New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Instruction of Delegates…] (3 July 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 66-73.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Tuesday, July 3.
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CONNECTION OF RAILWAY LINES
The Select Committee appointed to take into consideration “A Bill to authorize the connection of Railway lines, and to provide for the management of connecting lines of Railway in this Province,” having recommended the passing of the same; the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole (Mr. Beckwith in the chair) to take the Bill into consideration.
Mr. Stevens said he had derived his information in preparing this Bill from similar Acts which had passed in Canada and in the State of Maine. He had submitted the Bill to the Attorney of the St. Andrew’s and Woodstock Railway Company, and he had seen nothing in the Bill but would recommend itself to the judgment of the hon. members of the House. There were connecting lines of Railway being built in the Province, and it was necessary in order to the effectual working of those lines that provision should be made, in case any difficulty should occur, that they should be compelled to allow the connection to be made. It also makes a provision to compel them to take freight from one line to the other without transhipment, and regulates the rate of charges for carrying such freight. These are the provisions of the Bill. He did not anticipate much trouble, but it might arise, therefore it was better to have a law of this kind.
Mr. Smith said he was on the Select Committee, and had read this Bill over carefully, and had made some suggestions which were adopted. He had no doubt but that the Bill was all right, but still he would like to restrict the Bill to two years. During that time the St. Stephen’s line would be the only line that would be affected by it. If the time was extended other Railway Companies would say, we built our lines under certain rights then existing, and you have no right to modify them. You held out certain rights and we thought we would always enjoy them in perpetuity. They had better restrict it to two years, and then if it works well you could continue it.
Mr. Stevens would agree with that, for if the Bill was good it could be re-enacted. He then moved this additional section: “That this Act shall continue in operation for three years from the passing of the same.”
The Bill with the additional section was agree to.
HOUSE IN SUPPLY—NAVIGATION IMPROVEMENTS.
Mr. Smith in speaking upon the Resolution for appropriating $750 for the improvement of the navigation on the River St. John, and $250 for the improvement of the Miramichi River, said that he doubted the propriety of appropriating the public money for the purpose of enabling the lumbermen to drive their logs down the Miramichi River; they should clear it out at their own expense. If there was anything required to improve the navigation of the River St. John, he would have no objection to it.
Mr. Sutton said if anything was proposed that was going to benefit the County of Northumberland hi hon. friend (Mr. Smith) was sure to oppose it. He was willing to support the grant for the St. John River, but was going to oppose the grant to Miramichi. This he did not consider fair play, for the grant was needed there to enable tow boats to proceed up the river, and not for the purpose of enabling parties to drive logs.
Hon. Mr. Fisher said he thought £10,000 on the River St. John was a small expenditure. If that sum would secure them a daily steamer between Fredericton and Woodstock as long as the river was open, it would be money wisely expended. Every description of produce would then come down the River, and this would be a great benefit to St. John. He believed if they granted a small sum of money from time to time they would attain that end.
Hon. Mr. Willston said there were parties who were willing to form themselves into a company for the purpose of putting a steamboat on the Miramichi River, and they would be derelict in their duty if they did not grant this small sum to improve it navigation.
Hon. Mr. Connell supported the Resolution.
Mr. Beveridge was very sorry the sum proposed was not larger. The St. […]
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[…] John River was a much entitled to have money expended upon it as were the great roads, for it was a means of communication, and bit it the farmers took their produce to market and the merchants brought their goods up. He thought they should have had a small grant to improve the Tobique, as a small grant would have enabled the lumbermen to run their rafts down.
Mr. Ryan felt inclined to go for the appropriations; the finances of the Province belonged to the people, and all parts of the Province had a right to share in them. He found the House generally had a desire to provide the funds for improvements where they were needed. If the people on the river allowed their share of the public money to be spent in improving the river, there should be not objection made.
Mr. Smith.—They get their share besides.
Mr. Ryan.—My hon. friend must bear in mind that we have our Railway which all the Province helped to build. In making public improvements it did not matter if one portion of the Province did not receive more than other parts.
Hon. Mr. Wilmot supported the Resolution.
Mr. Beckwith said that both the River St. John and the River Miramichi were public highways in the Province. Some parts of the River St. John went through a sandy soil, and the raid current occasioned bars. They had not sufficient funds to narrow the river, therefore they had to dredge it through those bars, and the spring tides frequently filled them up in a single year. Before they become solid it is much less expense to clear them out again; that is why it is necessary to have a grant every year. The sum of $750 was a mere bagatelle to what they should have been here and the Canadian lines. They should have $7000 instead $700. Again on the Miramichi River this grant was not solely for the purpose of enabling them to run rafts down the River, but to enable them to run towboats of about five ton burden. $250 was a very small grant for that river, but it would improve it a little.
