Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (13 September 1865)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Morning Chronicle
Citation: “Provincial Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Wednesday, Sept. 13th” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (14 September 1865).
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Wednesday, September 13
The Speaker took the Chair at three o’clock.
After routine. –
The Montreal Telegraph Company
Mr. H. Mackenzie asked whether the Government has any information leading to to believe that the Montreal Telegraph Company have employed Mr. Wood, the late Superintendent of the Company, on some mission of wok in the North-west Territory?
Hon. Mr. Cartier – The Government has received a petition complaining of the conduct of Wood in connection with the Detroit Convention. It is the intention of the Government to send a copy of the petition to the Directors of the Montreal Telegraph Company, and to ask them if that gentleman is still in their employ. We hope to have their answer in a few days (Hear, hear.)
Commissioner of Small Causes
Mr. Bourassa asked whether it was through an error that the names of J. U. Tremblay and H. Barber, Esquires, of St. Bernard de Lacolle, were omitted in the Commission for the decision of small causes, issued in April last; and if not, on what grounds of complaint, and by whom alleged, were they so omitted?
Hon. Mr. Langevin – I think the hon. gentleman has moved for the papers in this case. When the papers come down he will find therein all the information he requires.
Mr. Bourassa – I should have no objection to have the answer now (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Rymal (in the absence of Mr. Thompson) asked whether the Government have had any settlement with Messrs. Watson and Cotton, for their services as Superintendents of the Hamilton and Port Dover road, and whether they furnished satisfactory vouchers for all monies that passes through their hands.
Hon. Mr. Brown said there was some correspondence on the subject, but he believed it had not all come down. Perhaps his hon. friend would allow the matter to stand.
The matter dropped.
Contingencies of the House
Mr. Scatcherd drew attention to the fact that, by a report of the Library Committee and the Printing Committee, adopted yesterday, a large increase of salaries had been granted to officers of the House.
Mr. McConkey was very much surprised that the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. J. S. Macdonald) should have moved the adoption of such a report without giving explanations to the House. He was astonished that an hon. gentleman who had ever been the champion of economy and retrenchment should have been the means of increasing the expenditure in this way (Hear, hear.)
Hon. J. S. Macdonald said that the report in question had been read; and if the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McConkey) only kept track of the business of the House, instead of occupying his time by sending papers to his constituents he would have known what was going on.
(Hear, hear, and laughter)
After some further discussion-
Mr. Dunkin said the proper way would be to adhere to the rule of allowing the reports to remain ever until the day following their presentation before moving their adoption, so that members might know their purport.
The matter then dropped
On motion of Mr. Robitaille that the second report of Committee on Contingencies be adopted,
A lengthy discussion arose, owing to the fact that the report tended to charge the Speaker with having increased salaries country to the express desire of the House. Several hon. members contended that this was not the case, inasmuch as the House had, just before the end of the session of 1864, passed a resolution to the effect that the prerogatives of the House; and that the report arose out of a misconception of the real nature of a resolution of the House, to the effect that no vacancies should be filled up without the consent of the Houses. Finally –
Mr. Robitaille withdrew the motion, with the consent of the House.
The Speaker was understood to explain that it was his intention to draw up an Act of Parliament and hand it to some member of the Government to be introduced, providing that the salaries of the officers of this House should be voted upon like those of the other departments. By this mode there could be no possible mistake or misunderstanding. In conclusion, he desired to say that since he had been Speaker the expenditure for salaries had been reduced $3,400 by death and dismissal.
The matter then dropped.
