New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly (11 April 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 106-107.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Wednesday, April 11.
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The House met pursuant to the adjournment at half-past two P. M.
Mr. Kerr moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to incorporate the Northern Bank.
Hon. Mr. Smith then rose and said, that he had hoped to have been ready to give the reasons why the Government had tendered their resignations, but regretted he was not yet in a position to do so. He had just received a note from the Governor saying that he could not give a reply to them till four or five o’clock, and as under these circumstances it was usual to adjourn from day to day, he was compelled again to ask the indulgence of the Houser [sic].
Mr. Kerr thought that local matters could be gone on with without affecting the position of the Government. If he imagined that anything could arise to affect them, he would [text missing] motion. It would probably be three or four days before that would be [illegible] take up any business of general interest, but in the meantime he should like the local business to be transacted.
Mr. Fisher said they should remember that the request for adjournment came from the Government, and though he felt the necessity of proceeding with the local business yet he could not feel it his duty to proceed against their motion. He did not look for the effect the going on might have on the past or present, but on the future, and as it was usual to adjourn, he was in favor of allowing the Government time to conclude their correspondence.
Mr. Boyd said, as the House had heard from the Attorney General that the Governor had not yet returned an answer to their resignation, it was their duty to adjourn in compliance with the request of the Government.
Mr. Sutton could see no reasonable objection to the House proceeding with local business whilst the correspondence between the Government and the Governor was pending.
Hon. Mr. Smith reiterated that it was usual to adjourn the House from day to day under such circumstances as the Government were now placed, but it was in the hands of the House to adjourn or go on, as they saw fit.
Mr. Gilbert said this Province was not a Crown Colony, but was ruled by a Government responsible to the people, and exigencies having arisen to cause the Government to tender their resignation, and a reply to the same not having been yet received, he though the House must adjourn in compliance with the request of the Attorney General. The difficulty would be to distinguish between general and local business, or where the line should be drawn. Under responsible and departmental Government all business transacted by this House must be considered as affecting the general interests of the Province, and although business might be retarded for a few days by the adjournment, yet a precedent must be established that the Government must be in a working condition for the business to be constitutional, and he should, therefore, support the motion for adjournment.
Mr. Thompson said they knew what the rules of the British Government were on this point, and though time was lost, yet it enabled the members to know exactly how matters stood. He wanted to go on constitutionally, manly and fairly, and to see the principles established carried out. A change was made in our Constitution about fifteen years ago, by those who he believed were seeking office, yet having now a responsible Government, or having had it up to within the past few days, he thought the House should adjourn, or they would be like a balloon with the cords cut, and go up God knows where. To proceed constitutionally required time, and as the Attorney General had asked for an adjournment they should do so and save the trouble and bother that would otherwise arise. The hon. member for York (Mr. Fisher) was one of the framers of the plan of departmental Government, and he did not want to see him like a child with a card house, up foot and knock down all his work. He was little of a politician, and had taken up very little of the time [text missing]. He was not given to talking, but rather to listening, and had only spoken now to jog the memory of the hon, member for York, as they all knew the least drop was sometimes sufficient to stimulate.
Mr. Anglin said it was always the case under circumstances like the present to adjourn from day to day. He did not like this lounging about, not at work, yet he believed that a number of hon. members had been hard at work during the past few days, and they looked as though they had heavy care upon their minds. The Government might be considered in a moribund condition, and as the hon. member, the late head of the Opposition, but who now, he supposed, he must address as the hon. member for York, would naturally be very busy, he thought time should be given those forming a new administration to mature their plans, and as under the circumstances it could not be expected that the members of the moribund Government, as well as the leading members of the Opposition, would be able to be in their seats, there would be very few to discuss the questions that came before them, if they should decide to go on with Bills of a local character. Under such circumstances, matters might be brought before the House of great importance, and carried without the knowledge of many of the members. The hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Thompson) had spoken of Responsible Government as a balloon with its cords cut, and gone off, no one knows where, but he rather regarded it as gone up and collapsed.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway said the Provincial Secretary was away attending the supposed death-bed of his father, and as soon as the memorandum had been sent to and received from him, the Government had laid their resignations before the Governor. Time must be given to prepare the reply, and the Government was not to blame for any delay. His hon. friend from Northumberland (Mr. Kerr) had never been a member of a Government. If he had, he would not find it so very comfortable.
