Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (14 September 1865)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Morning Chronicle
Citation: “Provincial Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Tuesday, Sept. 14th” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (15 September 1865).
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Tuesday, September 14
The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.
ARBITRATION—PUBLIC BUILDINGS AT OTTAWA.
Mr. POWELL moved for an Address to His Excellency for a copy of all instructions, letters, papers and correspondence between the Department of Public Works and the Contractors and Architects of the Ottawa buildings, touching the arbitration now pending in relation thereto; and also, a copy of the instructions to the counsel retained by the Crown, together with all correspondence, communications or reports, with or from Mr. Paige, as one of the arbitrators, or as a Government employs in the matter of the arbitration touching the extraordinary delay and great expenses to the public that have been caused by the unusually protracted proceedings of said arbitration, to the injury of the contractors and others concerned.—The hon. gentleman in making his motion, said—Yesterday, when the notices of motion were called, the above was on the paper, but owing to some misunderstanding respecting it, the motion was not brought up. He thought that a misapprehension had arisen in the mind of the Commissioner of Public Works. He (Mr. Powell) thought that all the information sought for by this motion had been already sent down to the House. But it seemed there had been no return made this session, and he did think it was high time that information on this subject should be laid before the country, and, particularly, with respect, to the extraordinary delays the thad taken place. Without attempting to enter into this question more fully now, he might say that those instructions for arbitration were given upwards of year ago. Well, the arbitrators met the contractors, and he believed that arbitration in but one case had been entered into—that of Jones, Haycock & Co. Those contractors closed their case as early as May last; and although so much time had now elapsed, the case was still pending, no settlement having been arrived at. Those delays were very serious to the contractors whom it might ruin, and, therefore, he thought that some change in the conduct or management of contractors’ cases should be made. The Government had elected Mr. Richards to consider these matter, and he (Mr. Powell) believed that gentleman was the cause of the unusual delay. His reason for obstructing his case, rather than forwarding it—because he (Mr. Powell) and everybody else was of opinion that he was the case of obstruction—was his own interest, which was subserved by the protection of those cases, every day spent in which brought him an additional retainer. He (Mr. Powell) learned that even the Government arbitrators had reported on these delays. As the Scriptures—or Shakespeare—said, with regard to a certain character, this Mr. Richards always turned upended every Government that was formed. (Laughter.) He thought it was most unfair as well as injurious to the contractors to defer adjudication upon their claims, the settlement of which was demanded by common justice and fairness. (Hear, hear.)
Hon. Mr. CHAPIS would have no objection, of course, to bring down any papers on this subject, if there were any, in addition to what had been submitted on the motion of the hon. member for Lambton (Mr. A. Mackenzie.) As to the delays, he was free to confess there had been some delay.
Mr. A. MACKENZIE said that the return, in this matter referred to, was brought down early last session, and formed sessional paper No. 38. The volume in which it will appear had not yet been published, owing to another report not having been completed and sent to the printers in time. It would be before the House in a few days, the printers having neatly completed their work. Then the whole of that correspondence, together with the instructions, would be found in the return.
Hon. Mr. CAUCHON said we know well the end of all these inquiries. There ought to be an end put to such proceedings, as the money spent for them would, in most cases, exceed the amount for which the claims were inside.
Mr. STREET (who was partially inaudible) was understood to say that no report having been recently made to the Commissioner of Public Works was a most extraordinary circumstance. The case of these contractors was one of these cases of hardship which ought to be fairly and promptly considered by this House. There should be some effort made by the Government to bring to a conclusion these long arbitrations, and to satisfy the claims of those parties entitled to patent for their services in connexion with the public works. Something should be done. Those poor men, who had been obliged to spend large sums of money, out of their own pocket, to carry on the public works, should be reimbursed both for that, and the payment for their own labors. The question was—whether the pull interest demanded that there should be this great delay in the settlement of those just claims. He was sorry that, for some time, there had been no report made to the Department of Public Works, because this matter has been under investigation for some time; and it did seem to him a most cruel thing towards those who were depending on the Government for fair reimbursement it should have been put off so long. (Hear, hear.)