Frauds upon the Excise Laws
Mr. Magill moved for an Address to His excellency the Governor General, for copies for all petitions or correspondence to or with the Customs Department, complaining of frauds upon the “Excise Laws;” all reports of officers of the department in relation thereto; a list of convictions which have taken place for offences against the “Excise Laws” with the names of the parties convicted; the amount of the fines unpaid, if any, and the dispositions which has been made of all such fines as [sic] bee collected. – Carried
Mr. Pope moved for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General for copies of all tenders, contracts, specifications and papers connected with the building of the Sherbrooke Gaol, and all correspondence respecting the same. – Carried
Clergy Reserve Land
Mr. Pope moved for an Address for His Excellency the Governor General for a return showing the amount of money realized in each of the judicial districts in Lower Canada, respectively, from the sale of the Clergy Reserves or Clergy Land, and a detailed statement of the expenditure of the same. – Carried
Deputy Clerk of the Peace, Montreal
Hon. Mr. Laframboise moved for an Address to His excellency the Governor General for copies of all correspondence between the Government or any of its member and the Clerks of the Crown and peace of the District of Montreal in relation to [sic] the appointment of a Deputy Clerk of the Crown and Peace for that district, in the place of V.P.H. Bourgeau, Esquire, deceased. – Carried
Spread of Epidemic Diseases
On the order for a motion by Mr. Brown for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General for copies of all correspondence and papers which may have passed between the Imperial Government and the Government of this Colony; also, copies of the reports of any Sanitary Commission or Boards of Health, respecting the best modes to be adopted to prevent the invasion and spread of epidemic diseases now said to be existing in certain parts of Europe, and for the treatment of such diseases.
Mr. Brown was understood to say that, as the Government had taken the matter up, he would withdraw his motion.
Mr. Johnson’s Report.
Mr. Dufresne moved for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General for copies of the Report mae by F. G. Johnson, Esq., Commissioner in the enquiry held in the matter of the office of the Clerk of the Crown and Peace at Montreal, as to the manner in which the records are kept therein, and as to the loss of certain public documents which have disappeared from the said office, with the affidavits taken in the course of the said enquiry. – Carried
Mr. DeNiverville moved for an Address to His Excellency for copies for all limits granted to the late Thomas Alexander Lambert, in his lifetime, of Becancour, on the lands of the Crown, within the limits of the Agency of G. J. Neagle, Esquire, during the course of the past autumn and winter, and of all correspondence during that period relative to such license or permits, between the said G. J. Neagle and the party or parties who obtained the same, and the Curator of the vacant estate of the said Lambert. – Carried
Case of Mr. T. Fortin.
Mr. Gagnon moved for an Address to His Excellency for copies of the evidence adduced against the Telesphore Fortin, Esq., Registrar of the second Registration Division of Charlevoix and Saguenay, and Postmaster of the parish of Baie St. Paul; and also of the correspondence exchanged in relation to such evidence. – Caried.
Black River Works
Mr. Powell moved for an Address to His Excellency, for a copy of all petitions, communications, documents reports and papers connected with the purchase of the works upon the Black River, for the improvement of that steam, and the facilitating of the descent of timber. – The hon. gentleman, in moving for the papers, said he desired to explain his reason for making this motion. In the interest of the lumbermen up that river he had found it his duty to present a petition to the Government, asking that the works up the river should be assumed by them. It was held by the lumbermen that it was a public advantage that the improvements in this stream to facilitate the descent of timber should be in the hands of the Government. It was easy to see why that was the case. It was quite clear that so long as the improvements were in the hands of individuals there could be no security to the lumbermen interested in the trade that these improvements would be kept in an efficient state – in working order. Within a couple of years, at this very stream, a dam gave way, and had it not been that there was a sufficient number of lumbermen on the spot to rebuild the work, the probability was that the timber on the stream would have been detained that the consequences must have been the ruin of those engaged in the trade. He thought that was a matter of very great importance. It was so to the lumbermen engaged in the lumber business on the Ottawa. With regard to all these improvements the Government had pursued one policy, and one which he had urged, – namely to adopt all the imporvements made on the tributaries of the Ottawa, and they had not only found it of advantage in the assistance it had given to that branch of the trade, but for every pound they had expended on the tributaries of the Ottawa they had received a return that obtained from any other public work in Canada. With regard to this particular stream, during the past year, the revenue derived from timber duties, &c., amounted to £5,500. Now, the first policy of the Government, in relation to tributaries far inferior in importance to this stream, had been to adopt all the improvements or public works made thereon. In regard to this particular case, the Government had been asked by the trade to assume the works. He would also say, in connexion with this stream, that he had had the good fortune to be selected by the lumbermen to present their petition for the improvement as respects these public works. As a great deal of money had been expended on works of the kind, and expended to advantage, in relation to this matter, he simply asked that all the documents and papers connected with it should be submitted to the House and the country that they might be able to judge as to the propriety of what is petitioned for by the lumbermen. (Hear, hear.)
The motion was carried.