Hon. Mr. Tilley knew the grant was not as much as it would be, but they had to limit according tot he means at their disposal. A grant of money had been given from time to time to improve the Upper St. John in the removal of some obstructions between Fredericton and Woodstock, and some rocks between there and the Grand Falls, and he considered this money would be well expended.
Mr. Young said there had been a grant of $5,000 made to improve Bathurst Harbor in 1861. He would ask the Provincial Secretary whether that grant was available now. There had never been a cent of money spent in dredging Bathurst Harbor.
Hon. Mr. Tilley said the appropriation was made as far back as 1854, and the Government still have power to authorize its expenditure. It was found that the limited sum appropriated would not produce the desired result, and for this reason it was not appropriated. When Confederation is carried out the General Government will make those harbor improvements. Resolutions adopted.
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PARIS EXHIBITION 1867.
Hon. Mr. Tilley moved that $4000 be granted to enable them to prepare for the Paris Exhibition.
Mr. Smith said that small sum of money would do no good, but would place them in a mean position and would not enable them to make a respectable show at all. Canada and Nova Scotia had expended large sums in preparing for this Exhibition, and that would only make us appear more ridiculous.
Hon. Mr. Tilley. If the sum proposed did not cover all expenses, they might make a further grant at the next meeting of the House. There was a possibility that this Exhibition might not be carried on, for a European war may arise and prevent the arrangements being carried out, but if it should be carried on it was thought that $8000 would be required, and it was thought necessary that the Government should have the power to expend $4000 the present season in making such arrangements as were deemed requisite. In 1862 they spent a large sum of money in the production of articles that it was impossible for them to get up in as good a style as they did in Europe. Their great object was to show the natural productions of the country—such as the minerals, fruit, fisheries and cereals; for every thing of that kind was anxiously sought for. We would not like to see a blank at the Paris Exhibibition [sic] where New Brunswick ought to be, therefore, this sum was asked for to enable them to show the natural productions of the country.
Mr. Kerr said if they went into Confederation it was not necessary that the separate Provinces should be represented, but only the Confederacy, and the duty of making provision for its representation would devolve upon the General Government. The United States send their products to the Exhibition as the products of the United States, and not as the products of each separate State, and it should be the same way in the Confederacy; the only question was whether they would go into Confederation in the mean time.
Hon. Mr. Tilley said he looked upon Confederation as a fixed fact; but the time when this Union was to take place was not settled, therefore, in the mean time, some steps must be taken this season in order that notice should be given of what was to be done and what the nature of the collection should be.
Mr. Smith said the Provincial Secretary had now intimated that this Exhibition would cost a great deal of money; he trusted they would not exceed the amount proposed before the next meeting of the Legislature. He believed it would be productive of no good. He thought the interests of New Brunswick had not suffered by not being represented at the Dublin Exhibition. Nova Scotia could send coal and gold there which we could not. (A member. We have the Albert coal.) What good will the country derive from sending it there? It is beautiful to look at but the supply is limited. The money would be more beneficially expended in the Province. In view of the extraordinary expenses incurred in the defence of the country they had better appropriate it for their local wants.
Hon. Mr. Wilmot said that our being represented at the Paris Exhibition would have the effect of developing our trade with France, for a trade had spring up with that country within a very few years. We know that the Emperor of France is anxious to extend the trade between that country and the Colonies, and he has placed Canada in a better position in that respect than he has other countries. He has reduced the duty on ships from twenty-two francs to two. If we never try to show what we have we never will be any thing. In Canada they are determined to make an excellent show, and they are going to do the same in Nova Scotia. He was told in Liverpool that if we opened a communication with France we would find a fetter market for certain descriptions of our wood than we had at present. Our trade had been extended with South America and Cuba, and we should endeavor to extend it wherever they could find a market for our products.
The Chairman then left the chair and reported that the Resolutions for Supply had been agreed to.
SURVEY OF RAILWAY.
On motion of Mr. Lewis the House went into Committee on the following Resolution:—
Resolved—“That an humble Address be presented to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor praying His Excellency to make provision for the expenses of a Survey made for a Branch Railway connecting Hillsborough i the County of Albert with the European and North American Railway, provided such Survey and locality be approved by the Governor in Council.”
Mr. Chandler in the chair.
Mr. Lewis said that under the “Facilities Act’ passed in 1864, provision was made for the construction of a Railway in the County of Albert to connect with the Europe and North American line. During the last winter they had employed Engineers in making a survey of the line, and as it was usual in other cases they now ask to be remunerated for the expenses of the survey of this Branch Railway. He thought the Resolution would commend itself to the House.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—said the expense of the Survey would be deducted from the subsidy when the road was built, as that was the provision made in all the lines of Railway built under the “Facility Bill.” This Resolution was only putting that line in the same position as other Branches were in, with the exception of the Miramichi Branch. The others having been surveyed with the understanding that the value of the Survey would be deducted from the subsidy. He could see no reason why this Branch should not have the same privilege as the others.
