Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (1 March 1864)

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Date: 1864-03-01
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 50-56.
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TUESDAY, March 1st, 1864.

Debate on the Address

The question was put on the third paragraph—the second having been carried immediately after Hon. Mr. Cartier’s speech on Monday night. The third was carried without discussion, and the question having been put by the Speaker on the fourth,

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said he did not rise with any desire to prolong the debate, but merely to get information and express his opinion respecting some of the measures foreshadowed in the reply to the Speech from the Throne. The first paragraph proposed thanks to His Excellency [Viscount Monck] for the assurance that he had taken steps for carrying into effect the acts passed last session for the organization of the Militia Force. Now, it was the general conviction, not only in this House, but throughout the country, that the Volunteer Force could not be sustained any longer unless Government were prepared to pay the men.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He did not think there was a single member on this or the other side of the House who would be prepared to say, after what had taken place in the country, that it was possible to attach any importance to the volunteers as a defensive force, to place any reliance on their efficiency so long as the me were left unpaid. Government was now spending between $500,000 and $600,000 a year on the Volunteer Force, the greater portion of which was [text illegible] bed by the Staff, for personal and contingent expenses, while the men, who had to do the work, and who were entitled to the reward, did not get one shilling.

The hon. Minister of Militia [John Sandfield Macdonald] was now, probably, in possession of the reports made by the various army officers appointed this winter to inspect the volunteers, and inform the Government with reference to their strength and efficiency. And he (Mr. Rose) would venture to say that every one of those reports would show that, although the men of the various organizations turned out most creditably, and that there had been great efforts made by both officers and men to appear to the best advantage, that this was an expiring effort; that they could do not more; that it was impossible for the officers longer to submit to the personal sacrifices required of them, to induce the men also to continue to make a sacrifice by remaining in the force, unless Government were prepared to pay them for their services.

Why had the Government not carried out their promises of last session in regard to this force? The truth was they had done more within the last two years to discourage the volunteers and implants in their minds a feeling of dissatisfaction than any other Government was ever accountable for, and it would take years to undo the harm effected and disabuse the minds of the men of the impression that the Government did not care for their services. On what principle had the Government introduced their militia measure? Last year their bill provided for the payment of the men of the Militia Force 50cts. for every day spent in drill; but this was refused to the Volunteers. Was it intended by this measure to get rid of the Volunteer Force altogether? On what ground did they ask one class of men to perform a certain service gratuitously, and pay others at the same time for a similar service?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—What he complained of was that everything done for the Volunteer Force was done grudgingly, Ministers acting under compulsion. He believed the enactment of a law providing for the payment of the volunteer would also be forced upon the Government this session. He would say that the Volunteer Force was practically at an end, as the reports of the inspecting officers would show, he ventured to predict. He did not know whether the Government intended to introduce any measure this session to remedy existing evils, but he had a notice on the papers, which would in time come up, when the House would be able to elicit whether the Government intended to exact from the volunteers, any longer, gratuitous services as at present, or, on the contrary, whether they intended putting them on the same footing as the militia? It was useless to say more on this matter till the papers were laid before the House. He thought it was the duty of the Government to place all the information with reference to the real condition of the volunteer force fairly before the country.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—It had been stated in England we had some 25 or 30,000 efficient volunteers; but though this was the force on paper, no doubt only a small portion of it could be brought out for inspection or duty. He hoped that even at the eleventh hour, the Government would do something to reorganize and place the force on a respectable and efficient footing

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—The Government promised in the Address in reply to the Speech, as follows: “That we shall give our earnest attention to any measures designed by the improvement of our existing system of inland water communication to attract to the channel of the St. Lawrence a larger share than we have hitherto enjoyed of the great and rapidly growing commerce of the Western States.” And “That we should be prepared to consider the expediency of providing for such improvements of the canals, constructed to obviate the natural impediments to the navigation of the Ottawa River, as His Excellency may see reason to believe will, without involving a heavy outlay, greatly accelerate the development of the extensive and valuable territory drained by the noble stream, and its tributaries.”

He took it for granted that the improvements of the inland system of water communicated referred to, meant the enlargement of the Welland Canal, the deepening of the St. Lawrence, and the enlargement of the canals on the Ottawa, from Montreal upwards. He would like the hon. Finance Minister [Luther Holton] would correct him if wrong.