Inland Water Communication
Robert Bell [Russell] moved
That the House go into Committee of the Whole now, to consider the following resolutions:—
1st. It is important that the best possible facilities be provided for the increase of the commerce of the country and for national defences.
2nd. That for these purposes an inland water communication, possessing superior advantages as to capacity, distance and position, connecting tide-water in the lower St. Lawrence with Lake Huron, is of especial importance.
3rd. That the route by way of the Ottawa River, Lake Nippissing and French River combining as it does all these advantages in a high degree, being of great capacity, far removed from the frontier and several hundred miles shorter, as to distance, than any other route between our seaports, and Lake Huron, is especially adapted to attract through it and to our ports the immense commerce which passes between the great West and the seaboard, and thus yield commercial, political and international benefits.
4th. That as tis route passes through a new and vast region of country, which is rich in forests and minerals and possesses unbounded facilities for manufacturing purposes, it would, more than any other, induce settlement and give breadth to the settled part of the country.
5th. That the opening up of this Ottawa and Huron line of navigation, would greatly tend to promote immigration, and render available the only large field for settlement which now remains in Canada.
6th. That for purposes of defence, in case of need, its advantages are incomparably greater than can be obtained by any other line, as it would enable naval armaments, suited to the Upper Lake Service, to pass speedily from the lower St. Lawrence through the interior of the country, and far removed from the frontier to the Upper Lakes.
7th. That in view of the great and growing importance and value to Canada of this line of communication, the needful steps should be taken as speedily as possible to have it opened through and made serviceable.
Robert Bell [Russell]—The hon. gentleman, in introducing his resolutions, said that at a time when the attention of the country was directed to the increase of means for commercial intercourse and to facilities for defence, the subject of those resolutions should be considered in this House. The surveys made, and the attention which had been dissected to this subject heretofore, would greatly aid us in coming to a conclusion of a satisfactory description. Those surveys were full and able ones, ordered by the Government. The surveyors had decided, as would be seen by the evidence given before a Parliamentary Committee three sessions ago, that the cost of communication depended upon the draft which was desired to be obtained for vessels through this region, from Lake Huron to the St. Lawrence.
The cost would be greater were there a depth of channel fit for sea-going vessels, than if there were only a draft for barges and other small inland craft. It thus depended upon the depth of channel which might be decided upon whether the expense of this improvement should be twenty-two millions or five millions of dollars. If we took the draft for commercial purposes solely, it would amount to a comparatively small sum. For four or five millions of dollars we could get communication of the latter kind from Montreal to Lake Nippissing.
George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—What would be the depth of channel?
Robert Bell [Russell]—About five feet. To obtain a channel of the depth of eight feet six inches or nine feet, would cost $14,000,000. The distance of close canal navigation was estimated by the Engineers at 22 miles. If the draught of water be sufficient for ocean-going vessels, the cost of the work would be about $22,000,000. After considered the subject in all its relations, including commercial and defence, his opinion was that the channel of eight or nice feet depth, from Montreal to Lake Nippissing, and then a deeper one from the latter to Lake Huron was what we should seek to obtain. The cost for the latter would be about $15,000,000.
The character of this route was different from that of any other. It was the route which, in the early life of Canada, was the main thoroughfare of the country. From Quebec the early settlers made their way to Michigan, Illinois, and other parts of the Great West, and by this route the early explorers passed up and down. It was better known for 150 years ago than at present, the French at the former period being in the habit of sending by this route their missionaries and voyageurs into the interior. The route had been surveyed by the ablest men in the country, and we had their report before us. He regarded this as the greatest question now before Canada.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
Robert Bell [Russell]—This great scheme, when carried out, would you give breadth to our country, and render it more defensible. Instead of out having a long line of frontier, indefensible, without a rear to support it, instead of the country having length without breadth, we would have both breadth and length together.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
Robert Bell [Russell]—He (Mr. B.) spoke on this subject from personal knowledge. Although the country through which the route lay was not first-class in regard to facilities for settlement, it contained a large quantity of arable land fit for settlement. If offered great facilities for manufacturing, and contained mines of wealth in minerals and other resources, second to no country in the world. He asked that this country should have that fair consideration to which it was pre-eminently entitled, and that those resolutions should receive the favorable attention of the House. On examining that country, on looking at its forest, its minerals, and the facilities for manufacturing purposes every where abundant, and considering that it contained a line of communication the most practicable between Quebec and Lake Huron—and when he observed the manner in which this question was received here, he could not help experiencing a feeling of regret that this line, which was one calculated to make Canada a nation, should have received such a small amount of attention in this House. He hoped this route would be better known hereafter, and that Canada would be able specially to open up through her territory, a channel of communication from the seaweed to the great west, which would attract its trade to this country, and benefit it largely, and bind this country with the West and with Britain in the ties of commerce.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cheers.