Mr. Botsford asked if the survey was to be confined to one locality. There was a better route and it was not right to confine the survey to the present line when there was a more eligible one. In the route proposed there were a great many more engineering difficulties than there were in the other route. He spoke from experience, and he had also been told that this was the case by the engineer who had been on the route.
Mr. Kerr said the Government had power to make certain surveys with certain objects in view in regard to the other branch lines, but in the County of Albert they had made a survey without any authority from the Government, and they now ask the Government to adopt that survey. In addition to this we are told by my hon. friend (Mr. Botsford) from the County of Westmorland that a route can be obtained which would be more advantageous than the one surveyed. Is this House to pay for experimental surveys? Are we to pass this resolution without knowing whether the money has been judiciously expended or not? Suppose that survey turns out to be worthless nothing, and the line is not built upon it, this money would be thrown away.
Hon. Mr. McMillan was informed that there was a Company formed to build this line. Why then did they come to the House and ask them to pay for this survey, for it would have to be deducted from the subsidy? The Government were to give a subsidy of […]
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[…] $10,000 a mile, and this was as much as the finances of the country would justify them to do. He thought the whole principle was wrong, and he hoped the House would not sustain such a proposition.
Mr. McClelan said that although a Company had been organized, the survey had not been made at their instigation. The survey had been made with a view of showing the facilities that could be afforded for constructing the line. The resolution does not contemplate that the Government shall bear the expense if they do not approve of the survey. If the survey was paid for the other lines of Railway, he could see no force in the arguments that this should not be paid for because already surveyed.
Mr. Sutton asked if his hon. friend would be willing to carry out a resolution providing to pay the expenses of the survey of the line from Chatham to Shediac, which would cost thousands of pounds.
Hon. Mr. Tilley said if this resolution be carried it would place every section of the Province in the same position in regard to building those lines of railway. His hon. friend (Mr. Sutton) had a survey made in his section by Major Robinson, and a Company could start to morrow and go on with the work with the information they have now before them. The resolution authorizing the Government to make surveys was passed in order to enable them to send engineers to make surveys, so that capitalists could make calculations as to the cost before entering upon the work. In regard to this resolution, the inhabitants of the district went to work upon their own responsibility, having no authority from the Legislature, and made a preliminary survey, and they now ask to be put in the same position as the others. They have shown more energy in the matter than was done by the others in going to work upon their own responsibility and it was equitable and fair that we should adopt this resolution, giving them the same privilege that was accorded to the other branches
Mr. Smith said the Subsidy Act required that the contract should be made with the Queen. The Government were authorized to have a survey made of the different branches, and get a plan drawn, which they could exhibit to any Company that proposed to build the road. In this Branch instead of the Government taking the initiative, the people have caused a survey to be made and paid for it, and they have plans to exhibit to any Company that choose to build the road. If we refuse to pass this resolution, we refuse that which the people are entitled to, and which has been given to other sections of the country. In one case it was preliminary, in another it was ex post facto. If the survey was not approved, it would not be paid for by the Government, as the resolutions requires that the survey must be approved by the Governor in Council.
Mr. Lindsey thought that a Company being formed to build the road, instead of being an objection, would be an inducement for them to pay for the survey. He would rather see a provision made in the Resolution, that the survey would be paid when the Company commenced operations. The object of the Government should be to encourage localities to do something to assist themselves, in order that they might get railroads and open up communication with the different parts of the Province. Every section should have equal justice meted out to it.
Hon. Mr. McMillan said, suppose the Governor in Council approved of the survey, and no Company was formed to carry it out, it would be so much money thrown away.
The resolution was adopted.
INSTRUCTION OF DELEGATES REGARDING THE PROVISIONS TO BE MADE IN A MEASURE OF UNION.
Mr. Smith moved the following resolution:
Whereas the House on the 30th day of June now instant, passed the following Resolution, viz.
Resolved, That a humble Address be presented to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, praying that His Excellency will be pleased to appoint delegates to unite with delegates from the other Provinces in arranging with the Imperial Government for the Union of British North America, upon such terms as will secure the just rights and interests of New Brunswick, accompanied with provision for the immediate construction of the Inter-Colonial Railway, each Province to have an equal voice in such delegation, Upper and Lower Canada to be considered as separate Provinces:”
And whereas the authority given to the delegates by said Resolution, authorizes them to accept the Quebec Scheme, (so called,) or even one more prejudical to the interests of the people of this Province; And whereas in view of the transcendent importance of the subject, it is desirable that the opinion of this House, in reference to such Scheme, should be expressed for the information and guidance of such delegates, in the preparation of any measure for the Union of British North America; therefore
Resolved, As the deliberate opinion of this House, that no measure for such Union should be adopted which does not contain the following provisions, viz:—
1st.—An equal number of Legislative Councillors for each Province.
