George Brown Papers, Drafts of the Quebec Resolutions, Amended Provincial Division of Powers (24 October 1864)

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Date: 1864-10-24
By: George Brown
Citation: George Brown Papers, Drafts of the Quebec Resolutions, Amended Provincial Division of Powers, October 24th, 1864 (MG 24, B 40, Vol. 21, p. 3747).
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3747[Note [1]]


Resolved, ––

That it shall be competent for the local legislature to make laws respecting:

  1. Agriculture.
  2. Education.
  3. [Im] Emigration.
  4. The sale and management of public lands, excepting lands held for general purposes by the General Government.
  5. Property and civil rights, excepting those portions thereof assigned to the general legislature.
  6. Municipal Institutions.
  7. Inland Fisheries.
  8. The construction, maintenance and management of Penitentiaries, and of Public and Reformatory Prisons.
  9. The construction, maintenance and management of Hospitals, Charities and Eleemosynary Institutions.
  10. All local works.
  11. The Administration of Justice, and the constitution, maintenance and organization of the Courts, both of Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction.
  12. The establishment of local offices and the appointment, payment and removal of local officers.
  13. The power of direct Taxation.
  14. Borrowing money on the credit of the Province.
  15. Shop, Saloon, Tavern, and Auctioneer licenses.
  16. Private and Local matters.

[1] MG24 B40 3747 (above) features the local division of power as formally submitted to committee on October 24th, 1864 (see H. Bernard’s “Minutes”, p. 101). For this reason, I have tentatively dated it October 24th, 1864. Like MG24 B40 3746 (previous set), the provincial powers follow the draft structure of the post-Charlottetown division of powers (see the “Post-Charlottetown Division of Powers, 1864”, p. 77 in this volume). The provincial powers are less broad in scope than the federal powers, and they focus almost exclusively on all local matters unrelated to the economy and trade, perhaps reflecting an understanding that the powers of the federal government would initially be broad on matters relating to the economy and trade (including interprovincial trade), while the provincial powers would be the inverse – i.e., while they would be especially defined.

As the Quebec Conference proceeded after October 24th October 1864, we see develop an efforts to define the more peripheral details of the local powers – we see more and more matters and details for the provincial division of powers added and refined. In the end, the provincial powers may have unintentionally (or intentionally) become overly defined, where federal powers were instead given more elasticity. After all, a catch-all clause was only given to the federal list of powers. Efforts to protect local matters may have ended up empowering federal jurisdictions by overly defining the former. [C.D.]

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