He did hope there would be some effort by the Government to bring these long arbitrations to as speedy a conclusion as the interests of the country would admit. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. SHANLY was understood to say that he entirely concurred in the remarks of the hon. Member for Welland, and was glad that this motion had been put by the hon. Member for Carleton. If he understood the matter correctly, the case of these parties was closed tour months ago, and they had been kept, at considerable expense and inconvenience, waiting ever since for their claims. It was wrong that the interests of any one of Her Majesty’s subjects should be subjected to this kind of loss from delay at the hands of any Government. He knew the fact that the delay was not properly accounted for, and that it was detrimental to the parties complaining. He thought if they were to be kept waiting much longer they would be positively rained, as had been the case in one instance from the same cause. Now, the Government had admitted that these gentleman had claims, notwithstanding which they were obliged to come here for a long time and press earnestly for their settlement. There was something not right in this matter.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON said he was convinced that the delay spoken of by the hon. Member for Carleton had arisen as much from the counsel of the contractors as anybody else; but his purpose on this occasion was to say a few words in regard to Mr. Richards. That gentleman’s appointment to watch over the pecuniary interests of the public in the matter of the Ottawa buildings was an act than which no other performed by this Government entitled it to so much approval on the part of the House and the country. (Hear, hear.)
No other person was better qualified to discharge the important duties required in this case, and he was sure that there was no man of the profession in this Province who would perform these duties more ably and conscientiously than the gentleman sneered at by the hon. member for Carleton.
Mr. J. B. E. DORION said he did not wish to oppose the motion, he must certainly raise the question of order. This motion was not upon the order-paper to-day, and was therefore he thought, out of order.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said that Government had no objection to the motion, provided there was no debate upon it; but if debate should proceed they would of course object to it, as this was Government day. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. F. JONES (North Leeds and Grenville) arose to address the House.
Mr. POWELL requested him to sit down, in the interests of the motion, inasmuch as if he persisted in speaking it would only have the effect of defeating the motion.
Mr. F. JONES perished in his desire to speak.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER—Order, order! The motion is out of order.
The SPEAKER—The motion, of course, is our of order. (Cried of “Chair, chair.”)
Mr. POWELL (turning to Mr. F. Jones)—I may thank you for that.
Mr. F JONES said he would move the adjournment, as he was determined to haha an opportunity of expressing his opinion, and he would do so while in the House, whether distasteful to the Government or any other parties. These arbitrations has been so numerous that it would be well to abolish our public departments altogether. We kept up expensive departments, but on almost every occasion their business was taken from them and given to arbitrators and commissioners regarding the Ottawa buildings alone was enormous, and would astonish the public. The hon. gentleman went on to denounce this system.
The SPEAKER—Does the hon. member persist in his motion of adjournment?
Mr. F. JONES—I consent to withdraw it. (Laughter.)
By consent of the House, Mr. POWELL’S option was then allowed to be put, and was carried.
COBOURG AND PETERBOROUGH RAILWAY.
Hon. Mr. COCKBURN moved the third reading of the bill to amend and extend the acts relating to the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway.
Mr. M. C. CAMERON opposed the bill in a long speech, denouncing it as a most iniquitous measure, and concluded it as a most iniquitous measure, and concluded by moving the three months’ hoist.
Hon. Mr. COCKBURN defended the bill, on the ground that it was a fair measure of compromise.
A lengthy debate arose, in which Messrs. Bell, Shanly, Parker, Street, McGiverin, Haultain, &c., took part.
Finally, the motion was lost on a divsion—Yeas 22; Nays 61.
Mr. M. C. CAMERON then moved to re-commit the bill to Committee of the Whole, with a view of amending the same.
After some further discussion, this was lsat on a division—Yeas 20; Nays 50.
Another amendment by Mr. M. C. CAMERON, tending to refer the bill to Committee to make other changes was proposed, and the hon. Mover was still speaking when the House rose at six o’clock.
After the recess—
By the rule of the House, adjourned debate on the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway went to the end of the order-paper.