(After a pause.)—Well, he presumed the statement contemplated nothing else. If it were intended to foreshadow those improvements, it were well the House should not overlook the fact that their carrying out would involve a very considerable addition to our public debt. He remembered reading, some years ago, a very able report by Mr. W. Shanly, with reference to the enlargement of the Welland Canal, in which the cost of the improvement was estimated at £2,00,000. Now such as improvement was impossible without entailing at least a very heavy expense. This would be a tolerably heavy debt to be incurred by a retrenchment government.

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Well, it would be folly to enlarge the Welland Canal, without also enlarging the locks at all. Here, then they had $11,000,000 to expend on those works alone. With regard to the Ottawa, he took it the intention of the Government was merely to enlarge the canal already constructed between Grenville and Ottawa. But if they would deepen or enlarge the canals above and below to admit a larger class of vessels, they must also deepen Lake St. Louis and Lake of Two Mountains, and construct a canal in the neighborhood of the Grenville Canal, or accomplish the object by damming up the river. The expense of these works was estimated at $2,800,000 more, which added to the other sums, made a total of $14,000,000 for the improvement foreshadowed in those two paragraphs of the Address. He hardly thought that the proposal, in reference to the construction of those works and enlargement of the others mentioned was at all compatible with the idea of the Government’s want of money, or aught but a heavy outlay.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance] was understood to say that if the hon. gentleman read the clause again, he would see that the words “without incurring a heavy outlay,” qualified what was stated about the contemplated improvements.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] continued. It was well known they could not improve the Ottawa, Grenville and Carlton Canals without cutting through a vast amount of solid rock, and the building of new locks, and that the object could better be attained by damming the river. In the event of the improvement of the Ottawa Canals, they must have new locks of larger size, and it would be necessary to deepen the channel of the Lake of Two Mountains. Mr. Shanly had estimated the cost of a ship canal, 10 feet deep, at $24,000,000, and one of 8 feet deep, at $16,000,000, or $12,000,000 for one of lesser depth. Mr. Clarke’s estimate was $12,000,000 for a navigation of 12 feet deep, exclusive of deepening the Lachine Canal and Lake St. Louis.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Mr. Clarke had found out a deeper channel than the old one in the Lake of Two Mountains.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said a circuitous channel, 8 feet deep had been discovered in this Lake, but even this would not suffice.

Joseph Currier [Ottawa], who was scarcely heard in the Reporter’s Gallery, was understood to state that the cost of obtaining a foot more water in the Grenville Canal, would only amount to $10,000. The improvement would be a great one, and could be effected at this trifling expense.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] would not oppose such an improvement though only a local one could it be effected for this sum. But this work was supposed to form only a part of the great scheme comprising the construction of the Ottawa and French River Canal. It appeared, also, that the deepening of the Chateauguay River Channel was also contemplated with those other improvements; but the hon. Finance Minister [Luther Holton] had omitted all mention of the matter.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Why had be forgotten to tell the House and in the public papers, on the ground that there was no guarantee, no certainty that the three millions proposed to be expended on the work would really suffice to finish it, and that there was no surely that it would be, when completed, self sustaining—that its working would not involve the Government in a heavy outlay. It had been stated that one of those objections had been to some extent got rid of. Here is a paragraph on the subject extracted by a St. John (N. B.) paper from the Canadian Ministerial organ, the Mercury:

“There are some reasons for believing that the Intercolonial Railroad question, as it now stands, is affected by propositions made in the interest of English capitalists. Experience has taught the Province too rough a lesson to allow 

  • (p. 51)

An implicit reliance upon overturn of this character, or to warrant a very strong expectation that the parties by whom they are made will be able to accomplish the work without greater sacrifices on the part of the Provinces than they may at the outset contemplate. But the suspicion born of experience should not lend to the absolute rejection of propositions in a large degree based upon private enterprise, nor to a refusal to re-open negotiations which circumstances invest with a totally different complexion from that which prevailed some months ago.”