George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—Your motion should be that the House go into Committee on a future day.
Robert Bell [Russell]—I move that the House go into Committee now, in order that these resolutions may be adopted.
George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—The House cannot go into Committee now. Your motion will do for a future day—say to-morrow.
Robert Bell [Russell]—Well, to-morrow.
William McGiverin [Lincoln] said that if these resolutions were allowed to go through it would be a great injustice to him (Mr. McGiverin) who had endeavored to get a Committee on the important question of canal enlargement, but without success. In that case, he (Mr. McGiverin) would move his resolution again.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] said that by allowing there resolutions to stand for to-morrow, the House was not committed to any policy in the matter. The hon. member for Russell [Robert Bell] could not, of course, move that the House go into Committee now. All he could do would be to move that a day be appointed for the consideration of these resolutions.
Robert Bell [Russell]—Then I move that the House go into Committee to-morrow.
After some discussion, chiefly of a conversational nature, and a request on the part of Messrs. Rankin and Powell for the hon. gentleman to withdraw his resolutions, as his pressing them could not advance the cause he had at heart,
Robert Bell [Russell] desired the subject should have fair consideration. He knew that the Hon. Attorney-General East (Mr. Cartier) was not opposed to the improvement of the interior water-communication of the country. If that hon. gentleman and the Government considered it best to postpone discussion on the matter, he would consent to drop it at present. If not, however, he would desire that the discussion should come up to-morrow; and for that object that it should come up early.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—If the Government assent, there will be no difficulty.
Robert Bell [Russell] desired it should be the first order for to-morrow.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
Robert Bell [Russell]—He thought it was more entitled to consideration than many other matters now before the House.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Will you explain the end you propose by having it discussed to-morrow?
Robert Bell [Russell]—The end I propose is what I have expressed.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.
Robert Bell [Russell]—He would read the last resolution. His object was to place the facts before the country, and to see how the resolutions could be adopted.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—What about the money for the works?
Robert Bell [Russell]—That matter can be brought out in the discussion?
Some Hon. Members—Laughter.
Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—Oh, that is only a secondary consideration
Some Hon. Members—Renewed merriment.
Robert Bell [Russell]—If Ministers desire that the scheme schould [sic] succeed let us discuss it to-morrow.
William McGiverin [Lincoln] repeated that he (Mr. McGiverin) had a right to move his resolution, if the resolutions now before the House were carried.
George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] said that at this state of the public business it was impossible for the Government to consent that these resolutions should be the first order of the day for to-morrow.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—What day?
George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] said to put the resolutions on the table, and let them take their chance.
It being now six o’clock—the hour for the dinner recess—the Speaker left the chair, and the House rose without coming to a vote upon the resolutions. They were not taken up after the recess, insomuch as public bills had precedence.
The Legislative Assembly stopped for dinner recess.
After the recess-
Hon. Mr. Holton said that he wished to put a question to the Government on the subject of certain returns relative to the free port system. These returns had been promised long ago-in fact hon. gentlemen were promised that we would have them in time for the discussion on the free port system. (Hear, hear.) He wished to know when they might be expected.
Hon. Mr. Cartier said that the Hon. Finance Minister would be in his place in the course of the evening, and would probably be able to give the information required.
Hon. Mr. Holton – But I may not have an opportunity of putting a question
Hon. Mr. Cartier said the Hon. Finance Minister is most assiduous, and will not fail to be in his place. (Hear, hear, and laughter.)
The Hudson’s Bay Territory
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he should have like his hon. friend from Caughnawaga—
Some Hon. Members—Roars of laughter.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I am not ashamed of the name.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he sometimes miscalled the constituency, but he meant his honorable friend the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton], and he regretted that hon. gentleman had not asked information about the proposed Government measure on the subject of the Hudson’s Bay Territory. Last Tuesday night, in answer to a question put by him (Mr. Macdonald) the Government promised that they would come down with their measure on the Friday or Tuesday following.