2d.—Such Legislative Councillors to be required to reside in the Province which they represent, and for which they are appointed.
3d.—The number of Representatives in the Federal Parliament to be limited.
4th.—The establishment of a Court for the determination of questions and disputes that may arise between the Federal and Local Governments as to the meaning of the Act of Union.
5th.—Exemption of this Province from taxation for the construction and enlargement of Canals in Upper Canada, and for the payment of any money for the Mines and Minerals and Lands of Newfoundland.
6th.—Eighty cents per head to be on the population as it increases, and not to be confined to the Census of 1861.
7th.—Securing to each of the Maritime Provinces the right to have at least one Executive Councillor in the Federal Government.
8th,—The commencing of the Inter-Colonial Railway before the right shall exist to increase taxation upon the people of this Province.
Mr. Smith.—I had intended to have made what might be considered a labored speech on this occasion, but being anxious to shorten the session, I have concluded not to make any speech at all. The various points in this resolution were discussed in the former debate on the resolution moved by the Attorney General. I reserve my right to make a general reply at the close of the discussion.
Hon. Mr. Fisher.—I move this amendment. Strike out the whole of the preamble, and everything after the word resolved, and substitute:
“That the people of the Province having after due deliberation determined that a Union of British North America was desirable, and the House having agreed to request His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to appoint delegates for the purpose of settling the plan of Union upon such terms as will secure the just rights of New Brunswick, and having confidence that the action of His Excellency, under the advice of his constitutional advisers, will be directed to the attainment of that end, sound policy and a due regard to the interests of this Province require that the responsibility of such action should be left unfettered by any expression of opinion other than what has already been given by the people and their representatives.”
Mr. Skinner—Previous to taking a division of the House upon this resolution, or upon the amendment, I wish to make a few remarks in explanation not only in regard to these resolutions, but in regard to the remarks I made on Friday last. From the statements I have seen in the public prints, I infer that I have been quite misunderstood in the position I took in the speech I made on that occasion before the House. This resolution now moved asks that certain instructions should be given to […]
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[…] the delegates: some of these instructions suit my mind and they ought to be given them, but not given in the way provided for by this resolution. I stated on Friday last that I would give the delegates certain instructions to be a guide to them so far as they could be guided, but I would not go for making them positive, but would leave them a margin to act upon. Having heard the opinion of the House, and knowing that if the delegates went to England fettered by instructions which they could not deviate from either in the letter or in the spirit, I did not wish to give them specific instructions. unless I knew that what they had been instructed to procure could be obtained. It has been said I was for giving them positive instructions; in this I have been misunderstood. I was for having those instructions presented in the form of suggestions in order that they might be informed of what the House wished. and they would have a discretionary power to set.
In regard to my position upon this Quebec Scheme, and the position I have taken before this Legislature, I have heard it remarked here and have seen it stated in the public prints, that if I held the views that I enunciated here I ought to have announced them before the last election or not announced them now. I dissent from that view for this reason. I stated here on Friday that I was so much in favor of Confederation that I would agree to give this power to the delegates, and would agree to be bound by what they should decide upon, but I claimed the right to discuss the matter and give the delegates certain instructions. We are not sent here bound to accept the Quebec Scheme, but we were sent here to deliberate upon the best Scheme that could be devised in order to secure Confederation, having been so returned to deliberate and discuss the measure, I claim the right, and I think it is the duty of the representatives here to go generally into the matter, and to be heard pro and con in order that the best views might be elicited upon the question. When the delegates met in 1864 they had the advantage of discussing the question with closed doors, and they could express their views some one way and some another, and only the result of their deliberations was made known to the country, but here the telegraphs carry the news over the country almost from our lips, therefore we stand in a worse position than the delegates did.
When I urged my proposition upon the Legislature, and made my objections, I was telegraphed over the country as if I was opposed to all Confederation. I was set down as being an Anti-Confederate, notwithstanding that I stated that it did not require Fenianism to carry Confederation, but was carried by its own merits. Stronger language could not have been used, but notwithstanding that strong language had been used, I have been misunderstood, as bringing those remarks as a side-wind to kill Confederation. It is a serious thing to have my motives so impugned after running an election so recently upon this question, and it is calculated to do me the greatest injury. My motives have not been understood in my proposition for discussing this question. The question of Confederation had been affirmed at the polls. and the people had declared they were in favor of the principle. They sent representatives here in order to deliberate fully upon the matter. I made those objections at that time in order that the delegates might consider them. I wish to be understood. I state here the second time that no man in the country is more in favor of Confederation than I am. In season and out of season since the first election l have contended for it, in every position, and shall it be said now that I wish to procrastinate the question in order to defeat it. I said I was so strongly in favor of Confederation that I was willing to sink all other things.
