It was a novelty that, perhaps, might not be found in the constitution of any country, to introduce a provision for the construction of a railroad, canals, turnpike roads or other public works. (Laughter.) But the novelty existed in this case, and we are told that a part of the proposed Constitution was to build the Intercolonial Railway, as to the usefulness of which there had been a great difference of opinion amongst members of the House and in the country.
|Editors’ Note (2019): The Legislative Assembly stopped for dinner recess.|
After the dinner recess,
Luther Holton [Chateauguay], continuing his remarks, said it appeared now to be proposed to make the construction of a railway part of the Constitution of the country. The President of the Council [George Brown], who had formerly strongly opposed the Intercolonial Railway, had now become so enamoured of it and its adjuncts that he was reported to have declared in a speech at Toronto, that rather than not have those adjuncts, to wit, the union of all the provinces, which he had also previously opposed as vigorously as the railway itself, he would consent to building six intercolonial railways. (Laughter.)
He thought the House was entitled to know what was to be done with reference to that railway before they were asked to consider the great question of which it formed a part. He desired also some information as to the position of the North-West question on which the President of the Council [George Brown] had always taken strong grounds, maintaining that Canada had a territorial right extending over all that region. He took it for granted the President of the Council [George Brown] still maintained his position, but he wished to know from him authoritatively the manner in which the Government proposed to deal with the question. He desired, also, some information on the subject of the defences, and what was to be the measure of our contributions […]
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[…] under the proposed scheme for that important object.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said the Government would cheerfully give an answer to Hon. Mr. Holton’s questions. As to the local constitutions of Upper and Lower Canada, when subordinate provinces of the Confederation, Government proposed to submit to the House a scheme or schemes to be considered by members of Upper and Lower Canada, respecting the constitutions, of their respective governments. But the action with regard to them must be the action of Parliament. That action would only be asked after the Confederation scheme was adopted, for until it was settled that there was to be Confederation, it was idle to discuss what should be the constitutions of the several provinces. As to the school question, it had been announced by Hon. Mr. Galt, at Sherbrooke, that before Confederation took place, this Parliament would be asked to consider a measure which he hoped would be satisfactory to all classes of the community. There was a good deal of apprehension in Lower Canada on the part of the minority there as to the possible effect of Confederation on their rights on the subject of education, and it was the intention of the Government, if Parliament approved the scheme of Confederation, to lay before the House this session, certain amendments to the school law, to operate as a sort of guarantee against any infringement by the majority of the rights of the minority in this matter.
Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—Will it apply to both Upper and Lower Canada?
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said he believed, as regarded Upper Canada, the matter would remain in status quo, as the present law there was quite satisfactory to the minority. As regarded the Intercolonial Railroad, the resolutions showed precisely what was the intention of the Government in that matter. The railroad was not, as stated by Hon. Mr. Holton, a portion of the Constitution, but was one of the conditions on which the Lower Provinces agreed to enter into the constitutional agreement with us. The North-West question he would leave in the hands of the President of the Council [George Brown], who understood it thoroughly, and could, no doubt, give Hon. Mr. Holton a satisfactory answer. With respect to the defences of the province, they were now the subject of negotiations with the Imperial Government, and the fullest information would be given to the House on that subject. He might mention that the Maritime Provinces, recognizing the peculiar position of Canada geographically, and its danger in case of hostilities, had most cordially agreed that any sum this Parliament might vote for the defence of Canada, they would undertake their share of.
Thomas Wallbridge [Hastings North] asked if he was to understand that a guarantee was to be given in the Constitution of the Federal Government to Roman Catholic separate schools?
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—I only said this, that before Confederation is adopted, the Government would bring down a measure to amend the school law of Lower Canada, protecting the rights of the minority, and which, at the same time, I believe, would be satisfactory to the majority, who have always hitherto shown respect for the rights of the minority, and, no doubt, will continue to do so.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said Hon. Mr. Holton had done no injustice to him in supposing he held now precisely the same sentiments on the North-West question he formerly did. He believed it of vast importance that that region should be brought within the limits of civilization, and vigorous measures had been taken to ascertain what could be done with that view. It was not long since he returned from England, where the matter was very fully discussed, and he had not as yet had an opportunity of submitting the thing so fully to the Council that a decision could be had upon it, but he had no doubt that in a very short time they would be able to communicate to the House ample information as to their intentions.
*[Original Editor’s Note: The discussion was then made regular by Atty. Gen. Macdonald formally proposing that an Address be presented to Her Majesty.]
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said that the universal law of Parliament with respect either to bills or addresses looking to the disposal of public property or funds, or additions to the burdens of the country, was that the measure must originate in Committee of the Whole. This Confederation scheme disposed of the whole assets of the country, and established burdens which were to be applied to the purposes of the provinces of New Brunswick and Newfoundland, besides paying eighty cents per head of population to all the various provinces. This appropriation of property indeed ran throughout the scheme. Not only so, but the usage on all similar occasions was to introduce the measure in Committee of the Whole. The act of union between England and Ireland was originated in this way, and so was our own act of union in the legislature of Upper Canada under the management of Mr. Poulet Thompson, who was well known to be an able English parliamentarian. The […]
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[…] same course was taken on our own Reform Bill under the Hincks Government.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said that any measure appropriating money must originate in Committee of the Whole, but it was otherwise with an Address to the Crown, asking to recommend a grant of money. This was an address asking the Crown to make a great constitutional change. Now, supposing that it was asking to have the Constitution done away with altogether, must such an address originate in committee? Clearly not. The money to be appropriated was to be granted by legislatures which did not yet exist.
Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—There is nothing more plain than that, according to the standing order of the House of Commons, any measure appropriating money or any Address to the Crown asking for a grant of money, or that expenses may be incurred, must originate in Committee of the Whole. Our own 80th rule was in a similar sense, setting forth that motions tending to grant an aid or to make any charge upon the people must originate in committee. Now, surely these resolutions tended to create a charge upon the people. Among other things they bound the country to make a railway.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—That will be made by the Confederate Government, not by this Government. We are not granting any money.
Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—Nor do you ever grant money when you ask the Crown to recommend the grant, since the Crown may refuse; surely if a matter involving [Antoine-Aimé Dorion:] $5 or $50 must originate in committee, so large a matter as this must do so.
George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] spoke of Hon. Mr. Dorion’s remarks as absurd, as not a farthing of money was being appropriated. It was quite true the rule of the Imperial Parliament might seem to go as far as Hon. Mr. Dorion said, but we had no such rule. Ours was founded on the Union Act, which merely said that no appropriation could be made, except after a Message from His Excellency, which must be referred to a committee. The Union Act was our law, and to-morrow the British Parliament, with the sanction of the Queen, might abolish the Constitution.
Christopher Dunkin [Brome]—The Attorney General [John A. Macdonald] was the very Bayard of defenders of every little corporation which had received its charter from that legislature; that was of every corporation or company which enjoyed his favor, from none of which he would take away the smallest part of the privileges ever conferred upon them, and yet he asserted that the whole privileges and rights of this great colony could be taken away to-morrow by the Imperial Parliament. He (Mr. Dunkin) denied that all our rights were held at pleasure, but, if they were, that had nothing to do with the matter. If we were precluded from giving away small sums of money, except in a particular way, surely we were debarred from giving away all our rights. The British Parliament could declare that a man is a woman, and he must thereafter legally be called a woman, but that did not make him one.
Alexander T. Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said clearly no charge was put on the people by this Address; not a penny could be taken out of the public chest in consequence of it. He thought also the spirit of the rules was no more infringed than their letter, by taking the course proposed by the Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald]; because, if the Address passed, the Imperial Act would refer again to the people the power of disposing of this property by their votes.
Mr. Speaker decided as follows:—
The honorable member for Chateauguay has submitted that the motion is not in order, “inasmuch as the proposed Address prays the Crown to recommend to the Imperial Parliament the passage of an Act laying new burdens on the people of this Province, and making dispositions as to the public property and money of this Province, the law of Parliament requires that it should be founded on Resolutions originated in Committee of the whole House.”
Now, the 4th clause of the 14th section of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, “The Legislative Assembly shall not originate or pass any Vote, Resolution or Bill for the appropriation of any part of the said Consolidated Revenue Fund”, or of any other tax or impost, to any purpose which has not been first recommended by a Message of the Governor to the Legislative Assembly, during the Session in which such Vote, Resolution or Bill is passed;” and the 88th Rule of this House,
“If any motion be made in the House for any public aid or charge upon the people, the consideration and debate thereof may not be presently entered upon, but shall be adjourned till such further day as the House shall think fit to appoint; and then it shall be referred to a Committee of the whole House before any Resolution or Vote of the House do pass thereupon,” which seems to be based thereon, refer to Resolutions or to an Address upon which some future action of this House is to be based. I fail to see in this motion that the action of this House is to be involved any further after passing this Resolution. As this matter was discussed before I left the chair, at six o’clock, I took occasion to put in writing my opinion upon the subject. I will read: “The motion is for an Address to Her Majesty, in which […]
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[…] the Resolutions on Confederation of the Provinces are set out. How does this differ from an Address moved to His Excellency, which always comes on motion upon a two days’ notice given as in this case? I cannot see how, as a point of Order, I can treat the matter other than as in the ordinary case of an Address. The argument is that it will be inconvenient so to discuss it. That is not addressed to a question of Order, but to one of convenience. The case cited by the honorable member for Chateauguay of Resolutions upon the question of a Bill for the Government of India was not one of Resolutions for an Address, but of Resolutions simply, containing the proposed principles of the Bill intended to be introduced. It is not pretended here that this House has any right to pass such a Bill, or that it is intended to present one on that subject here.
The reasons why it is convenient to discuss matters in the form of a Resolution on which a Bill is afterwards to be introduced, is that Resolutions more easily admit of alteration. The Government have expressed their determination not to admit of any alterations in these Resolutions. Thus it is obvious that the same reasons for going into Committee do not hold. The member who moves an Address can force the vote on his motion in the manner he has put it, unless the form of it be changed by amendment, and this appears to be the only course open here. In truth the word ‘Resolutions’ might very well have been omitted altogether from this motion. Whatever might have been the result on a mere question of convenience, it is certain that the Speaker does not decide that matter. His duties are to preserve order and decorum, and to decide questions of Order.”
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] moved that the debate be adjourned and made the first order for Monday after half-past seven o’clock, P.M.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] raised the objection that this motion could not be put without two days’ notice
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said if this was the sort of tactics to be pursued, and an attempt made to embarrass the Government at every step, he must withdraw the concession made to the member for Peel [John Cameron], and would give notice that he would move on Tuesday, that the debate be continued from day to day until the Address was finally adopted or rejected by the House.
After some discussion, Luther Holton [Chateauguay] withdrew his objection, and Atty. Gen. Macdonald his notice.
 Union with Ireland Act 1800 (U.K.) & Act of Union (Ireland) 1800 (Ireland).