ST. HYACINTHE ELECTION.
On motion of Hon. J. A. MACDONALD, the first report of the Committee of Privileges and Elections on the subject of the St. Hyacinthe election was adopted.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON again reminded the Government of the promise made the other night to being down the whole of the correspondence referred to by the Hon. President of the Council in his speech on the Postal Subsidy question. He was anxious it should be brought down, inasmuch as it would effectively dispose of the petty attack made by the Hon. President of the Council in himself, (Mr. Holton)and two of his colleagues. (Hear, hear.)
On motion of Hon. J. A. MACDONALD the Bill to regulate the costs of arbitrators’ fees was read a third time and passed.
THE UNFUNDED DEBT.
On motion of the Hong Mr. GALT, that the House do receive the report of the Committee of Ways and Means—
Hon. Mr. HOLTON desired to ask the Hon. Finance Minister how he proposed to deal with the unfunded debt, which would be swollen by this proposed loan of his to something in excess of five million of dollars. The unfunded debt at present existing was something over four million—about three being owed to the Provincial agents in London, and something over a million to the Bank of Montreal. He took it for granted both were covered by debentures—he knew one was so covered by debentures issued by authority already obtained. He presumed that the sum owed the Bank of Montreal was also covered by debentures, for he could hardly suppose an institution so well managed as the Bank of Montreal would loan so large a sum of money on open account, without the security of debentures, or some evidence of debt on the part of the Government. He assumed the whole of the unfunded debt was shown in the public accounts, as respected by the debentures issued under authority already existing. The Hon. Finance Minster proposed now to take authority to use an additional million, which would necessarily swell the unfunded debt of the Province to above five millions. It was important to know how he proposed to deal with that debt. Of course he would not, in the present condition of the money market, dream of putting a loan of a million upon the English money market. He had heard that the Provincial agents had offered to continue their advance up to the 1st of January next, but has not heard anything about the million due the Bank of Montreal, or how it was proposed to deal with this new loan for which authority was now sought. He thought the question was of such magnitude and importance the the hon. gentleman should tell us how he intended to deal with the unfunded debt. He would like to know what debentures he proposed to issue, and what interest they would bear?
Hon. Mr. GALT was understood to say that he has previously stated wha the Government proposed in reference to the unfunded debt. It was thought, in the present state of our securities in the money-market, that it would not be desirable to force a sale of debentures for the payment of that debt; but circumstances were such that the Government did not expect any difficulty in carrying over that unfunded debt. With regard to the issuing of these bonds, under the Supply Bill, as already passed, authority was taken for the issue of four millions of bonds. They had not been issued or sold to the public. As a precautionary measure, and as it would be some time before the Government could meet the HOUse, it was thought advisable, in the meantime, to ask authority to issue a million. But in no respect did they contemplate increasing the unfunded debt, which was something under four millions. Therefore, the Government had thought it advisable to ask for this authority to issue a million of binds in the same form, and upon the same terms as these for which authority had already been given. They authority had already been given. The authority was taken for a loan at a rate not exceeding six per cent., which was the terms he proposed on this occasion—that was to authorize the Government, in the event of making the loan for a short period, to pay a rate which would be something like equivalent to the value of their ordinary securities. He desired taking this course in preference to seeing the debentures at a small price.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON—I understand you did not desire issuing debentures of an unusual nature.
Hon. Mr. GALT—No. Circumstances might compel the Government to do very unusual things, but we do not anticipate it.