The question of Confederation being entirely out of danger, I claim yet we have the right to discuss it, and make suggestions, and talk the matter over, in order that the delegates may know wherein the Scheme is considered deficient by the members of the Legislature. In regard to the resolutions before the House; the first says that each Province shall have an equal number of Legislative Councillors. I would be content with having two added to Nova Scotia and two to New Brunswick, thus making the two Provinces together equal with either of the Canadas. This is a suggestion for an improvement in the Quebec Scheme, and because I make this suggestion should I be branded as having run an election upon false pretences.
I contend here for the right of discussion. I know there are other hon. members who think it would be better not to discuss it. I do not say they are not correct, but I take the other view, and say we have a right to discuss it, and for so doing I should not be said to oppose it. I spoke of the representation in the Senate of the United States, and said that each State sent an equal number of representatives, and then I threw in a suggestion saying that inasmuch as those States are represented equally in the Senate, would it not be worth considering when the delegates come to deliberate upon the Scheme, whether or not we should have a more extended representation in the Upper House. The fourth resolution I am entirely in favor of, that is the establishment of a Court for the determination of questions and disputes t
hat may arise between the Federal and Local Governments as to the meaning of the Act of Union. If I were a delegate I would ask that this fourth resolution be adopted. and I would struggle for it, but if I could not get it and the Scheme would be endangered by struggling, I would prefer a Scheme without it.
Then the sixth resolution providing that 80 cents per head be on the population as it increases and not to be confined to the census of 1861, meets with my entire concurrence, and I would press it upon all concerned, but would not make it a sine quo non. Some of my hon. friend’s resolutions I would like to see carried out in the Conference, but I would not put them as positive instructions not be deviated from.
After my speech on Friday last, some of the hon. members in the House said, and it has been circulated over the country, that just previous to making my speech I had an interview with the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Smith) in the Speaker’s room, and on account of that interview I made the speech I did. I do not know what put that in their minds. We are on the best of terms, but as long as I have been in public life I have never agreed with his public policy at all, but this had never affected our personal intercourse. He had no more idea of what I was going to say than a man on the other side of the universe. I do not know to what extent those insinuations have gone, but I know how damaging they are against any man holding a public situation. I am glad to have had an opportunity of setting these matters right, and maintaining my position before the country. I saw it stated in one of the newspapers that I sustained the resolution of the Government because I was elected to sustain it, but I sustained it against my own convictions. That is a misrepresentation.
I sustained Confederation from convictions of my own, and my mind was made up after mature deliberation. I came here to see that nothing should be done to retard Confederation. I came to consider upon what terms we should enter into Union, and I will sustain the principle that we should discuss this question in order that we might agree upon the best Scheme to be adopted; having discharged that duty independent and tearless, if I am still to be misrepresented, I cannot help it, but such is the position I occupy.
Mr. Johnson—I thought when the question for appointing delegates was before the House that it had been so fully discussed that it was unnecessary for me to take up the time of the Session in speaking upon it. In regard to this resolution […]
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[…] moved by my hon. friend from Westmorland, I di not think the House will be willing to adopt it. If they do adopt it, we might as well move a resolution to rescind the resolution for appointing the delegates. From the way it was drawn up we would have to vote upno all the resolutions at once. The first resolution provides that there shall be an equal number of Legislative Councillors for each Province. According to that Prince Edward Island would have the same number of representatives as Upper Canada. Surely that is not intended.
The next resolution provides that the Legislative Councillors should reside in the Province they represent. We might just as well say our Legislative Councillors should continue to reside in the County they are appointed from, and the moment they left the County they should cease to be members of the Legislative Council. I do not think it would tend to the improvement of the Scheme that the number of representatives to the Federal Parliament should be limited. Under a Legislative Union we require no written Constitution, for we would have the institutions of the country to govern us, but under a Federal Union, a written Constitution is necessary to define the powers of the Local Legislatures in contradistinction to the powers of the General Government. It is our object not to bind ourselves down to an iron rule, but to leave ourselves as free as possible.
The General Government would determine the number of representatives for the various Provinces. We take Lower Canada as the basis, the intention of that is to prevent the too rapid increase of representatives. If we went on increasing, our representatives would increase according as our population increased, our House would grow too large and be too cumbrous, therefore, we made the provision that Lower Canada should be taken as the basis, and the number of her representatives should not increase. If the population of Upper Canada and the population of Lower Canada both increase 100 per cent., the number of representatives will still continue the same as it is now. In regard to the establishment of a Court of the determination of questions and disputes that may arise between the Federal and Local Governments as to the meaning of the Act of Union, I am opposed to having a judiciary or fourth branch to override the other three.
