Debate of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada (May 13, 1853)
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Debate of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada
FRIDAY, 13 MAY 1853.
MR. SPEAKER acquainted the House, That, yesterday, he received from the Commissioner appointed for the examination of witnesses on the trial of the Petition complaining of an undue Election and Return for the County of Prince Edward, a copy of the Minutes of his proceedings under the said Commission.
Mr. Speaker further acquainted the House, That he had, this day, issued his Warrant for the re-assembling of the Select Committee on the Prince Edward Election Petition, on Friday next the 20th day of May instant, provided Parliament shall be then sitting, and in case Parliament shall not be then sitting, then on the third Monday next after the commencement of the next Session of Parliament, to take the proceedings of the said Commissioner into consideration.
The following Petitions were severally brought up, and laid on the table:– By the Honorable Mr. Robinson,–The Petition of W. Simpson and others, of the United Townships of Tiny and Tay.
By Mr. Street,–The Petition of Robert Hobson.
Pursuant to the Order of the day, the following Petitions were read:– Of Messieurs Hutchison and Company, and others, of the City of Toronto; praying for an Act of Incorporation under the name of “The Metropolitan Gas and Water Company,” and that the 64th Rule of the House be suspended in so for as it relates to the same.
Of John Scott and others, of Caledonia, in the County of Haldimand; representing that the Six Nations Indians on the Grand River, are indebted to them for articles furnished in trade, and that since the passing of the Act 15 & 14 Vic., cap. 74, for the protection of Indians, they refuse to pay their said debts, and praying for an inquiry in order to the payment thereof.
Of John B. Cunningham, President, and others, the Officers and Committee of the Farmers and Mechanics’ Institute of the Village of Norval, in the County of Halton; praying for aid in behalf of the said Institution.
Of L.F. Chaperon, of Pointe Lévi, Member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Lower Canada; representing that during the prevalence of Cholera in 1849 and 1851, he put into practice a Special Theory for the cure of Cholera Patients, and praying for an inquiry into the results thereof, and compensation for his trouble and sacrifices in that behalf.
Mr. Cauchon, from the Select Committee to which was referred the Petition of His Grace the Archbishop of Quebec, Patron, and others, the Officers of the Catholic Institute of St. Roch’s of Quebec, presented to the House the Report of the said Committee; which was read, as followeth:–
Your Committee have taken into their serious consideration the prayer of the Petition referred to them, and have agreed to recommend that a Bill be passed by Your Honorable House in compliance therewith.
The Honorable Mr. Merritt, from the Select Committee to which was referred the Petition of the Municipal Council of the United Counties of Lincoln and Welland relative to Concession allowances and side Lines, and other Petitions, presented to the House the Report of the said Committee; which was read, as followeth:–
Your Committee have examined the several Petitions referred to them, and beg leave to report upon the same, as followeth:–
1. with respect to the Petition of the Municipal Council of the United
mitted to a Committee of the whole House, for Monday next.
Ordered, That the Honorable Mr. Attorney General Drummond have leave to bring in a Bill to remedy certain irregularities and omissions in preparing the Lists of Jurors for the District of St. Francis.
He accordingly presented the said Bill to the House, and the same was received and read for the first time.
Ordered, That the Bill be now read a second time; and the Rules of this House suspended as regards the same.
The Bill was accordingly read a second time.
Ordered, That the Bill be read the third time on Monday next.
The Order of the day for the House in Committee on the Bill to amend and consolidate the several Acts for the construction of Plank and other Roads by Joint Stock Companies in Upper Canada, being read;
Ordered, That the said Order of the day be postponed until Monday next, and be then the first Order of the day.
A Message from the Legislative Council, by John Fennings Taylor, Esquire, one of the Masters in Chancery:–
The Legislative Council have passed the following Bills, without Amendment; viz:–
Bill, intituled, “An Act to amend an Act authorizing the Grand River Navigation Company to raise a certain sum of money by Loan:”
Bill, intituled, “An Act to incorporate the Mutual Assurance Associations of the Fabriques of the Dioceses of Quebec and of Three Rivers, and of Montreal and Saint Hyacinthe.”
And then he withdrew.
The House, according to Order, again resolved itself into a Committee to take into consideration certain Resolutions on the subject of the Constitution of the Legislative Council of this Province;1
MR. GAMBLE rose and said, Mr. Speaker, the resolutions before the House shall receive my most hearty vote, and I trust, that the House means to carry them out, but I cannot exactly approve of the last part of them. I do not assent to the truth that the introduction of the elective principle into our Legislative Council, would not be dangerous to Responsible Government–I think it would be.2 [He] approved, and had long approved of an elective Legislative Council. For his own part he did not fear it because it was dangerous to responsible government, for he did not believe in responsible, except as a stepping stone to popular government.3 If this elective principle is introduced, it will lead to a good stable government, and to the carrying out of reforms, and at last we shall be able to adopt a system far superior to Responsible Government. I never did approve of it, and as a system of Government adapted to the circumstances of the country, I think that it has proved a total failure. I do not believe in a system of Government which makes men dishonest, which induces men to say one thing before their constituents, and another here.4 He did not believe in a system of government that led to the destruction of the personal independence of the members of the Legislature–made men give apologies for their votes–or led them to stretch a point for the good of their party.5 I hope that these resolutions will be carried–but although they contain some things which I do not approve of, yet I would rather adopt the whole set of them as they are, than that the introduction of the elective principle into the Legislative Council, should be made. I believe that if it is introduced,
it will consign Responsible Government to the tomb of the Capulets.6
MR. BROWN.–Hear, hear.7
MR. GAMBLE: And no sooner would you introduce the elective principle into the Legislative Council, than it will lead to the election of the8 Governor, who would sympathize with the people of the country9, and of every officer under them–will lead to the appointment by the Governor, with the consent of the higher branch of the Legislature–that will be the result, and then we shall have an elective Government–(hear, hear,) and I trust that I shall yet have strength to take off my hat, and give three cheers for that happy event. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) I believe it will be for the interest of the country, that its whole affairs should be placed in the hands of those whose interests are bound up with the country. I was absent at the early part of the discussion upon this question, and had not the opportunity of hearing the eloquent speeches that were delivered–but upon reading the papers I did not find out that there were any reasons given by the administration for introducing this measure, except the want of confidence caused by the non-attendance of members of the Upper House. To what are we to attribute it? Why is it, that those gentlemen have absented themselves from their duties? The only reason which I have heard given by themselves, is, that it was perfectly useless for them to be in the House, for they were so in the minority, that their opinions there were disregarded, and that they really could not benefit the country in consequence.10 Nor could he help alluding to the manner in which the Ministry had acted on this matte[r], first bringing in a measure in one shape, and then changing it when they found it was not palateable to the house. They managed this as they did all their other measures. They had first of all proposed a new Commercial policy, which was to be retaliatory, and which was supported by all the members on the other side of the house especially by the member for Verchères; but by and by they changed all this entirely, and still they were supported by members opposite, again especially by the member for Verchères. Then coming to the point in hand, he avowed his belief that the Legislative Council did not enjoy the confidence of the people. Perhaps they had never done so to a great extent; but now certainly less than ever.11 In an early period of this country they enjoyed a much larger portion of the confidence of the people than they do at this moment, (hear, hear;) more particularly since the year 1841, when the indemnity act, the Rebellion Losses Bill, was introduced.12 That our institutions were especially democratic no one could deny, with the Governor reduced to a nullity and the Council to a mere register of the Lower House. What then was wanted was a series of checks like those in the United States, to avoid the instability which was the great danger of all democratic governments.13 It is very clear, that there is a very imperfect check given to the Legislative body of this House by the other. They are either looked upon as the registrars of the acts of this body, or as a body to revise those measures which emenated [sic] here. This is a Democratic Government, and the great evil of all Democratic Governments, is their continual liability to change, and the only course to adopt in order to avoid a system of that sort is, to have the body so constituted, as that it will be Conservative to the interests of the country, and have sufficient independence to exercise their own opinions with regard to the acts of the Legislature, not failing to exercise them, and they should not be carried away by those feelings which frequently excite the population14. The only foundation for the Legislative Council was the will of the people; and that was in fact the basis of the whole British system. Referring to the existence of elective institutions in the old thirteen colonies, he said it
existed in some of them from Governor downwards, and it was worthy of remark, that those which adhered the longest to their allegiance to England, were those in which the elective principle was the most extended. He was glad to see the government proposed to make the Upper House a court of impeachment. That was needed. He held that two branches of the legislature were necessary. to free government, and the second might be an independent body capable of forming a counterpoise to that below it. The number of sixty members he thought a convenient one. It was necessary to have a large number of members to give the house a proper weight. He agreed with the proposed rotation and the proposed term of six years for membership. The benefit of rotation was to prevent combinations, and secure independent action, which could not be well secured if all the members’went out together.15 As the time for which they would be elected would be a longer period than the term for which the members of this House would be, the property qualification of £1000, free from incumberances, I think would be as low a qualification as members to constitute that House could have.16 But to allow ex-members of the Assembly, to be qualified for membership of the Council, without any other qualification appeared to him to be a strange anomaly.17 We desire to have persons there of mature judgment, and I would prefer that the age fixed in the resolutions should be 35; but, however, as 30 is fixed I will take it. I was glad to see that the administration had abandoned all other restrictions in the way of compelling people to choose the members from municipal bodies, as for example: the wardens and mayors; but there are other matters to which I do not assent, although, I do say, that I would sooner vote for the whole of these resolutions, than that the elective principle should not be applied to the formation of the Legislative Council. I do not hesitate, though, to declare my opinion that it would not be right to give the power of dissolving this body; it is said to be the prerogative of the Crown, with which you must not meddle. It would not do to settle the parliament for a certain number of years, and allow it to remain, for that is the prerogative of the Crown. It must be remembered, that the representative of the crown, must have somebody to provide for carrying out the dissolution; it is the prerogative of the minister of the day, and I cannot see why. the opinions of the administration should out-weigh that of the Council. It should not. I think that we should rather have biennal elections, and do away with the power of dissolution altogether. So far as it is intended to apply here to the Legislative Council, I do not approve of it, but I would rather go for it than that the principle should be lost. I hope that the Hon. Provincial Secretary will alter the wording of the first resolution, in the way proposed, for it would enable those hon. members on my side of the House to vote for the present measure. The hon. member for Toronto alluded last night to the mode of appointment of the Senate of the United States, and compared the Legislative Council to that Senate. I think, however, that it was hardly a fair comparison, because, to a certain extent, the Legislative Council of this country would find a fitter parallel in the Senate of the State Legislatures, although there are some powers which we exercise that they do not; for example, with regard to our commercial policy. But in showing the advantage which arises in the Senate being elected by the Legislatures of the different States, his argument, I think, would [l]ead to a conclusion, and to which that hon. gentlemen [sic] did not allude, that is, not only that the election of those Legislative Councillors would be made by persons holding a greater amount of property than those who voted for the members of the Assembly, but the mode of electing the Legislative Councillors by the Municipal Councils of the Counties. I do really think, that greater advantages would arise by the Legislative Council being elected by these
Councils–I think, too, that they would form a body which would be entitled to the respect of the whole country. I do not speak with reference to the Municipalities of Lower Canada, although I know of nothing to their discredit18. He did not know anything personally about the municipal councils of Lower Canada, but he heard them spoken of by Lower Canada members in a disparaging manner.19 I speak simply of the Councils of Canada West, and I am sure, that they would form an electoral body for this purpose, which would certainly secure the confidence of the whole country.20 He was certain the municipalities would return a respectable and independent body of men; and conferring upon the municipalities that power would also tend to raise their status21. And another advantage is, that they would form a connecting link between those other Common Councils and the Legislature, and we should have a continuous chain from the very lowest Municipality up to the Legislative Council. That, I think, is an object well worthy of consideration. As to having a difference of qualification for the electors, I am entirely opposed to it,–it is a system which I am convinced would never work well. In order to show the opinions which were entertained in England with regard to these matters, the hon. member for Toronto read from a book published by Lord Grey, and a report of certain parties opinions, with regard to their mode of constituting the higher branch of the Legislature in the Colonies. I do not think that what is stated there, is at all applicable, inasmuch as the Colonies at that time did not enjoy Responsible Government, but at all events, I must confess that I have no great confidence in constitutions manufactured by the Colonial Office. I think, that a home manufactured constitution would be much more likely to be lasting, and I think that the best way would be, to set heartily about it in the very first instance, and instead of addressing Her Majesty upon this simple subject of the Legislative Council, we should address Her Majesty to authorize a convention to be held in the different provinces, in order to give a constitution to each province22 [OR] he would prefer to have a convention from all the British North American Colonies, to frame a federal constitution for the whole.23 (Hear! hear! and laughter.) Hon. gentlemen may laugh, but the subject has been broached in the Imperial Parliament. Sir William Molesworth said, with regard to the constitution of Australia, that if you desire it to be satisfactory to the people, it is necessary that they should be directly consulted with regard to it, and that a constituent body should be selected for that particular purpose–therefore we have the opinion, you see, of a member of the Imperial Parliament.24