Hon. Mr HOTON desired to ask still another question—whether it was intended by the Government, out of any appropriation made this session, to pay the claim of Messrs, Delisle and Lemoine, for damages arising out of the destruction of their bridge at Sault-au-Recollect.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said there was an award made in this case by official arbitrators. The hon. gentleman proceeded, at considerable length, to give a history of the case and the circumstances under which arbitration was ordered. A measure had been introduced into the Upper house in the interests of the limber trade, which had been petitioning for 13 or 12 years for the repeal of two acts requiring lumbermen to give notices to the bridge-keepers when coming down with rafts. Hon. Mr. Campbell introduced a bill into the Upper House to do away with this necessity. Hon. Mr. Quesnel oppose it as interfering with private rights. Mr. Delisle had no longer an interest in the bridge, which belonged to Mr. Lemoine and Rev. Mr. Vinel. In the interest of the lumbermen, Hon. Mr. Quesnel advised his friends to withdraw their opposition to the bill on condition of the Government’s granting the proprietors of the bridge an indemnity. Well, an agreement of this kind was concluded, and arbitrators were appointed to strike an award, which had been under consideration. Hon. Mr. Campbell, however, expected in the settlement to obtain such conditions with the owners of the bridge as would be very far below the award of the arbitrators, after which the Government would consider and take what would appear to them the proper action in the matter.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON said the question had not been fairly met. He would ask—was it intended to pay this indemnity out of any appropriation included in this bill of supply. It would be wrong to do so. The claim was, to say the least, questionable, and ought not to be paid without being submitted specially to Parliament.
Mr. BELLEROSE said the arbitration was perfectly null, and he was sure the Government would not pay that indemnity out of the estimates of this year.
Hon. Mr. GALT said it would be abundantly evident the Government did not propose to pay the awards it now existed; but, at the same time, they recognized the claims in question. Negotiations were now going on with the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands to establish what was the nature of those claims. Had we been able to ascertain what was payable to those gentlemen specifically we would have provided for it specifically. The Government were, however, not able to determine the amount which should be paid, and were not in a position to make a specific appropriation for it. It was possible the enquiries going on might occupy some time, and it would be some considerable time before the question was settled. For those reasons the only answer he could make was that, while the Government were disposed to do justice in all cases, still! they had not felt it necessary to make specific appropriations for this purpose, and did not intend to pay the amount as it stood now.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON said Ministers still evaded, and he therefore repeated his question.
Hon. Mr. BROWN said the member for Chateauguay need not fear that the Government would do anything they should not do. This was one of those little difficulties that would arise in the management of the affairs of the country. He (Mr. Brown) could not doubt the largeness of the amount awarded the proprietors of the bridge The Government had not enquired into this matter fully. The Government of the day agreed in the gentlemen interested withdrawing the bill, from the Upper House, in order to arrive at a settlement.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON—Is this law?
Hon. Mr. BROWN—It may not be law, but it is equity and justice. The hon. gentleman then went on to state that there was no fear of the Government making any improper payment in this matter, or doing anything pending a thorough examination of the claim.
Hon. J. S. MACDONALD said that the Government should come down in a straight-forward manner and tell us what they really intended to do in this matter. The Attorney-General East, was, however, true to his colors, and refused to do the right thing, refused to do that which his colleagues—the President of the Council and the Finance Minister—wished him to do.
After some further discussion—
The report of the Committee of Ways and Means was concurred in.
The Supply Bill
Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] then introduced
The formal Bill of Supply for granting to Her Majesty certain supplies required by Her Majesty for the public service for the financial year 30th June, 1866.
The bill was read a first time.
On the second reading—
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said there was no earthly reason for the calling together of the present session except to pass this very Bill of Supply. Now he (Mr. Holton) contended that there was no necessity for this supplementary session, and that all the items in this bill might have been voted at the regular session. Honorable gentlemen, however, made great representations during last session as to the necessity of bringing to a speedy close and going on a mission to England. In order to carry our their object they asked for and obtained a vote of credit, and precipitately prorogued the house. Three or four weeks, however, were lost in this country before their fruitless mission was undertaken. Now by prolonging the regular session for a few days—a week or ten days at the most, the moneys necessary for the public service might have been voted in the usual way, and the country might have been saved the immense expenditure which this useless session, this fruitless session, this costly session had involved.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Well, the Supply Bill was now before us, and if it was remarkable for one thing more than another, it was the largely increased expenditure in every branch of the public service.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The only result of the session in another point of crew was the damaging disclosure and policy of hon. gentlemen on the treasury benches.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and oh, oh.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The hon. gentleman went on to condemn the Government for hurrying through the chief items of supply—those items which were most likely to produce discussion which would be at once damaging and embarrassing to them—at an advanced hour of the night or rather boring, so that the House had no opportunity to discuss them. In conclusion, he denounced the Government as being the cause of a useless session and its consequent great cost.
Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said that the House must be amused at the last ring speech of the hon. Member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton]. He (Mr. Galt) thought that every one saw the necessity that gentleman felt himself under of making some excuse for his extraordinary course this session. He had charged upon the Government that this session had been a fruitless one. It had been fruitless as regards his efforts to prevent the Government from bringing peace and contentment to the country, and in regard to his attempts to damage the position of the country. But, in relation to holding this session, he (Mr. Galt) thought that hon. gentleman would have told a very different tale if Government had not called this session. We would have heard the changes rung upon our neglect of duty, breach of faith and promises, and so forth, had we not called the House together at this time. He was the last individual that ought to attack the Government with having assembled parliament at an improper or unreasonable moment. He (Mr. Galt) was sure that the country, if not the hon. gentleman, would appreciate the readiness with which the Government called this House together—called them to give an account of the progress of the great measures we were engaged in, and to see whether Parliament would approve or reject what we had done—to see whether it would sustain us, or deprive us of the power we hold. Well, we were satisfied with the result. We had every reason to be pleased with the verdict the House had given us on several occasions this session. He was at a loss to know how the action of Parliament, either in reference to the Supply Bill or anything else had, as the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] had said it had brought disgrace was incurred. He was sure that hon. gentleman thought our presence on the Treasury benches was a disgrace to our institutions.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Yes; from the acts and facts connected with it.
Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—Acts! Why, the hon. gentleman charged us with having done no act—with having brought down only Supply Bill.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and laughter.
Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—He did not believe that the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] had found any of his attacks, with the much vaunted disclosures, damaging the present Government. We had endeavored to consider every matter that came before us in the most frank and candid manner As to the items of the Supply Bill being carried in an immoral way, he (Mr. Galt) did not deny that a great many items were pushed through at a late hour of the night, but the Government was not blameable for that. They were responsible for carrying on the business connected with the Government with all due speed. He appealed to the House whether he was not acting in conformity with the wishes and action of the House in so carrying those items.
Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—How many were there?
Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—There were 40 or 50. The member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] said that our aim was to prevent discussion. If it was, did the Government take the right way to do it? Everybody knew there was not a question of importance that could not have been brought up on the House going into Committee of Supply. Well, that hon. member had made two great attacks upon the Government—one on the question of the sectarian grants, and another on the Grand Trunk postal subsidy. The member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] had as full an opportunity as he could desire of discussing those points, and he must satisfied with the free of discussing those points, and he must be satisfied with the free field allowed him on both occasions to make his attacks good. He had attacked the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] on these matters as if more culpable than anybody else.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Hear, hear.
Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—He (Mr. Galt) would not go over the field again, as it was unnecessary to add anything to the eloquent defence made by the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown], which was perfectly conclusive in every point.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—He could well understand that the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] was dissatisfied with the present condition of things, and that he would like to see us brought back to the old state of affairs, with the House divided into two equal portions—with parties so balanced that none could obtain a majority with which to carry on the business of the country. The country, however, he was sure, did not desire it. Had the country so desired, we would have seen some signs of it before. As far as the Government were concerned we had every reason to be satisfied with the expression of option the House had given us on those points which had been discussed. He did not desire to go over the whole ground again, and therefore considered it was as well to let the diatribe of the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] go for what it was worth. We thought we might fairly put the work of the Government against the words of the Opposition.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said that the only measure which hon. gentleman opposite professed to have was one respecting the North-west Territory. But even this solitary specimen of their administrative ability was not forthcoming. In the written programme of their policy which hon. gentleman had brought down at the beginning of the session the North-west question was specifically set forth as the only point upon which legislation was to be had. It was moreover the pet measure of the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown], and the House felt almost certain e would have something about it. But what had we seen? A very short time after the policy of the Government had been announced, the organ of the Government in this city—the Chronicle—came out and condemned the project as impolite. The Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] then found that public opinion in Lower Canada was too strong for him—he dare not carry out his policy, and the matter had been constantly evaded, and would no be brought down.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and oh, oh.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—The session was truly most fruitless. It had been the custom from time immemorial, at the close of a session of Parliament, to review the proceedings of the session. What would there be to refer to in the address to His Excellency [Viscount Monck] at the end of the present session? Of course there was the Bill of Supply.