Now, the Friday and Tuesday had come and gone, and yet we neither had measure or explanation. It was the pet scheme of the Hon. President of the Council—it was his measure par excellence, and whatever else was abandoned or deferred we had been led to expect all along that this certainly would be pressed.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—There’s no occasion for a speech. Put your question.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said that the hon. gentleman needed not get into a passion. Hon. gentlemen came down and told us in the most solemn manner that we were going to have a measure on the North-West business. For his (Mr. Macdonald’s) part he did not think they had any intention of doing so. They had humbugged the House and humbugged he community—they had almost succeeded in gulling almost everybody, but they had not sold him.
Some Hon. Members—Laughter and cheers.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said it was quite natural the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. J. S. Macdonald) should feel anxious about the North-West question. The importance of the matter was a sufficient justification for such anxiety, and he was therefore not surprised that the explanations should be demanded.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The measure, the measure.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said he was quite ready to give the explanations last night; but the important debate which arose on the manner in which the hon. member for Chauteauguay [Luther Holton] had given up forty-two-thousand pounds of bonds to the Grand Trunk—
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—prevented him from doing so. He hoped, however he would have an opportunity of doing so to-morrow, when hon. gentlemen would get all the explanations they required.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I take it for granted it’s a measure that is to be brought down.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] if the hon. gentleman lives until to-morrow he will see.
Some Hon. Members—Laughter.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said the House had been promised the policy of the Government and by inference a measure on this important subject. Now we were told, after a number of unfulfilled promises, that we were to have explanations to-morrow. If hon. Gentlemen were going to introduce a bill they could do so in advance—there was nothing to prevent them. The hon. gentleman concluded by denouncing the policy of the Government in this matter.
The subject then dropped and the orders of the day were taken up.
Permanent Building Societies, (U.C.)
Mr. Street moved the third reading of the bill to make further provision for the management of Permanent Building Societies in Upper Canada.
Mr. Scatcherd moved that the bill be not now read a third time, but that it be recommitted to Committee of the Whole for the purpose of amending it by providing that the rate of interest to be charged to the borrowers shall be mentioned in the mortgage or other security give to the society.
After a long discussion the members were called in and the House divided on Mr. Scatcherd’s amendment which was carried on a division – Yeas 44, Nays 40.
The House then went into Committee of the Whole, Mr. Ault in the chair.
After considerable discussion in Committee the Bill was amended and reported from Committee.
A great deal of discussion again took place, with the Speaker in the chair.
Finally the amendment made in Committee on motion of Mr. Scatcherd was read a first time. On the second reading of the amendment a division took place, and it was lost -Yeas 42; nays 51,
Mr. Scatcherd said that under the rule of the House no member having direct pecuniary interest could vote upon a question. The hon. member for Welland (Mr. Street) was interesting in a building society within the meaning of the 16th rule.
Mr. Powell – Then no one could vote upon a question affecting the welfare of the country (Hear, hear, and laughter.)
Mr. Dunkin said that the rule did not apply in the present case. It could only apply to the case of an hon. member being interested in the particular case under discussion. If the position assumed by the hon. member for West Middlesex (Mr. Scatcherd) was correct, then no person who was interested in any particular bank could vote if the House were engaged in legislating on banking generally
Hon. Mr. McGee said it was really too bad of the hon. member for Welland (Mr. Street) that he had an interest in the question. (Laughter.) He ought no doubt to content himself with having a material interest in it, and leave it to be decided by those who had none. (Hear, hear.) If, however, seriously speaking, such an interpretation as this were persisted in, members who know anything about a question would be debarred from voting upon it.
The Speaker said that as this bill did not refer to any particular society in which the hon. member for Welland was alleged to be interested, he was of opinion that that hon. gentleman could vote. (hear, hear, and “chair”, “chair”)
After some further conversation the bill was read a third time and passed.
Medicine and Surgery
On motion of Mr. Parker, the House went into Committee on the bill to regulate the qualifications of practitioners in medicine and surgery in Upper Canada – Mr. Cartwright in the Chair.
The bill was amended in Committee and read a third time and passed.
Game Laws (U.C.)
On motion of Mr. Walsh the bill to amend the game Laws of Upper Canada was read a third time and passed.