MR. MERRITT.–I beg to correct the hon. member for York–Lord John Russell made use of that observation.25
MR. GAMBLE.–He might have done so; I know that he made suggestions with regard to the alteration of those constitutions of the Australian provinces.26
MR. MERRITT.–He said he regretted extremely that that constitution had not emanated from the people of Canada, because they would have been better satisfied with their own constitution, even if not good, than if the constitution had been formed by Lord Sydenham, and adopted by them.27
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS.–Where did he say that?28
MR. MERRITT.–In Parliament.29
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS.–Lord John Russell never said one word in favour of a convention, nor would anybody imagine that he did.30
MR. GAMBLE.–At all events it is quite clear that it was proposed to give every considerable power to the colonists with regard to the alteration in the
constitution of the Australian provinces–they were to have the power of forming a federal union. I cannot see why, if they permitted the Australian provinces to do that, the same boon should not be extended to the American provinces. With that we should be able to carry out a lasting and stable system of Government, which would be satisfactory to the whole of British North America. Why should we not have a Federal Union as well as the Australian provinces? If you were to have one general Federal Union, and a local Government for each province, it would be satisfactory to the entire country.31 The provinces were about to become united by railroads, and why not be so politically. It would be better for all. Each colony would then have its own local legislature, and Lower Canada members would not force upon Upper Canada a Chancery Court against its will, nor a school law, which he fancied they would in a few days.32 Then we could carry out this system of having two elective chambers in our Legislature. Divide your Legislative powers and then you will find that a very different system of Legislation will be established to anything which you can enjoy under Responsible Government. I fairly represent the opinion of my constituents as to the increased powers which they think ought to be given to the municipalities. I think these resolutions are not altogether perfect yet–there is one thing that is wanting. Supposing that these resolutions are adopted, I shall move: “That the Speaker of the Legislative Council so to be elected, should not be appointed by the Crown, but chosen by themselves from among their own number.” It cannot be expected that a representative body chosen by the people will be satisfactory to that body, to have an officer at their head, who may not possibly have the confidence of a majority of the House. (The hon. member33 made some farther remarks censuring the impatience with which Mr. Boulton had been listened to by the House when he advocated these questions in Toronto, when music played under the window and the House was counted out, after which fifteen members walked out of a committee room. He looked upon such proceedings with disgust.34
MR. RIDOUT did not think the scheme of Mr. Morin was so matured as it might have been, nor so much so, as he expected from the hon. member’s great experience. He (Mr. R.) was opposed to the first resolution because he was opposed to the principle of an Elective Legislative Council. If the elective principle were applied to the Legislative Council, it would not stop there, but must soon be applied to the Governor; and that he believed was inconsistent with our remaining a British colony–than which there was nothing he could more deplore. He proceeded to criticise the resolutions in detail; and expressed his concurrence in the proposition for a federal union of the British North American colonies. He had more seen the necessity of that since he had been at Quebec.35
COL. PRINCE, while not agreeing with all the details of the resolutions, would nevertheless vote for them, as the best which had been submitted to the House. He proceeded to find fault with the council at length; and declared the country had no confidence in it. Its members were seldom heard from, except when they rejected the best bills of the assembly. He also complained that they did not attend in their places. He went on to criticise the resolutions in detail, expressing his concurrence in some points, and his disapprobation of others.36
MR. STREET censured the last speaker for the manner in which he had spoken of the Upper Branch of the Legislature. with respect to the resolutions, he was opposed to them. He was opposed to having the Legislative Council made elective. If the elective principle were applied to the Council, it would be necessary to apply it to the governor, and both of these were inconsistent with our present system of responsible government. He proceeded to give at length
his reasons for thinking in this manner.37
MR. GAMBLE replied to Mr. Street.38
MR. R. CHRISTIE of Gaspé was not distinctly audible in the Reporter’s Box, but he was understoood [sic] to say that admit[t]ing the present Legislative Council was unpopular, he still feared that making it elective would involve a change of the whole institution. He also considered it an unhappy concurrence that a proposition should be made to pay members of the Council, in the same breath that it was proposed to change its constitution. While generally wishing to support the government he was afraid to do so in the present instance.39
MR. SICOTTE (in French) regretted that the government had manifested so much vacillation in proposing an important change in the constitution. There was no noble or privileged class here nor was there any reason to desire such a class. There [was] an anomaly in our system of government in maintaining an independent branch nominated by the crown. For our principle was one of Parliamentary majorities–a branch altogether independent of the people was therefore illogical. In important cases, therefore, where it was necessary to make the two branches accord, such a House must be swamped, though they only acted according to their consciences. With such a body either there must be this occasional swamping, or the members must yield and vote contrary to their consciences. If one of these things did not occur then the Council must be the obstructive body which it had formerly been; for it was absurd to conceive of such a body revising merely the legislation of the other House–revising matters of full stops and commas. The moment it was demonstrated that this body ought to be independent, it was also proved that the whole thing was radically vicious. It might indeed be a question whether there should be one or two chambers. That point had often been considered and as often decided in different ways; but in general two chambers had been established to serve as a counterpoise the one to the other. The experience of many ages was not without use in this question, for this showed the natural bent of the human mind, and for this reason he would be disposed to favour the maintenance of the two bodies in preference to one. In fact history proved that single legislative bodies quickly absorbed all powers, and created themselves into privileged bodies. With two majorities as well as two minorities there must always be differences between the two majorities, which must lead to the restraint of any attempt to assume unlimited power. Two bodies would often have separate interests, and at any rate there would always be an interval to allow of the minority to make its reasons heard and appreciated before the final passage40 of the law. The rotation of the41 members of the Council and the qualification of persons for members could not, he thought, meet the wishes of the country. If the pecuniary qualification were necessary at all then it was necessary for all times, and it was not because the old members of either House had possessed this qualification once that they should be supposed to retain it always. Again it was proposed to retain the present members of the Council till they were replaced. Now if there were any necessity for having the Council elected, upon what pretence was legislation still to be carried on by men, who had not the confidence of the country. Besides by this plan the Council would be composed of two separate elements, which from their separate nature must be conflicting. This inconvenience he would not subject the Council to.42