Some Hon. Members—Laughter.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—And then there was the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway Bills, the bill respecting short forms of mortgages, bill to amend procedure in the Superior and Circuit Courts of Lower Canada.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and laughter.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He was free to confess that the Civil Code, which had involved so much labor, might very fairly be mentioned. But what had we next? Why bills respecting the spread of the contagious diseases and disorders affecting certain animals.
Some Hon. Members—Laughter.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—These were copies of English bills. To continue the list, we had some very slight amendments to the Gold Mining Act and the Fisheries’ Bill. These and a few private bills were all we had as the result of a session which would cost three or four hundred thousand dollars, while, as the hon. gentleman beside him (Mr. Holton) had stated, we might have been saved the whole thing if the regular session had been prolonged some eight or ten days. He really pities the Speaker on the very limited account he would be enabled to give of the business of the session.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.
James Cowan [Waterloo South]—(in reply to some observation by Hon. J. S. Macdonald as to alleged change of feeling in his—Mr. Cowan’s—constituency) read a letter from a friend in Ayr, C. W., expressing confidence in the intentions of the Coalition, and satisfaction with what had already been done, but hoping that some definite action would be taken early next session either towards the Confederation of the British North American Provinces, or the Confederation of the Canadas.
Matthew Cameron [Ontario North] said he fully concurred in the remarks of the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] as respected the unprofitable nature of the session. The Municipal Bill, the Assessment Bill, and the bill relative to Registrars had been delayed over the present late period. There was nothing what ever in the course of the session upon which we could reasonably congratulate ourselves. The hon. gentleman then went on at some length to review the events, and to denounce the course pursued but he Government, and to argue that there was no foundation in the charge made by hon. gentleman on the Treasury benches to the effect that hon. gentleman on this side of the House had delayed the business, although the fact was that there was no business to obstruct.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said that hon. gentleman on the Treasury benches complained that the had no opportunity of discussing the estimates. Now, what were the facts? The supplies came down on the 21st August last, and here we were discussing the Supply Bill on the 14th September, the items of supply having been discussed on every intervening Government day.
Some Hon. Members—Hear.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Who was to blame till three o’clock in the morning? Why, the hon. members who obstructed the business of the House. There never had been a better opportunity of discussing a Supply Bill than that afforded during the present session. There were, in fact, but three principal questions raised—namely, the postal subsidy, the Montreal Trinity House, and the sectarian grants; and every one of them had been fairly and fully discussed. The hon. gentleman in the Opposition, however, had not dared to take the sense of the House on a single point connected with those questions.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Hon. gentleman opposite talked about the business of this session. Well, what had they done in their own summer session—that of 1863, which was nearly twice the length of the present session?
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Oh, but we had only just come back from the country.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said that hon. gentleman ought to have been fresh to their work when they came back from the country. Well, what had they done? Some 92 acts had been passed, and what were they?
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—There were the bills to incorporate the Drummondville Mining Company and the Sutton mining Company, and the Vale Mining Company.
Some Hon. Members—Laughter.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Those were not Government bills.
George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Oh, of course they were Government bills. Well, to continue the list, there was the South Acton Mining Company’s bill, the Oxford Mining and Smelting Company’s bill—the Sutton, the Aston, the Harvey Hill, the Logan, the St. Flavien, and a score of others. In fact it might be called the session of smelting companies
Some Hon. Members—Laughter.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said that during the session of 1863 there was the important Volunteer and Militia Bill which hon. gentleman opposite had never attempted to meddle with. In reply to the hon. gentleman who had last spoken, he might say that he had refrained from putting motions of the kind indicated by that honorable member, because he had a regard for the unseated consciences of some members of the Liberal party whom he had hopes would yet return tot he paths of rectitude and the ways of purity.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.
Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said that some hon. gentleman could not see what had been accomplished by the present Government. For his part, he thought a very great deal had been accomplished. He looked upon the establishment of a thorough understanding between the mother-country and this colony on a number of great questions as a matter of great importance. In this respect hon. gentleman on the Treasury benches had attained an amount of success which was most creditable, and was, certainly, something gained. As had been truly said by a leading journal, they had been received rather as envoys of a powerful ally than as delegates from a colony.
Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.
After some further discussion, in which Hon. Messrs. Dorion and Brown took part, there were loud calls of “question.” But the usually vigilant first Commoner of the land had at last yielded to the fatigues of his office, and was discovered fast asleep in his chair.
A few louder calls, accompanied with general laughter, woke the gentleman from his needed slumbers, and to a sense of his arduous and disagreeable duty, necessitating a further stretch of his wakeful attention for some long, weary hours.
The Supply Bill then received its third reading, and passed into law.
DISTRICT COUNCILS (L. C.)
Mr. J. DUFRESNE (Montcalm) asked the Government whether it was their intentions to provide, during this session, for the payment of the debts of the District Councils established by the Special Council, the payment of which was promised to be provided for by the Act 8th Vict, Cap. 77.
Hon. Mr. GALT—The Government have had under consideration the case of the parties referred to, but owing to the long period which has elapsed, it has been found absolutely necessary to have further investigation before the question of providing some mode of payment can be considered with a view of being submitted to Parliament. The parties appear to have been treated in a most extraordinary manner, no provision having been made for the payment of their just claims. Whatever is established as due ought unquestionably to be paid; but the Government must consider how far it is possible to provide for such payment by the municipalities of Lowe Canada, or other sources than the Consolidated fund. (Hear, hear.)
On motion of Hon. J. A. MACDONALD, the bill to incorporate the Rideau Club, of Ottawa, was read a third time and passed.
DISORDERS AFFECTING ANIMALS.
On motion of Hon. Mr. McGE, the bill to provide against the introduction and spreading of disorders affecting certain animals (from the Legislative Council), was read a third time and passed.
COBOURG AND PETERBOROUGH RAILWAY BILL.
The debate on Hon. Mr. COCKBURN’S motion for the third readings of the bill to amend and extend the acts relating to the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway, and on Mr. M. C. CAMERON’S motion to recommit the bill to Committee of the Whole, with a view to having the same amended, was resumed.
After some discussion, the motion in amendment was lost on a division—Yeas 24; Nays 44.
Mr. M. C. CAMERON raised the question of order, on the ground that the bill was not in accordance with the notice given.
Another long discussion arose on the point of order, occupying nearly two hours, took place.—Finally.
Mr. SPEAKER was understood to decide that the point raised was not for himself, but for the House to decide.
Mr. M. C. CAMERON thereupon moved to refer the bill back to the Standing Committee to decide upon the sufficiency of the notice.
The motion was lost upon a division—Yeas 21; Nays 48.
The bill was then read a third time and passed.
NOTRE DAME DE QUEBEC.
On motion of Hon. Mr. LANGEVIN, the House went into Committee of the Whole on the bill to incorporate the Cart of the Parish of Notre Dame de Quebec (from the Legislative Council), and amendments—Mr. DENIS in the chair.
The bill was reported from Committee without amendment, and was then read a third time and passed.
DUTIES OF EXCISE.
Hon. Mr. GALT moved that the House go into Committee of the Whole on the bill respecting duties of excise.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON raised the question of order, and urged that the bill should have originated in Committee of the Whole, inasmuch as it related to a matter of trade, and proposed to impose new burthens.
After some debate on the point of order—
The SPEAKER decided that the bill was in order.
The House then went into Committee on the bill.
—Mr. A. MACKENZIE in the Chair.
On motion of Hon. Mr. GALT, a number of verbal and other amendments were made in Committee, with the object of introducing greater strictness in regard to the collection of the excise.