Costs of Arbitrators
Hon. Mr. Cartier (in the absence of Hon. J. A. Macdonald) moved the third reading of the bill to regulate the costs of arbitrators.
Mr. Scatcherd moved to refer the bill back to Committee of the Whole, with a view to amend the same by placing the fees to professional and non-profit arbitrators on the same footing
The amendment was lost upon a division – Yeas 36; Nays 45.
Mr. Scatcherd wished to know whether this bill ought not to have originated in Committee of the Whole, by means of resolutions? It involved a tax or burthen upon the people.
Hon. Mr. Cockburn said it was not a tax. It was permissive. People were not obligated to call in arbitrators, but if they elected to do so the Act would apply. It was not compulsory and could not come within the honorable gentleman’s objection.
After some debate on this point, the bill was allowed to stand over, pending a decision on the point of order.
The interest Bill
Mr. Bourassa moved that the House do concur in the report of Committee of the Whole on the bill to amend the act respecting interest.
Mr. J. B. E. Dorion moved that the bill be not now read a third time, but be referred to Committee of the Whole to fix the rate of interest at “8 per cent” instead of “6 per cent”.
Mr. Dunkin would like to know whether the hon. gentleman wished to replace banks precisely in the same position as now.
Mr. J. B. E. Dorion said he wished to leave the first clause as it was – to make 8 per cent. the maximum rate and 6 per cent the rate where there had been no agreement. He proposed, with regard to the banks, and other corporations, that they remain in the same position as now, under the present law.
Hon. J. S. Macdonald said that there should be some forfeiture in regard to the person charging an unlawful rate, or else the whole thing was a sham from beginning to end. Let the party guilty of charging a higher rate than that allowed by law forfeit the whole amount loaned.
Hon. Mr. Cartier said the law fixing a penalty for usuary was a special law. Under the old French law there was a penalty for the receipt of any interest. But by the bill introduced by the President of the Council, in 1853, the rate of interest was fixed at 6 per cent., and a penalty was imposed for receiving anything beyond that. According to the law of Lower Canada any rate beyond that fixed by the difference could be recovered by suit of law.
Mr. Walsh said that by the shape in which the hon. member for Arthabaska (Mr. J. B. E. Dorion) proposed to have the bill there would really be no penalty at all. He (Mr. Walsh) thought there should at lest be forfeiture of the interest where an illegal rate had ben exacted.
Hon. Mr. Langevin said that the hon. members who were in favor or fixing the rate of interest had only failed to carry their point hitherto because they were divided for the figure. If they persisted in adhering each to their respective figures now the same thing would again occur this evening. Let them agree among themselves upon some rate, and not allow themselves to be defeated by any amendments intended to defeat their object.
Hon. Mr. Brown humorously taunted the friends of the measure with wanting to raise the rate of interest to 8 per cent., and with adhering to the bill in its present shape they should have money at 6 per cent. It should go forth to the country that they had voted to raise the rate of interest, notwithstanding their professions of a desire to obtain money at a low rate.
Mr. Denis spoke for the bill, but being continually interrupted by the usual Parliamentary noises and so forth, could not be well heard in the Reporters’ Gallery.
Mr. J. B. E. Dorion’s amendment was then put to the vote and lost on a division – Yeas 40, nays 48.
Hon. J. S. Macdonald then moved to send the bill back to Committee of the Whole, with a view of amending it by providing that there should be forfeiture of the sum lent in every case in which a greater rate than eight per cent. has been charged.
The motion having been ruled out of order, on the ground that it was similar in substance with the previous motion,
Hon. J. S. Macdonald then moved to fix the rate at six, and to impose forfeiture of the loan whenever a greater rate is charged.
A lengthy discussion ensued, but its tone could hardly be called serious. Constant interruptions were indulged in, jokes were exchanged, and paper pellets flew about. The remarks of hon. members were in most cases inaudible or so interrupted as to be almost unintelligible.
Mr. Morris moved the adjournment.
Another debate arose on the adjournment.
Hon. Mr. Brown would not imitate the Bombastes Furioso style so common with that hon. gentleman, and in which he indulged, no matter what question came up, speaking as gravely and promously as if the world were coming to an end. He lectured this House and Government as if he were a leader of a party which he was not. As to his (Mr. Browns’s) opposing the feeling of the House always on this bill, as the member for Chateauguay had charged, he had voted from first to last with the majority. That hon. gentleman knew the Government treated this question as an open one. His own (Mr. Brown’s) opinion was that it would be better to settle this matter according to the views of the majority of the House, and to dispose of the question for this session.