At this stage of the hon. member’s address, a good deal of conversation was going on.43
MR. SICOTTE said that finding he could not be attended to, because he spoke
in French, he would sit down.44
DR. LATERRIERE declared that he saw no necessity for an innovation of the sort contemplated in the present bill.45 Autrefois on se plaignait de l’hostilité du conseil législatif envers la branche populaire; on criait contre les vieillards malfaisants qui repoussaient toutes les mesures utiles au pays.46 Formerly the Council was irresponsible; now it was named by those who possessed the confidence of the people47 et cependant l’on se plaint de ce que ce corps approuve toujours ce que veut l’assemblée législative.48
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS said the government had put forward some very simple propositions, upon which hon. members could readily make up their minds, he thought (in reference to what had been said of the carelessness of the government) that the ministry had already stated their views distinctly enough. These views were that in the country, there was no aristocratic body distinguished from the rest of the people, who could have weight in the Legislature except as they derived it from popular appointment. Besides no people in Canada could afford to devote themselves to the public service without remuneration. The remedy for this was to offer to pay; but this could not be made to persons not appointed by the people.49 Now, sir, while I am upon the subject of qualification, and I beg at this moment the particular attention of my hon. friends the members for Verchères and St. Hyacinthe, because, if I understood the latter gentleman’s remarks, he attached some censure to the Government, or inconsistency in regard to the negociations that took place between the hon. member for Verchères and the Government, upon an offer that was made to him of a seat in the Cabinet, upon the occasion of the hon. member for Montreal retiring. He will correct me if I say anything wrong, but I understood the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe to say, that we were influenced in that negociation, by reason of the hon. member only having a pecuniary qualification. My hon. friend for Verchères will admit, he was told, that the Government would not make the qualification a sine qua non. They did not say, that they were at that time, decidedly opposed to a pecuniary qualification, but they said, that they were not prepared to adopt that as the only qualification. The Government were not prepared to admit that they could take the pecuniary qualification as the sole one for the Legislative Council. I do not see that they have taken any inconsistent course. The Government has now brought forward its proposition, adopting the principle of pecuniary qualification, but they were not certainly prepared at that time to assent to that, without having the opinion of this House. Having brought down their scheme, I endeavoured to show, at all events, that the Government, in the propositions that they had brought forward, have acted, as I think, with perfect fairness, and with that regard to the opinion of this House and the public which I think the Government is bound to respect, and, there was nothing inconsistent on their part that would justify the hon. member for York, although he has shown us this evening that he entirely disapproves of Responsible Government, and of the manner of at present conducting it, to charge us with inconsistency, in the course that we have taken upon this subject. Now, I must say that beli[e]ving I do understand something of the system of government which prevails in the mother country, I do believe that this is the best system of government that can prevail in any country. I say that there has been nothing at all inconsistent in the course which has been adopted, upon the present occasion. I say that the hon. members to whom I have referred, are widely mistaken as to their views of that system of government, if they believe that under it any minister would come down to the House, and pertinaciously adhere to a thing, and say, that he would not alter his measure as to one single letter,–(Hear,
hear)–and that he is not bound to respect the opinions of the party by whom he is supported in parliament, and of the members of this House. I say, it is a very mistaken view of the system of Government which prevails in the mother country, and wholly inconsistent with the practice of Governments there. The fact of the matter is, that daily experience shows us, that the members of the Imperial Government do modify their measures constantly, and endeavour to meet the opinions of one and the other House. The main objections to the proposition brought forward, I will pass over for a moment and refer to the objections of those who are opposed altogether to a change in the constitution of the Legislative Council. If I am not greatly mistaken, there is a majority in this House, and I think no small majority, who are prepared to adopt the principle of making the Legislative Council elective. (Hear, hear.) But I will proceed to deal with those who agree with the Government in concurring, that it is expedient to introduce the elective principle. I am of opinion, that the first scheme of the hon. Provincial Secretary, and the one afterwards modified, are neither of them satisfactory. Well, the most prominent objection taken to the original scheme brought forward, was upon the question of qualification. I have already admitted, and remain unchanged, that it was a sound principle, but in consequence of the opposition it has met, I have said, that the Government have shown their sincerity in endeavouring to meet the views, which I say they were bound to do, of those who entertained the same opinions which they did, who desired them to change the principles of the constitution of the Legislative Council. They were bound, I say, to meet their wishes; and finding that they were participated in to so large an extent by the public at large, they should have endeavoured to modify their scheme so as to gain a large amount of public support. Whether they have succeeded in doing so, is a question which the result of the present division will show, and I believe they have succeeded in it. In fact there was an objection taken by the hon. member for York, who admitted that there should be a qualification, and who did not object to that which had been established as being one too large, and which cannot be denied, admitting that the hon. member objected to our allowing any persons but those having a pecuniary qualification, to be eligible.50
MR. SICOTTE.–I did not say anything as to the amount of qualification.51
MR. CARTIER.–The hon. gentleman will allow me, I shall have occasion to speak upon this matter; but when the conversation took place between me and the members in the Council room, I insisted upon property qualification, and the question was put to me, what was to be the amount of it? I said that I did not think, after all, that £2000 should be the amount, but at all events, the qualification ought to be a respectable one. I did not fix £2000 as a sine qua non qualification.52
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS.–The hon. member is perfectly correct. I trust he did not suppose that I said anything in opposition to that?53
MR. CARTIER.–I only made the observation because it might be reported all over the country by the press, that I had insisted upon that amount of property qualification.54