The power of the Judges in the United States is different from the power of the Judges in our country. There they have the power to say to nine-tenths of the Legislature, you have no right to pass that law, and therefore prevent the Legislature of the country from legislating for the advantage of the country. It is not necessary in our case, because we stand in a very different position from that they do in the United States. When the United States Legislature and the Local Legislatures pass laws which conflict with each other, it may be necessary to have a Court of Appeal; but we have the Imperial Parliament behind us, and this makes the distinction between us. Suppose the General Government passed a law that in fringed upon the rights of the Local Legislatures: that must receive the Royal sanction before it can become law, and we can bring the matter before the Imperial Parliament and get redress.
The next resolution provides that this Province shall be exempt from taxation for the construction and enlargement of canals in Upper Canada, and for the payment of any money for the mines and minerals and lands of Newfoundland. If you say the General Government shall not expend money for the whole Union, you strike at the root of the Confederacy at once, and if it passed it would amount to a vote of the House declaring they will not go into Confederation at all. I am not afraid that Upper Canada will tax the whole Confederacy for enlarging the canals unless it is for the general interest, and if it be for the general interest I am prepared to assent to it. The difficulty we always find is, the people do not desire to be taxed even for the advantage of the country. Upper Canada having to pay so large a proportion will make a strong opposition, they will not tax the people more than the interest of the country requires.
While Upper and Lower Canada remain united they will have sympathy for each other; but the moment we have Confederation they become separate and distinct Provinces, and they are no longer influenced by sympathy of that kind. Lower Canada will be governed by commercial and pecuniary interest, and when it suits their commercial and pecuniary interest to vote with us they will do so, and if it suits their interest to vote against us they will not hesitate to cast their votes that way. There would be as much exertion made by Lower Canada to resist a tax for the exclusive benefit of Upper Canada, as there would be by the Maritime Provinces. Scotland went into a Legislative Union with only 45 members against 585, and she has improved in material wealth very rapidly. We do not find any difficulty arising because she has not an equal number of representatives with England.
The next resolution provides that the 80 cents per head be on the population as it increases and not to be confined to the census of 1861. This would be directly opposed to the interests of the Lower Provinces. If Upper Canada has 1 500,000 population and doubles itself in the course of ten years they get 80 cents a-head on 3,000,000; and if New Brunswick doubles her population she will get 80 cents per head on 500,000. Thus we will receive no more in proportion to our population than Canada. It has been argued that we give up all our revenue to Canada and only receive 80 cents a-head back. Suppose five personal go into partnership and they agree each to put in an equal amount, and they are each allowed to draw out a certain amount for personal expenses every year, and every increase should be added to the common fund for the general good. If each man draws out £600 a-year, and one man spends the whole of his, and another man one-half of his, it is nobodies concern; but if the company make £500,000 that goes into the general fund for the good of the whole.
So in this case, we place the whole revenues of the country into the general fund for the general purposes, and then each Province draws out the amount necessary for the support of its Local Government. The faster the general fund increases the better for the whole if it is increased without increasing taxation upon the people. So far from the tariff being increased in Canada, I am informed that Mr. Galt has a proposition before the Legislature to reduce the tariff down to 15 per cent. According to the population Canada’s tariff is much less than ours. This proposition to reduce the tariff of Canada is not made for the purpose of carrying Confederation, because it has been made after the Provinces have concluded to go into Confederation. He finds that by the increased trade of the country that he is in a position to reduce the tariff equal to that of New Brunswick. This is clear proof that we need not be alarmed about the Canadian people taxing themselves for the sake of taxing us.
The next resolution is to secure to each of the Maritime Provinces the right to have at least one Executive Councillor in the Federal Government. That would be placing the Provinces in the worst possible position. We would not feel ourselves all the same people. We would be in the country but not of it. We would be ruled by the General Government, but we would still carry with us the feeling that we did not belong to it. Every effort should be made to make us forget our Provincial identity, so we would be one people; from Sarnia to Newfoundland. I believe there is a desire that when we go into Confederation these Lower Provinces should go into a Legislative Union and become one Province. If we do not like this Confederation we had better keep out of it, but if we go into it we must not talk of Canada as a foreign country, but be one people under one General Government.
The next resolution provide that the Inter-Colonial […]
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[…] Railway shall be commenced before the right shall exist to increase taxation upon the people of this Province. Suppose we passed this, and as my hon. friend says, the Canadians are so cunning it would be quite possible for them to build then miles and then go no further, they can do that if this provision is put in. We have provided that the Inter-Colonial Railroad shall be commenced and prosecuted to thee completion, without asking whether the revenues are sufficient or not, but in regard to the canals, it is only when the Provinces shall determine when the funds are sufficient that the work will be proceeded with. But in regard to this road we have the assurance of the Imperial Government, that no time shall be lost in completing the work. It is a singular using that the United States at the time of the revolution, before they acquired their independence, were making provisions to admit Canada into that Union, the eleventh article of their Constitution said;
Article XI.—Canada according to this Confederation, and joining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other Colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.”