Mr. Wilmot said the delay was first charged to the Opposition, and then to the Government. He had been in many Governments, and had resigned three times. The last time it took from January till April to get a reply accepting it, and now the question was, how long would it take by the rate of proportion to get a reply to the resignation of eight men? He did not understand his hon colleague’s (Mr. Anglin) reference to the time required by what he had termed the “late Opposition,” but he could assure his hon. friend and the House that, so far as he was concerned, he was ready to go on with the business.
Mr. L.P.W. Desbrisay would endorse the sentiments of the hon. member for St. John, (Mr. Wilmot), and further state that there was no question of “courtesy” to the Opposition. They do not ask for the “courtesy” of time to be granted to mature plans, and did not want it. He came here an independent member, and when it was remembered that he came to support the Government, and the Government had [text missing] measures for the good of the country. It was not to be surprised that he should leave their ranks. And now that they found they cannot go on with the business, they wanted to throw the responsibility off their own shoulders [text missing[ the Opposition. [Text missing]
Hon. Mr. Smith said the country […]
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[…] would have to thank the hon. member for Kent for defining his position, and at the same time for his gratuitous attack upon the Government. It would be imagined that when it was known that the Government were in the throes of dissolution, any man possessing a heart with the least sentiment of feeling would have refrained from any expression of reproof of condemnation. But such an attack, be held, was ungenerous and unfeeling in the extreme. They did not ask for a suspension of business on their own account, but only that the business of the country might be carried on according to the principles which had been laid down and accepted.
Mr. Fisher said that everything was passing along smoothly and pleasantly, but the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Anglin) had thrown a firebrand into the discussion, and called forth the remarks of the hon. member for Kent.
Mr. Anglin was not aware that he had thrown any firebrand, and if the hon. member for Kent did not know anything about the time required to get together and form a new Government, he should have refrained from making the remarks he had. He said that it was only courtesy to the retiring Government and to the Opposition, to adjourn, that they might have time, on the one hand, to obtain their reply, and on the other to mature new plans.
Mr. Hill said he should like to see the business go on, but it was patent to all, that all might be done would amount to nothing. The House would probably be adjourned, prorogued or dissolved this week, and there would be no time to Bills which might pass the House, to be got through the Legislative Council.
Mr. Fraser said this was not only the case, but the business would not be constitutional. The Governor was at the present time without advisers, and consequently the House could not go on with the business of the country.
Mr. Needham said he had no doubt of the unconstitutionality of the House proceeding with business, and should move that the House adjourn till to-morrow at half-past two P.M.
Mr. Kerr said he did not wish to go on if any reasonable objection could be shown. There was a precedent in the matter, for on the 28th of October, 1865, the House passed the address and on the 30th went in a body to Government House. On the 31st met and proceeded with business without adjournment till Mr. Ritchie came down and announced that a new Government was formed, and writes issued for a new election. The House was then prorogued. If this was the case, then why could not business go on now. This, he believed, was the only precedent, and business was carried on from day to day. He did not wish, however, to act discourteously to the Government, but as the Bill he had introduced was entirely local, he could not see how it could in any way embarrass or affect them.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway said the position of affairs was different now from that referred to. On that occasion Mr. Ritchie came to the House and announced the resignation of the Government, and that the Governor had called upon others to carry on the business. No such communication had been made now.
Mr. Wilmot said he was a member of the Government, and he thought it was a case in point.
Mr. Fisher, said he went to Government House on that occasion, and they were two days forming the new administration, and when Mr. Ritchie came to the house the new members had been sworn in. He hoped the hon. member for Northumberland would withdraw his motion and allow the House to adjourn.
Mr. Kerr complied, and the House then adjourned till to-morrow, at half-past two P.M.