Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 3rd Sess (15 February 1865)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Morning Chronicle
Citation: “Provincial Parliament. Legislative Assembly.”[Quebec] Morning Chronicle (16 February 1865).
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Note: All endnotes come from our recent publication, Charles Dumais & Michael Scott (ed.), The Confederation Debates in the Province of Canada (CCF, 2022).
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] (in the absence of Hon. Mr. Dorion) moved
The second reading of the bill to amend the act respecting elections of members of the Legislature.
The hon. gentleman said that he considered it unnecessary, in making this motion, to enter into any explanation respecting the bill, inasmuch as its nature was already well known to hon. members.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] hoped the hon. gentleman would not press the bill, because, if Confederation took place, the measure would be of no use whatever—it would have no effect.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] did not desire to press it if the hon. gentleman objected; but he (Mr. H.) thought the reason he alleged therefor was not valid. On the contrary, it was a reason in favor of passing the measure; for if he mistook not there was a provision in the resolutions of the Conference to the effect that the election laws of the several Provinces should remain in force until amended by the Federal Legislature. If the Confederation scheme was adopted it was possible this Legislature might not meet again, and there might not be the same urgency again for this law as now. He thought the Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald] should let the bill go to a second reading. He thought also, that this continual reference to a possible or contemplated revolution was out of order in the consideration of the ordinary business of the House. There were various other stages at which the bill might be discussed without postponing it now.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] contended that this reference to Confederation was not out of order. It was a matter of every-day occurrence to postpone a measure in order to witness the effect of some other; and besides, the question of Confederation was at present before the House. As to the electoral law, there was a provision in the resolutions on Confederation, the real spirit of which was that this law, as existing at the time of the Conference, should remain until changed by the Federal Parliament. It would be a breach of the arrangement among the delegates to make any alteration such as proposed at present. He hoped, therefore, the bill would not be pressed until the Confederation question was settled.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said we were getting out strange things respecting the doings of this Conference. It appeared from the developments to-night that the hon. gentlemen who represented Canada had agreed that we should have another general election under a system which we all declared to be so defective.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—He had no doubt every time the subject came up, there would be more such wonderful developments.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—Startling disclosures.
Some Hon. Members—Laughter.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Yes, startling disclosures. The hon. gentleman went on to say that since the Government opposed the measure, and the hon. gentleman whose bill it was happened to be absent, he would not press it to-night.