“Latest from Quebec. The Confederation Conference”, The Globe (20 October 1864)

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Date: 1864-10-20
By: The Globe
Citation: “Latest from Quebec. The Confederation Conference”, The Globe [Toronto] (20 October 1864).
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Latest from Quebec


Constitution of the Upper Chamber!



From Our Own Correspondent.


QUEBEC, Oct. 19.

The Daily News of this morning has the following: –

“Rumour – and in the present state of the deliberations of the Delegates we have no better authority – has it, that the constitution of the legislative council – assuming such to be the designation of the upper chamber under confederation – is to become modified to an extend which if carried out will certainly change its very essence. Already there are indications in a portion of the Press of this change – a change, too, so sweeping and so comprehensive as to alter the very constitution of that branch of the legislature, destroy the elective principle and make the members the nominees of the Crown.”

This is only in accordance with what was to be expected. [sic] of the Lower Provinces have Crown Chamber. The French Canadians demand that the Upper House shall be constructed in the mode they think best for the security of the interests and I believe the Upper Canadian Conservatives portion of the Cabinet are prepared to admit that an elective Upper Chamber does not possess the virtues they once attributed to it. It has been decided to select members of the legislative council of the several Provinces. The number is various reported at 76 and 80. How are these figures arrived at? At the Charlottetown Convention Newfoundland was not represented. Delegates from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Canada were alone present. It was not then ascertained if Newfoundland would care to become a part of the confederation. But here in Quebec we have gentlemen from that far-off country who claim that it would be unfair to leave them out in the cold, and so it most decidedly would. But there is this difficulty – that at the Charlottetown Convention, as already announced, Canada offered to give the Maritime Provinces an equal representation in the Legislative Council with either one of the two sections of this Province. The justice of the arrangement will scarcely be denied; but that decision having been arrived at how could we ask the Maritime Provinces, no that Newfoundland has made common cause with them, to be content with the same number of Legislative Councillors as we offered them independently of Newfoundland – as it was agreed to give twenty members of the Legislative Council each to Upper and Lower Canada and to the Maritime Provinces? Was it to be insisted that the Lower Provinces were to be denied the benefit accruing from the junction of Newfoundland with them? Justice will not admit the argument. But, on the other hand, under the Charlottetown arrangement Upper and Lower Canada had a majority of 20 over the Maritime Provinces. The question, then, might fairly be asked – ought she to be content with a smaller majority over the four Lower Provinces combined? I think a negative reply must have been returned. That majority might have been kept by giving 22 M.L.C.’s each to Upper and Lower Canada, 2o to the Maritime Provinces, and 4 to Newfoundland. But to such an arrangement the objection might be made, that at the Charlottetown Convention it was agreed to place the Maritime Province an equality with each section of Canada. One way would then alone be left open whereby to reconcile the difference of opinion – to give 48 members of the Legislative Council to Upper and Lower Canada, 24 to the Maritime Provinces, and 4 to Newfoundland. Thus both Canada’s majority and the original equality would be preserved, and you arrive at the solution of the reported number 76. The other number (80) may be obtained in this way. Faithful to their trust, the representatives of Upper Canada saw from the outset the necessity of providing for the admission of the great North-west into the confederation. If they were to let the opportunity slip by afforded at this present outset, similar feelings to those which have caused Lower Canada to regard the growth of Western power with jealousy, might prevail among the Eastern ranks for the confederation. It was agreed at the Charlottetown Convention that provision should be made for the admission of the far-west of this territory. The Red River Settlement is, undoubtedly, the portion most available for confederation purposes. It is a district which, so soon as it is open to settlement, will assuredly be sought by thousands – many years cannot elapse before it will have a very large population. This being the case, it would appear that provision should be made for its admission into the legislative council of the confederation on at least equal terms with newfoundland’ its representatives in the lower house being apportioned to its population.

It is erroneously stated that the fact of the term for which one of the Provincial assemblies was elected being about to expire, will necessitate the holding of sessions of Parliament, in all the Provinces, at an earlier season than usual in order to submit to the representatives of the people the plan conference may mature. The New Brunswick House – for that is the one alluded to expires in May next. Between now and then, a final session will be held at the regular period, and the Government will go to the country on the scheme whether it is sanctioned by the present House or not; but this can in no way influence the meeting of the other legislatures.

It is understood that the Conference to-day have been engaged in discussion the apportionment of the representation in the lower house. The local legislatures have not yet been reached, neither has the franchise. It will, I think, be found that a majority of the members will leave it to the people of each section to decide for themselves whether they will in their section have responsible government or not, and whether they will have two houses or one.

I see it announced in several papers, well-known for their reliability when points of the kind are involved that the delegates generally accord the leading position in the Convention to Messrs. J. A. Macdonald and Galt. The assertion is quite true. In fact, many of the gentlemen, heretofore accredited with the possession of some “Hairs”, are nowhere. Sir E. P. Tache, Attorney-General Cartier, Hon. G. Brown, Hon. W. McDougall, and the Hon. Alex Campbell, are especial sufferers. It was at one time seriously contemplated by the delegates from the Lower Provinces to turn them out of the Convention as useless lumber. Courtesy to the Canadian people alone restrained them.

A telegram was today received from Montreal, enquiring if the delegates would be able to visit that city and to receive hospitalities by Tuesday next. A reply was forwarded to the effect that it was impossible to tell.

Mr. John Page, on the part of the Government, and Mr. Cumberland on that o the contractors have been appointed arbitrators to settle claims on the Ottawa buildings – the claims of architects to be left to the same parties.

The Hon. Peter Mitchell, of New Brunswick, left to-night, private business compelling him to return home. His absence will be much felt by the Convention, for he is a gentleman of great talent.

Mr. Speaker Tessier gave a large ball this evening. It was well attended by the elite of the city. About eleven o’clock a number of the delegates made their appearance.

Partial returns from Laurentides Division give the following figures :-

Quebec County

Laterriere. Price
Lake Beauport………… … 44
Charlesbourg………………… 157 15
Beauport…………………………. 150 164
_______ _______
807 223

Mont[sic] county

Auge Gardien………………… 36 36
Chateau Richer……………… … 13
St. Jean d’Orleans…………… 14 121
St. Francois……………………… 24 22
St. Famille………………………… 26 24
St. Pierre…………………………… 15 67
St. Laurent………………………… 7 64
________ ________
122 847

These figures give Mr. Price 141 majority in ten municipalities. There have still to be heard from give or six parishes in the counties above partially reported, together with the whole of the counties of Charlevoix, Chicoutimi and Saguenay.

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