They were just separating from the mother country, and were very anxious to get possession of Canada. If they had possession of Quebec, which commanded the mouth of the St. Lawrence, the United States could not be attacked except from the seaboard. We have not copied the institutions of the United States, not because we found fault with the Constitution, for the wonder is not that the Constitution has failed, but that it has not failed more frequently and more fully than it has. When you consider that their people have come from all the nations of the earth, from republics and from absolute and limited monarchies, you must say it is a remarkable Constitution to so firmly bind the people together. It was originally formed to protect themselves from outward danger, this was the main object of the compact that bound the thirteen Colonies together. It was prepared with the object of defending themselves against a foreign foe, and no provision was made for internal troubles until afterwards.
One great reason of their difficulties, and one of the great reasons of their war was, that there was not sufficient power in the General Government. Each state claimed an independent sovereignty. If you read the Constitution of the United States as a lawyer, and I think a large proportion of the lawyers would come to the conclusion that they had right—that it was a simple co-partnership into by these separate States. and they had a right. upon the face of the Constitution to declare themselves out ol that Constitution. It was fortunate for the United States that while that would be the construction put upon it by a lawyer, it was not the construction put upon it by the United States themselves, and they had sufficient power to maintain what they considered their right. Had the Southern States succeeded, they had still a country large enough for a nation, but they knew that if they had succeeded the States that were left would have fallen to pieces. They would have been like a glass toy, the moment they broke a corner off it falls to pieces. The Western States would have gone off, and they would have split up in four or five pieces. They would have fought the battle out as long as they had a ma to fight or a shilling to pay him with.
I have a copy of the Constitution framed subsequently to this, and it is remarkable that this Constitution was framed by a Convention, and never was submitted to a vote of the people. If there be one way more sure than another to drive us or lead us into the neighboring republic, it will be by forgetting the good old time honored institutions of our country, and becoming familiar with and practicing the Constitution of the United States. The moment we found our Confederation upon the American principle, we will gradually settle into the United States. If we become American in practice we will very soon become American in fact. I do not wish to have American institutions under the British Flag. We want nothing better than British institutions, for under them we have as much liberty, and a little more, than they have in the United States. Our institutions are more republican than the institutions of the United States. Our people have more power over the Government than the people of the Unite States have over theirs. If the veto power be exercised by the sovereign, the ministry must go out and another party come in. The ministry cannot retain their power and refuse a bill that has passed through the Legislature. In the United States if the veto power is exercised it requires a two-thirds vote before a pill passed, can become law. It there be no man less than two-thirds the minority must rule the majority, and prevent them from having a measure for the public interest.
I will now read (from, “Shafner’s Secession War In America”) a letter of Washington, President of the Convention appointed to draw up a constitution:
“IN CONVENTION, Sept. 17, 1787.
“SIR: We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled that the Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.
The friends of our country have long seen and desired that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent, executive and judicial authorities, should be fully and effectually vested in the General Government of the Union; but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident; hence results the necessity of a different organization. It is obviously impracticable in the Federal Government of these States to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstances as on the object to be attained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several Sates as to their situation, extent, habitants and particular interests.”
Does not this meet our case, each State must surrender some of its rights for the general interest. In the formation of society we have to give up some of our natural rights, and if they were not given up society could not be formed. The Provinces going into Confederation must give up some of their local interests. It is not we who are giving more than the others, but we yield one point and they yield another. If we pass a resolution like the one under consideration, and Nova Scotia passes another giving different instructions, and the delegates go into conferences, how can they agree at all unless each party yields some points and there is a compromise made.
The letter goes on to say:
“In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American—this consolidation of our Union—in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution which we now present is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensible. That it will meet!he full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected, but each will doubtless consider that had her interest been alone consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.
“With great respect we have the honor […]
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[…] to be, sir, your Excellency’s most obedient humble servants.
“By unanimous order of the Convention,
“His Excellency the President of Congress.”
If Washington had been writing concerning the position of the Provinces at the present day, he could not have stated the views of the parties who have to form this Confederation more forcibly. It states our position from the beginning to end. We find that only eleven of the States at that time adopted this Constitution. New York came in too late to vote for the first President. I will now read the organization of the United States Government:
On the first Wednesday in January, ten States appointed the electors to vote for President of the new Government. On the first Wednesday in February thereafter, the electors in each State met at their respective Capitals and voted for the first President, and Washington was elected. In the meantime the State of New York repealed its conditional ratification of the Constitution and agreed to join the new Government, hoping to secure certain changes in the Constitution in the future; but the proceedings of New York took place after the time fixed for the appointment of presidential electors, and hence that State did not vote for the President. Congress was ordered to convene on the 4th of March 1789, in the City of New York, but there was not a quorum present, and it was adjourned to meet again on the first of April, on which day the first Congress under the Constitution assembled.