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS.–Yes, it is exactly as the hon. member has stated, there was no definite amount named; I believe I understood that he had objected to the eligibility of members irrespective of any qualification, and I must say that I think if you adopt the principle of a qualification of £1000 or £1500, or whatever the amount be fixed at, that if you adopt pecuniary qualification there would [not] be any public dissatisfaction, if in addition to the persons
so qualified you make persons elected by the people for this House also, qualified. This is, after all, a matter of detail in the whole scheme, but it is one which I certainly do think it is expedient to add to the other qualification, because I am quite free to admit that there is in this country an opposition;55
MR. MACKENZIE.–I have always been a convert to the opinion declared by Mr. Macaulay in England. He said, that if the persons elected are proper persons, you may give them a qualification as you please. It is the persons who are to have the choice that ought to have the qualification.56
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS.–That I agree in, and I am free to admit, that that opinion has been joined in by a great many persons for whose judgment I have a great deal of respect, and I say, that the proposition brought down by the Government so far meets those two opinions, that it says, that first of all there is a property qualification, but, at the same time, that other members, without any property qualification, may become members by simply passing through this House–consequently, the only obstruction is, that a man without property, (and I would be the last person to see any man without property excluded from the highest honour of the country,) and what does this proposition say?–That a property qualification is the rule, but, in the case of no property qualification, that the person elected to this House, whoever he may be, without one shilling of property, shall be eligible. There is nothing in that scheme which can be objectionable. Now, with regard to the tenure of office, the scheme, as originally brought down by the Government, was, that the tenure of office should be for nine years, the members going out by rotation every three years. An amendment was proposed by an hon. member who has generally supported the Government, and we had reason to believe, that the term of 6 years would meet their views better than 9 years.57
MR. CAUCHON.–Who is that member?58
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS.–I spoke of the members generally. I have not heard any complaint made upon that subject. The hon. member for York, who is not a very staunch supporter of this scheme, although he said that he would vote for the resolution, has even admitted that the present scheme proposed of six years is not good; and as I see that the hon. member for Welland is in his place, while I think of it, I will observe that the hon. gentleman has misapprehended the very effect of the second resolution. He said it provided that the members should be elected for the term of six years, except in certain cases after a dissolution, and after that event for less than six years. Of course, according to the proposition, these members would be elected for six years; but in case of the dissolution of Parliament, it would be necessary to determine who should go out at the end of four years and six years; and begin de novo, it is necessary to do so in the first instance. It is only in the case of dissolution that any difficulty would arise, and that is provided for in the first resolution.59
MR. STREET.–The resolutions provide that members should be elected for six years, except in case of dissolution. Under another clause power is given to dissolve the Parliament, but in the event of that both Houses are dissolved. Then, for what period of time are the members of the Legislative Council to be elected after its dissolution?60.
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS.–That would depend altogether as to who goes out at the end of four years, and who at the end of six.61
MR. STREET.–They are all elected for a given time first.. After the election takes place this allotment takes place.62
MR. INSE. GEN. HINCKS.–I do not think that there is any difficulty upon that point. Now, with regard to the power of dissolution, there was a very great objection raised, which the hon. member for York does not think has been sufficiently met; but even in his view of the case, I think that the objection was consistently taken, but I think he will admit, that the present proposition is more calculated to meet his view of the case, than the previous one, which allowed the crown to dissolve at its pleasure, the Legislative Council. I have always contended, that under the constitution, which is as near perfection as can be, that it is essentially necessary to ensure the carrying on of Government under the present system–that there should be provision made against what I should call a “dead lock,”–against that difference of opinion between the two branches of the Legislature. I must sincerely, say, that I do not think, it would be a very serious thing, for any Legislative body to do, to advise the crown to dissolve the Legislative Council, but as we found that there was a strong objection in this House, to the dissolution of the Legislative Council, being allowed by the Crown, that there was a distrust of it, because, we are all of opinion that it would not be expedient, for any Government to do that– what have we provided? That the power of dissolution should only be exercised under certain circumstances, where, for instance, a measure has been twice rejected by the Legislative Council, after it had twice passed the Assembly by a majority of that House. It is only under these circumstances that it should be dissolved; but it does not still follow that that would be the necessary consequence, for it would depend a great deal upon the state of public opinion, and upon the importance of the measure. I think that we have sufficiently guarded the independence of the Legislative Council by making that provision, which was done in order to meet the views of those who professed to be in favour of the elective principle, and not to entrust so much power to the Crown. With regard to the number of members, which is the next point, all seem to be agreed, that the number which we have selected is not inconveniently large, and certainly not too small. I must confess that, with regard to hon. gentlemen who do not generally support the Government, or who do not profess to have any political confidence in them, and who consequently would be supposed to view the measure of the Government with distrust, the hon. members for York and Toronto differ from the proposition. I must say that I am agreeably disappointed in the speech of the hon. member for York, for I found, that, he gave a larger amount of support to the resolutions than I had anticipated.63 The hon. member for West [sic] York, supported the measure from totally different reasons from those which influenced him (Mr. Hincks.) All he could say was he did not see in it the consequences which that gentleman foretold.64 I must confess that I have examined
this matter as carefully as I could, but believing that the present system of Government which now prevails in this country is the very best system65.
MR. BROWN.–“hear! hear!”66
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS [continued:] and which could possibly be carried out in any country,–admiring as I do the British constitution and system of Government, which prevails in the United Kingdom, as being the very best in the world, and desiring to retain to this country its integrity, I do firmly believe, that it will not be impaired by changing the constitution of the Legislative Council. I am quite free to admit that the view taken by the hon. member for Kent, I have some confidence in, but at the same time I have endeavored to form my view of the subject, and my impression is, that he is altogether wrong in the resolutions which he proposes, and which I have before me. I do not believe that all these difficulties will be found to exist, for really to read his resolutions, you
would really suppose, that when this set of men were elected, they would go together for a fight67.
