“Latest from Quebec! The Confederation Conference”, The Globe (19 October 1864)

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Date: 1864-10-19
By: The Globe
Citation: “Latest from Quebec! The Confederation Conference”, The Globe [Toronto] (19 October 1864).
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Probable Constitution of the Upper House.



Rebuilding of the Quebec Custom House

From our Own Correspondent


QUEBEC, Oct. 18th.

The conference met this morning at ten o’clock, sat until two, met again at half-past seven, and is still sitting while I write. Notwithstanding the strict secrecy preserved, there seems no doubt that the last few days have been entirely confined to the consideration of the best mode of providing members for the Upper House. From the earnest discussions everywhere heard on the subject, and judging from the tone of conversation, there are few delegates in favour of the election of members of the Legislative Council by the people. This is not surprising. Canada and Prince Edward Island are the only colonies in which the Council is elected. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, members of the Legislative Council are nominated by the Crown. The present Ministry of Prince Edward Island is, on the whole, Conservative. It may be, too, that the Conservative element in the Canadian Cabinet see little to admire in the change made a few years ago by their predecessors. The expense of contesting a division is enormous, and yearly increases. The consequence is that there is great difficulty in getting fit candidates, and the tendency to seek corrupt aid from the Administration of the day is increased. Then there is ever present a fear that the whole machinery of the government will be brought to a dead-lock by collision between the two Houses, both elective and both equally representing the people; but the Upper House, owing to its constitution, possesses advantages denied to the lower branch. Considering then, the actual constitution of the Council in the several Provinces, the arguments against elective lords, and the temper manifested by the delegates, I think I am safe in saying that if the question has been brought to a vote, the Conference decided against an elective House as formed in Canada. The matter to Upper Canada is not so important as may at first appear. In representation by population in the Assembly, she has her guarantee. Lower Canada seeks in the Council to place a barrier against aggression by the West. It is thus a matter less important to us than to the French. Why should we not then let Lower Canada decide the question, and make her defensive powers as strong as she likes, so long as those powers are not converted into weapons of offence against ourselves? If she should think that the best mode whereby to effect this will be to vest the nomination of members of the Legislative Council in the Crown, it would be no great stretch of liberality on our part to accord it to her.

The Speaker of the Upper House gives great ball on Wednesday. The delegates have been invited, but in consequence of the necessity they feel themselves under of sticking closely to business, they have declined. Their ladies, however, will attend. There is also some talk of a ball to be given by the Governor General. The bachelors of Quebec have also issued invitations for a ball on Friday at the Parliament House.

It is rumoured that a Commission is about being issued to enquire into the Essex Frauds at last election. Mr. David B. Read, it is reported, will be the Commissioner.

The contract for rebuilding the Quebec Custom House has been given out; the cost will be defrayed out of the insurance money.

The arrival of THE GLOBE of Monday, with the long telegraphic report of the dinner, created considerable surprise.

Partial returns for five parishes in Laurentides Division give Mr. Price 70 majority. The Island of Orleans is said to be going for him. Nothing is certain as to the result.

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