The bill was reported from the Committee with amendments, and ordered for a third readings tomorrow.
ACT RESPECTING PUBLIC WORKS.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER moved that the House go into Committee of the Whole on the Bill to extend and amend the Acts respecting Public Works to, and with respect to, works connected with the defence of this Province. The hon. gentleman explained that the act provided for the taking of land for the defensive works of the Province—that it should be taken by arbitration, but not in the clumsy way hitherto prevailing, but in accordance with the system in force as regards public works. As the bill might have affected some of the claims pending at Point Levi, 7th clause was introduced to prevent the measures having a retrospective effect.
The bill was reported from Committee with amendments, and was then road a third time and passed.
GOLD MINING ACT.
Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL moved that the House go into Committee on the bill to extend and amend the acts respecting gold-mining, twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth Victoria, Chapter nine (from Legislative Council.)
Mr. TASHEREAU expressed a hope that some explanation would be given.
The House went into Committee, Mr. WILSON in the Chair.
Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL briefly read and explained the clauses of the bill, at the table of the Committee, but his remarks were inaudible in the gallery.
The bill was reported from Committee without amendment and read a third time.
SHORT FORMS OF MORTGAGES (U. C.)
On motion of Hon. Mr. COCKBURN, the House went into Committee on the bill to amend the act respecting short forms of mortgages in Upper Canada (from Legislative Council)—Mr. PARKER in the Chair.
The bill was reported from Committee without amendment, read a third time and passed.
NAVAL AND MILITARY STATIONS.
On motion of Hon. Mr. CARTIER, the House went into Committee on the bill for the prevention of contagious diseases at certain naval and military stations in this Province—Mr. PARKER in the Chair.
FISHERIES AND FISHING.
On motion of Hon. Mr. LANGEVIN, the House went into Committee on the bill to amend chapter 62 of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, and to provide for the better regulation of fishing and protection of fisheries (from Legislative Council)—Mr. FORD JONES in the Chair.
About half an hour was spent in discussion around the table in Committee. Finally, the bill was reported from Committee with several amendments.
The amendments were read a second time, and the bill was ordered for a third reading to-morrow.
On motion of Hon. Mr. LANGEVIN, the House went into Committee on the bill granting additional facilities to certain commercial transactions—Mr. TASHEREAU in the Chair.
GRAMMAR SCHOOLS (U. C.)
Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL moved that the House go into Committee on the bill for the further improvement of grammar schools in Upper Canada.
At the request of Mr. STREET, the hon. mover of the bill have a number of explanations, after which the House went into Committee—Mr. CAMERON in the Chair.
The bill was reported from Committee with certain amendments, which were read a second time. The third reading of the bill was fixed for tomorrow.
VOLUNTEER AND MILITIA ACT.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER (in the absence of Hon. J. A. MACDONALD) moved the second reading of the bill to amend the Volunteer and Militia Acts.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON—The bill is not printed.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER—Yes it is.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON—It is not marked or printed, and I have not seen it.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER—If the hon. gentleman will only allow me, I shall explain in three minutes.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON—No, no, the bill is not printed. Moreover, it is time to go home.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER—It is merely to advance the bill a stage.
Hon. Mr HOLTON—I would sooner allow the hon. gentleman to take two stages to-morrow night.
The bill was then allowed to stand over.
REGISTRARS AND REGISTRY OFFICES (U. C.)
On motion of Hon. Mr. COCKBURN the House went into Committee of the Whole on the bill respecting Registrars and Registry Offices, and the Registration of Instruments relating to Lands in Upper Canada (and amendments)—Mr. McGIVERIN in the chair.
The Chairman reported the bill with several amendments, whigh were read a first and a second time. The bill was filed for a third reading tomorrow.
THE QUEBEC BILL.
Hon. Mr. ALLEYN and Hon. Mr. CAUCHON urged the advisability of taking up the Quebec Corporation Bill, but there was a decided disinclination to take up any more business at such an advanced hour of the morning, and the bill had, therefore, to stand over.
The House then, it being twenty minutes past three o’clock, a.m., adjourned.