MR. BROWN.–hear! hear! 68
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS [continued:] instead of … [?acceding] (which I believe if anything they would,) paying a due regard to the opinion of the other House, and which they ought to pay. What the hon. member for Welland said as to the functions of these two bodies, he cannot charge the Hon. Provincial Secretary with bringing forward a proposition in which he had not taken, what he stated, into consideration. His resolution provides that in all other respects, the peculiar powers and privileges now possessed by the two Houses of Parliament, shall be maintained inviolate. If I understand anything about our constitution, it is one of peculiar privilege to originate monied votes, and if we are [not] to be deprived of those privileges, the practical control over the ministry of the day would be in this House, and not with the Legislative Council. I utterly deny that it would be impossible (as would be inferred from the Resolutions of the hon. member for Kent,) for the Ministry to carry en the government of this country because they had not got the support of the Legislative Council. I deny that it would be the case any more under the elective principle, than it would be now. I am quite free to admit that I believe that the Legislative Council will have more moral weight with the community and with this House than they have now, and it is in order to effect that, that the change is proposed; but if you are going to tell us that they are going to impede the whole working of Government,–it is absurd. It would be so to contend that under this state of things, they would have the means of obstructing all machinery of the Government. Yes, I think it is a very mistaken view of the question. Would any man pretend to tell me that a Legislative Council like this would exercise more weight in this community, and more power over the Government of this country, or over this House, than the House of Lords does in England over the House of Commons? Most unquestionably not. Nobody with any knowledge of the state of politics in England, will say that the House of Peers does not exercise a most important influence in England, and notwithstanding that, Ministries have gone on in direct opposition to the House of Lords, where it was known that they could not maintain a majority, and bills of great importance have been rejected by that House. What was the Jewish Disability Bill? A bill in which the Prime Minister of England, from the very peculiar circumstances of the whole case, must have taken a most peculiar interest, because Lord J. Russell had been elected as the colleague of a gentleman of the Jewish persuasion, who was elected with him expressly as his colleague, and upon the ground that the people of the city of London were determined to show by electing him, their anxiety to have that bill passed, and notwithstanding that the bill which was carried through the House of Commons by a large majority, was rejected by the House of Lords, did Lord John Russell resign upon the occasion? No–the House of Lords exercised its discretion, and I say, that if you have a second branch of the Legislature here, its opinions must be respected, and that body ought to have weight, and that has been my desire since I have been here, to endeavour to maintain that body, and to defend it when it has been improperly and unjustly attacked in this House. The very object of having it an elective body is to give it more weight, and then its opinions will have more influence; but it does not follow that because the Government bring forward a measure and are unable to carry it through the other House, that the Government is to be broken up. I believe that the system of Government that now prevails may be carried on in its integrity. But I labor under this disadvantage–I am met on the one side by the hon. member for Kent, although I have had no reason to doubt his sincerity since
I have had the pleasure of being here with him–I have had no reason to doubt but that the hon. member is sincerely attached to the system of Government which we now enjoy. Well, I find that he, upon the grounds I have stated, objects to it, I cannot entertain that, and I know that my colleagues hear me out in this, that the proposition is not incompatible with that system of Government. If the effect which the hon. member for York anticipates, would take place, I would be the last to support it, and never would give it my sanction. I do not concur, it is needless to say, in any of the remarks made by that hon. gentleman, and there is no use in going through them–no use in raising questions in matters upon which my opinion is known to prevail–but, there is just one simple point, which arises every day in this House almost, which I shall trouble the Committee with any remark upon. The hon. member pronounces the system of Government which prevails at present, as a dishonest system, because, he says, it frequently happens, that members are obliged to do, as he says, the hon. member for Lincoln did the other evening, namely, stretch a point in order to support the Government, and frequently vote in support of the Government in opposition to what their own particular opinions may be. All I can say is, that I believe that no country where free institutions prevail, (I do not care whether it is in a Republican form of Government, or Monarchical,) Government must, after all, be conducted upon party principle, and by means of a party; and when I say that Government can only be carried on in that way, I say that which every man who understands anything about the manner in which everything is conducted in our society must know, namely, that it is carried on by a combination of persons acting in concert, having a common object in view, and meeting together on common ground in order to carry out that object, whether it be
a bank, insurance company, canal company, a bible or tract society, I care not what it is, any organization of the kind where persons meet together to carry out any general object it must be done by means of combination, and then it follows that there must be consultation, amongst different persons, and that the majority must carry the sway for the time being, and there must be an union of persons in order to carry out the object; after all apply this to the system of Government. We know perfectly well that there is no country where party Government prevails to a greater extent, or is more carried on upon strict party principles, … [than] it is under that very system of institutions which exists on the other side of the lines, and which seems to be so particularly lauded by the hon. member for York. What are we charged with here? I am quite willing to take the attack. The only difference in point of fact, and I am sure that I speak the opinions of all my colleagues when I say, that it is our misfortune that we have to settle our opinions at home in private first, before bringing our measures before the House, whereas all of you settle them in this House. We have to come down with a line of policy which we think will be the best to pursue for the interests of the country, and I give the same credit to the hon. gentleman opposite. We all of us believe that the party to which we belong is the party most desirous to carry out that policy which is best for the interests of the people of the country; and therefore we are obliged upon every defined question which comes up, to come down with the best policy we can agree upon; but according to the principles of the hon. member for York, our friends ought not to give way on one single point, or come in half an inch, however immaterial the matter may be. Why, sir, I have found, that where I have been obliged to give way in my opinion, day after day in Council, upon points of ten times greater importance, than some of those to which my last remark would apply– I have asked my supporters in this House to give way to me, and I have not been able to get even my friends to do so. No, sir; I say it feelingly, and I have