On the 30th April, 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first President. Thus commenced the Constitutional Government composed of eleven States, all of which seceded from the Confederation of 1781, leaving but two members in that perpetual Union. These were Rhode Island and North Carolina. As the Union had been dissolved by the secession of eleven States, the whole structure fell; and on the first of April, 1789, on the organization of the Constitutional Government there were three independent Republics, resulting from the political revolution of that era; one composed of the eleven States; another of Rhode Island, and the third of North Carolina. Every possible effort was made to induce the two independent sovereign States to join the new Government, and for a time they seemed to be determined never to ratify the Constitution. North Carolina yielded, and joined the new Confederacy on the 21st November, 1789; but Rhode Island continued inexorable.
There was a powerful opposition among the people to the ratification of the Constitution, and that State maintained its independence until the 29th of May, 1790, being nearly two years after the Constitutional Government had been adopted by the ten seceding States. The Union finally with the independent Republic of Rhode Island completed the organization of the thirteen United States, and established the great American nation—the wonder of the most wonder-teeming age. We have thus briefly traced the formation of the new Government of the United States under the Constitution formed in 1787.
It is only left for us to remark, that this great organic code of the Union was never adopted by a vote of the people. The Conventions of the States ratified it; but we are unable to find that a single State entered the Union by a vote of the people. The Legislature when they meet are the people, and they have not only the power to deal with subjects that were before the people when they were elected, but they have power to deal with all questions that may occur during their existence. They are the people for all legislative purposes, and they have the power to change the Constitution when they think the country requires it. The Imperial Parliament has dethroned and elected Sovereigns without appealing to the people.
My hon. friend (Mr. Smith) has aid that those who went for Confederation were looking for personal advantage. I say to represent the people in the General Parliament is an object worthy of our ambition, and my hon. friend would be one of the first to aspire to that position. He believes he is pursuing the course the interest of the country requires, and we believe we are pursuing the course best calculated to promote the welfare of the country. We do not think it is a matter of prophecy; it is simply a matter of looking back to history, and we know that like occurrences produce like effects. It would be a dangerous thing if all politicians agreed; it is much better to have the subject ventilated—to have an opposition, and that opposition to come before the people and explain this opposition.
After this question had been placed before the people in its most glowing colours, they have seen it is for the interest of the country to enter this Union. These resolutions bind the delegates hand and foot, and the moment you pass them you reject the resolutions to appoint the delegates. It would be simply sending a delegation who would come back with their fingers in their mouths, having done nothing. There must be mutual concessions; you could not get five men to enter into partnership upon the terms one of them would draw up. This Quebec Scheme when it was made was not binding upon the Government. It is provided in our institutions that those who take office have both Executive and Legislative duties to perform.
The Legislature of the country must be under their direction, and they must have such a majority in both branches as to be able to carry forward those measures they think will be for the interest of the country, and to resist those measures which they think will be prejudicial to it. They take the responsibility and they must control the Legislature of the country, and when it was adopted by the Government, it was not binding upon the country, and if placed in a position in which they cannot control it they must resign their seats. If the Government bring forward a Scheme of Union and the House refuse to pass it they must resign. It is not necessary that they should resign if defeated upon a question of minor importance, because it frequently happens that a Government is defeated and still has a majority. If they then resign the minority has to rule. I felt that when this Scheme was first brought before the people that the Government would be defeated upon it.
The Government were not popular enough to carry Confederation, and if the House had died a natural death they would have been defeated, and Confederation too. My opinion was that by dissolving the House as we did we would lose our position a year sooner, but Confederation would be carried a year earlier. It being then defeated, people then began to think about it, and in the sort space of sixteen months there was a revolution in the feeling of the country upon the question. My hon. friend (Mr. Smith) came to the House opposed to Confederation, but if he had come to the conclusion that the people had changed and were in favour of it, he might have come in with a resolution in favor of Confederation, or he might have prepared a Scheme differing from this where it was defective and had a large majority in this House. Suppose some of the members of his then Government had resigned, he could then have formed a Coalition Government and carried his Scheme. I suppose his was opposed to Confederation, and did not think it would be doing right to take that course. I believe he considered that the course he took would best advance the interests of the country, and we are also taking the course by which we think the interests of the country will be advance and its prosperity increased.
The debate was adjourned until tomorrow at 10.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—brought in “A Bill relating to the imposition of duties for raising a Revenue.”
The House adjourned until 9 A.M. tomorrow.
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