The question was then put on the motion of adjournment, which was lost on a division – Yeas 25, Nays 52.
Mr. Dunkin moved in amendment to that of the hon. member for Cornwall, to substitute the figure “9” per cent. instead of “6” per cent.
Mr. Rankin said that the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Bourassa) had done his duty by his measure, but there was no use whatever in pressing it at this hour and at this period of the session. He was disposed to give the hon. gentleman full credit for honesty and sincerity, but he would show more discretion by refraining from pressing his bill.
[The usual Parliamentary noise here arose. Desk-lids, agitated by some mysterious agency, commenced banging in the Ministerial back-benches. Honorable gentlemen in the distant corners manifested a disposition to kick their desks to pieces. Cat-calls and rather infelicitous attempts to imitate the “birds of morn,” varied the din.]
Mr. Rankin said he was not in the habit of interrupting, and he would most decidedly not allow himself to be put down in this way. He would request the Speaker to use his authority for the purpose of enforcing order. In the meantime, he would amuse himself. [Here the hon. gentleman took up a file of Punch, and leaning against his desk, began to read, amid considerable merriment.]
The Speaker – The hon. gentleman cannot, by the rules of the House, read the papers. (Laughter.)
Mr. Rankin said that under those circumstances he would content himself with waiting until order was restored.
Col. Haultain reminded the hon. member for Essex (Mr. Rankin) that hon. members of this House were anxious to come to a vote on this measure, and were, therefore, naturally impatient of any deviation from the question at issue. (hear, hear.)
Mr. Rankin said the hon. gentleman who had just spoken was another striking instance of honesty without discretion. (Laughter.) Order being somewhat restored, the hon. member went onto repeat his belief that the hon. mover of the Bill would show much better judgement not to press his measure.
Mr. Dorion (Arthabaska) and Mr. Bourassa both spoke strongly in favor of the Bill, and repudiated the idea that they would accept the suggestion of the hon. member for Essex and abandon the Bill.
About half-past one a.m. a debate again sprung up on the merits of the Bill, and continued until twenty-five minutes past two a.m., when Mr. Dunkin’s motion was lost on the following division:
Yeas. – Messrs. Cartwright, Cockburn, Currier, A. A. Dorion, Eric Dorion, Dunkin, Dunsford, Holton, Haultain, Laframboise, McGivern, Scatcherd, A. M. Smith. – 13.
Nays. – Messrs. Alleyn, Ault, Bellerose, Blanchet, Bourassa, Brousseau, Brown, M. C. Cameron, Carling, Caron, Cartier, Chapais, Cournellier, Coupal, Cowan, Denis, Dickson, Alex. Dufresne, Jos. Dufresne, T. Ferguson, W. Furguson, Fortier, Gaucher, Gaudet, Gibbs, Higginson, Houde, Huot, Langevin, Magill, J. S. Macdonald, Alex Mackenzie, McConkey, McFarlane, McGee, McKellar, Paquette, Parker, Perrault, Pinsonneault, Pope, Poulin, Raymond, Rémillard, J. J. Ross, J. S. Ross, W. Ross, Rankin, Scoble, Somerville, Stirton, Street, Sylvain, Thimbaudeau, T.C. Wallbridge, Walsh, Webb, Wilson, Amos Wright. – 59
Mr. McFarlane moved that the report of the Committee of the Whole be not new received, but that it be received to-morrow.
Lost on a division – yeas, 16; nays, 48/
Col. Haultain moved that the House do now adjourn – yeas,: nays, 28.
The House, therefore, went into Committee of the whole on the bill – Mr. Fortier in the Chair.
The bill was amended in Committee, in the sense of the successful amendment, by providing that the maximum rate should be six per cent., and that persons charging an illegal rate should forfeit the money lent.
The report of the Committee of the Whole was then concurred in, and there were loud calls for the third reading at once. Objection, however, being taken, the bill could not be proceeded with, but was ordered for a third reading at the next sitting of the House.
No other orders were taken up, and the House, at five minutes past three a.m., adjourned, on motion of Hon. Mr. Cartier.