a right to say it. I do not wish to cast blame upon any individual, but such is the course that hon. members take in this House. It is impossible to carry on Government, unless there is mutuality. Our friends would not give way to us one iota upon a principle by which they believe they could gain popularity in the country, and put us in the position of being injured; but the hon. member for York says, that they did not do so. Now, I do not think that he has any particular occasion to find fault with the hon. members of this House, in the great sacrifice which they have made upon the part of the Government. Where differences have arisen, I think that they have shown a pretty independent course, but these are the matters in which the hon. member for York wants to make out–they are most dishonest. I must say, that if there is any dishonesty, that it may be charged just as much against one side of the House as the other, and it was just as chargeable when gentlemen of opposite politics held our seats,–and I must say, that whether in the opposition, or whether in the Government, I find that hon. gentlemen opposite are just as much prepared to vote for party principle, and I mean to exempt the hon. member for York from the Category, for although he holds the most democratic principles of any member in this House, (not excepting the hon. member for Haldimand) I do not find, that in general questions, he is found voting, at all events, with those who are looked upon as the most democratic section of this House. I do not know how to account for it, but it is so, and I therefore think, that that dishonesty which is charged as a great bug-bear against the Government, is to be supported. The man who sits down and supposes, that it is possible for any Government or party, to agree upon every point which comes up, is just the man who shows, that he understands nothing at all about the matter. It was a remarkable fact, connected with one branch of the Government, namely, the exercise of patronage. I believe that it was the expression, of one of the most distinguished statesmen, that England ever possessed, Sir Robert Peel, that during the whole course of his official life, it never once happened to him that he was-able to give an office to the party he desired. A short time before his death he stated, that although, he had been Prime Min[i]ster of England for a great number of years he was never able to do it. Hon. gentlemen may delude themselves, into the idea that they will get perfection by extending the democratic system. I think that any man who reads a book that I have read, more [than] once with a great deal of pleasure, that is the Essay upon the British Constitution, written by no less a person than Lord John Russell, he will see a great deal there to satisfy him, that after all, party Government, and party considerations, are not the very worst principles upon which Governments may be carried on. There may be considerations infinitely more corrupt than party considerations, with the aid of which, affairs can be conducted, and I think unquestionably, that the system of Government which we have here, is infinitely more intelligent than anything like these various ways of influencing members of the Legislature, which prevails under other systems where party government also prevails. I have, Sir, dwelt too long upon this point, but I conceive that it is the only point in fact, worthy of going into, in discussing the remarks which fell from the hon. member for York, as to the institutions of the country. I have already stated, and believe most sincerely, that the system which we propose to introduce will not in any way be prejudicial to our carrying out the system of Government which now prevails here, which I think to be the best, and I think that no solid objection can be raised to the propositions introduced by the hon. Provincial Secretary. Of course, every individual forms his opinions upon the subject, and has to vote upon his own responsibility in the matter. If we are enabled [sic] to carry those resolutions, of course the effect will be, I believe, that no scheme of
an elective Legislative Council will be adopted during the present session. I do not think that the hon. members for Toronto or York will command the majority of the House; they might possibly command two or three votes each; but if every individual who is in favour of the principle of an elective Legislative Council, is determined to have his own scheme, and will consent to no modification of his views, of course, then, nothing can be done. We have had before us this session a measure which, I think, is paramount to all others, namely, to have a change made in the representation of the country. What was the course with that? was the bill carried through this House by every individual saying, that he would not vary his own opinions, or by mutual concession, frame a scheme that would at all have commanded the support of the necessary majority of this House? And so with regard to these resolutions–it is necessary for hon. members to take them up with the view not of pertinaciously adhering each to his own particular scheme. The members of the Government have shown by the course that they have adopted, that they do not desire to thrust forward the scheme, or pertinaciously adhere to a particular scheme. They have found members of this House making objections to their original propositions, but they have endeavored to make their schemes harmonise with the views of the members of this House–they have brought another scheme down, and they do not pertinaciously adhere to that. If hon. members can show that there is anything calculated to make it more efficient, we are perfectly ready to meet it upon fair ground– meet us as friends and we are ready to meet you, and as such we come down honestly desirous of improving the constitution of this body, and with that view we are prepared to meet this committee in fair discussion upon the subject, and to render these resolutions as perfect as possibly can be.69
MR. MACKENZIE contended that there was an air of ridicule about all this affair, which inspired him with no confidence at all. He would oppose the proposition of the hon. member for Kent. He spoke at some length on the resolutions of the government, and Mr. Brown’s amendment, but was not sufficiently audible throughout his remarks for the reporter to follow him.70
MR. BROWN regretted to find the government intended to go on with this scheme, for he believed it would be the last of the British constitution in this province. The laboured defence of the Inspector General–and he was never more weak in argument–strengthened his (Mr. B.’s) impression. The manner in which this scheme was brought forward, was unstatesmanlike and rash in the last degree. First the government came down with a series of crude resolutions, and then their absurdity was so apparent that they had to withdraw them for another set. That was not the way to deal with a great question affecting the constitution of the country. That was not according to British practice. But the conduct of the government was the same on all their great measures this session. They came down with one scheme of representation–found they could not carry that, and then accepted another. So with the tariff–so with their law reforms– so with the currency bill–so with the marriage bill–and they actually advertised for amendments to be brought to them privately on their school bill. The hon. member went into other cases and called the conduct of the ministry an abuse of responsible government, which if carried much farther must break it up. The hon. gentleman referred to British precedent but they would find no parallel for such conduct as that. Hon. gentlemen seemed to forget that the Legislative Council was not now what it was before 1837. He admitted that the abuses of the Council of that period might have created a clamour for its election; but those abuses did not exist now. If the Upper House were made elective he argued responsible government could not exist. He would rather have one
chamber, than two elective ones, and should move to that effect should his first proposed amendments be rejected. He was surprised to see that in these resolutions, the government proposed that Upper Canada should return 30 members for the Council, and Lower Canada 30 members, and thus again recognize injustice to Upper Canada. Any Upper Canada member who would support such a proposition would not faithfully discharge his duty. Here the hon. member read from the resolutions of’the government, the details of which he ridiculed. He read from the resolutions of 1841 on which the system of responsible government was founded, and the memorandum of Mr. Lafontaine to Lord Metcalfe, with a view of shewing that according to the theory of responsible government the ministry were responsible to the Lower House, and that the Upper House should harmonize with it. That harmony would be destroyed if the Upper House were made elective. Elect the members of the Upper House and they would be responsible to their constituents, and must carry out the principles on which they were elected. He would like to ask the Inspector General what he would do if the Upper House refused to pass a measure which had been passed by the Lower House?71
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS said the measure would come back, and there might be a conference held as at present. If it were again refused it must lie over till the next session. If again refused if he were a minister, he would advise the dissolution of the Upper House. If the Upper House, going to the country, were sustained, the measure would be lost, and he (Mr. H.) would say it ought to be. (Hear, hear.)72
MR. BROWN saw that, and the argument that he derived from it was, that the responsibility of the ministry would be lost. The government would say the fault is not ours, if any of their measures were mangled, but the Upper House’s. There would be a constant system of see-sawing. There would be constant dissolutions, and the country, sick of the system, would demand its abolition, and the introduction of the American system as a refuge. The hon. gentleman enlarged at great length on this argument, and adduced a variety of illustrations in support of it. He said there could be no responsible government if another body might cut and carve the measures of the government as they wished. He would move the following amendment:–
Resolved,–That the system of Government which obtains in the Mother Country and has been introduced into this Province, rests mainly for its safety and efficiency on the facility with which the Ministry of the day can be made amenable to public opinion for their conduct, and removed from office upon Address to the Crown from the representatives of the people: That the House of Assembly, under the existing Constitutional system of Canada, is the admitted exponent of public opinion, and is in a position to exercise a prompt and effective check over the administration of public affairs: That a second Legislative Chamber elected by public vote, would speak equally with the House of Assembly the wishes of the people and would be equally entitled to express them to the Crown: That the rapid changes which experience has shown continually to take place in public sentiment, the difference in the electoral divisions for which the members of the two Chambers respectively would sit, and the different terms for which they would be elected, leave no reason to doubt that the political views of the majority of the Lower House would frequently be in direct opposition to those of the majority of the Upper House: That when such variance of opinion occurred in the political views of the majority of the two Chambers, an Address of want of confidence from one House would be met by a vote of confidence from the other House and the Executive would be left practically uncontrolled: That when such variance in the opinion of the two branches occurred, the responsibility of the
Ministry of the day–for the right conduct of all public affairs, Legislative and Executive so absolutely essential under the British Constitutional system– would cease, as no party Ad[mi]nistration could command a majority in both bodies, and the measures deemed necessary by Government could only become law by the consent of its political opponents:
That two elective Chambers are utterly incompatible with Responsible Government on the British system, and that the great power entrusted under that system to the Ministry of the day, could not be safely continued under the relaxed restraint which two elective houses would entail:
That no urgent necessity calls for a change of the constitution of the Legislative Council–that no practical evil exists which such a change would remove–and that there is no practical end now sought to be attained and found unattainable which such a change would render attainable:
That in consideration of the foregoing, and in view of rapid social, and material progress of the Country, which cannot fail to effect the working of any political system, it is not expedient to make any change at present in the organization of the Legislative Council, but that means should be taken to render that body more efficient under its existing constitution.73
MR. INSP. GEN. HINCKS replied, contending that the Government were agreed on the principles of their most important measures, and were not liable to the charges made against them by the hon. member for Kent. He did not believe that strong feelings existed in the country, as the hon. member stated with reference to certain peculiar questions, of which he had made himself the special guardian. With respect to the Clergy Reserves, the course pursued by the Government had proved successful, and the people of Upper Canada exactly estimated it, and were rejoiced that the course recommended by the hon. member for Kent had not been followed. He continued generally to reply to the argument of Mr. Brown, saying that he had heard nothing urged to induce him to believe that responsible Government could not be carried out under the resolutions of the Government.74 He … would be the last man to damage responsible government, which he held to be the best in the world.75
MR. LANGTON complimented Mr. Brown for the eloquence of his speech, but he could not, for its logic. The hon. member had brought them a whole string of cases, in which he had told them the ministry had made responsible Government a farce; a farce was the expression. But he spoke in his amendment of the “facility with which the Government of the day could be made amenable to public opinion” and called the present system of responsible Government the best that was ever devised. If this were so, how came it that the Government were not ere this brought to account–before they had committed so long a string of misdeeds? (Laughter and cheers.) Mr. Brown had asked what the Upper House had done that they have lost the confidence of the country? He would ask what has the hon. member for Kent done that he has not the confidence of the country.76 The hon. member was talented and eloquent; and he (Mr. L.) sometimes voted with him; but when he did, he always found he was in a very small minority, (laughter.) The hon. member for Haldimand was popular in Upper Canada and could gain an election in any country; but in that House, he was in as small a minority as the hon. member for Kent. The hon. member for77 Haldimand78 was very popular in the country– that could not be denied–yet he did nothing–you could not put your finger on any of his acts, except that he had got up a little rebellion, and that had been a failure. He could not obtain a majority in that House. In view of those facts it appeared to him (Mr. L.) that the theory of the hon. member for Kent was far from logical, or so perfect, so admirable, as he made it out. According to the
theory of the hon. member for Kent, it would follow that the Upper House must be periodically packed to make it harmonize with the Lower House; that would have to be by the advice of a responsible minister; in other words by popular influence; then why not let that influence be directly exerted? But the hon. member was in favor of having only one House.–He (Mr. L.) however did not think the country could take that view, nor could the hon. member find any precedents from history in support, but much the reverse. The hon. member feared there would be constant collisions between the Upper and the Lower Houses. He (Mr. L.) did not fear that, for both must be made to represent the general voice, while one might be made a check upon the other. Besides two bodies which had to pull together would in the main agree. He (Mr. L.) was fond of harmony, and for that reason did not think it any particular harm that the government should sometimes abandon points of their measures; The two Houses also, ought not to be elected by constituencies widely different, for the sake of harmony in reflecting the general voice. As to anomaly, why the British system was one vast mass of anomalies, but had nevertheless endured for ages, and the proposition of an elective council, under responsible government, was not more anomalous than the present one. He made some further remarks and moved the following amendment:–
That in order to ensure the election of persons of high character and generally acknowledged reputation to serve in the Legislative Council, it is expedient that the Electoral Districts should be as large as is otherwise consistent with convenience.
That in order that every part of the country may be able to express its opinion and have an equal weight in the Legislature at every election it is expedient that every such Electoral District should return one Legislative Councillor every two years.
That it is therefore expedient to divide the Province of Canada into twenty Electoral districts for the purpose of Electing sixty persons to serve in the legislative Council, and that three Councillors should be returned for each District at the first election, and the order of their retirement being decided by lot, that one should be returned at all subsequent elections.79
MR. MERRITT considered this amendment did the hon. member (Mr. Langton) great credit. It was much better than the government scheme and the best plan he had yet seen. He was in favor of the elective principle but he could not go as far as the hon. member from York (Mr. Gamble) and advocate an elective governor.80
MR. MARCHILDON commenced to speak but was interrupted with loud cries, which he characterised as sottish insolence, amid still louder cries and laughter. He continued making a general attack on Mr. Cauchon, and contending that his speeches were founded on erroneous principles. He considered 30 members enough, fifteen from Upper and fifteen from Lower Canada. He had prepared some amendments.81
“N’y a pas besoin de qualification pecuniaire d’argent. Je voudrais que les femmes fussent élues membres de la chambre et du conseil. Les créatures sont bien plus fines que les hommes, et elles sont beaucoup plus économiques.” Puis l’honorable membre s’attaque … à tous les députés Bas-Canadiens en général dont la conduite en chambre le fait rougir. ll leur promet à la prochaine élection générale de visiter tous les comtés pour les exposer.82 (Loud laughter and interruptions.)83
Des huées de tous les coins de la salle forcent le député de Champlain à finir subitement son spitch.84
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