This was, no doubt, the impression which our Government desired should go abroad, imputing to us conduct which he regretted we should ever be charged with. He thought there was some reason for the charges against Canada, and that our Government had not acted in an honest, straightforward manner in this matter. The paragraph in relation to this subject states –

“That while we regret to learn that unforeseen obstacles have retarded the survey of the route of the proposed railway between this Province and the sister colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we are glad to know that arrangements are now in progress which his excellency trusts will soon lead ot the execution of the preliminary work, the result of which will enable all parties to form a more satisfactory estimate than is possible at present, of the expense and practicability of the proposed undertaking.”

There were no unforeseen obstacles as far as he knew, and the House had not been informed of them as yet.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia]—Yes, yes.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] never heard of them. What were they?

Some. Hon. MembersOpposition cheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—The members of the House had not heard of those obstacles, and yet  they were called upon to affirm the fact. He (Mr. Rose) knew of no unforeseen or other obstacles, except those of the hon. Premier’s [John Sandfield Macdonald] own creation.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia]—The papers showed them last session.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said the papers showed the obstacles complained of were interposed by the Government which had tried to throw the odium of them, in a clever way, upon the Government of the Lower Provinces. What did the paragraph mean? Was the Government pledged with those of the Lower Provinces, to go on and build the road, or was there merely to be a survey? Money for a survey was voted last session, and a gentleman was named as about to undertake the survey on the part of Canada, and now we were told nothing had been done owing to “unforeseen difficulties.” Why did not the Government give us information on this matter, or tell us whether the Intercolonial Railroad negotiations had undergone any new phase? With regard to the Ottawa Ship Canal, he thought a project so important ought to meet the prompt and serious attention of the House. This canal would do more to aid our defence against an enemy than any work which we could possibly construct, and would ensure to us the command of Lake Michigan, besides other valuable military advantages. He believed, from statistics already before the House, that if this Canal were constructed, a fair revenue would be derived therefrom.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—Without tolls.

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Not without tolls. He thought when the discussion on the subject of the Canal tolls came up, it would be found the hon. gentleman had taken the wrong course in re—imposing the present Canal tolls. The Hon. Mr. Rose, in humorous terms, which excited considerable merriment, congratulated the hon. Finance Minister [Luther Holton], and the rest of the Government, on the pleasure expressed in the reply at the progress of the Ottawa of the Seat of Government. If there were three members in the House who ought to feel pleased on this matter, they were the hon. Finance Minister [Luther Holton] and the hon. Attorney-Generals East [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] and West [John Sandfield Macdonald].

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—When the fate of Ottawa was trembling in the balance, those gentlemen boldly stood up for Ottawa’s rights.

Some. Hon. MembersRenewed laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He remembered when those hon. gentlemen abused and denounced him and the hon. member for Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier] in the streets of that city, for treachery in having sacrificed the interests of their constituents in voting that the Queen’s decision in regard to Ottawa should be carried out.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—The hon. gentleman—especially the hon. Minister of Finance [Luther Holton]—had condemned him (Mr. Rose) for not having resigned his seat in the Cartier-Macdonald government, as hon. Mr. Sicotte did when they made the question as to Ottawa being the Seat of Government, not an open question, but a Government one.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He only hoped that the Government would allow him (Mr. Rose) and the other members of the Opposition to share their feelings of profound pleasure at the above agreeable consummation, although the latter had not been at all instrumental in bringing about this happy result.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] then referred to the promise, in the reply, of instituting a more efficient investigation into the cause of shipwrecks occurring on or near the sea coasts of the Province. He did think, considering the numerous misfortunes that had befallen our line of steamers, that the Government should have, last Spring, instituted a thorough investigation of the causes of these sad calamities—as to whether the vessels were properly manned and equipped, and provided with all the requirements for the safe navigation of our coasts and river.

He sincerely hoped that a most careful investigation into all the circumstances connected with the loss of the several Provincial steamers, including the destruction of so much life, would be promptly instituted. In conclusion he would ask the Government whether they really believed they could carry on the work of legislation this session. Whether they could possibly, with any regard to their feelings as ministers and gentlemen, with any regard to the feelings of this House, continue to carry on the Government, while not possessing a majority in this House. The hon. gentlemen knew they did not possess the confidence of this House.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—No, no.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said every member of the House knew the position occupied by the hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches. He believed it was felt by all who wished for something more than mere party ascendancy, or personal advantage, that it was impossible to receive at the hands of those now on the Treasury benches any useful legislation.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

A Ministerial Member—Why don’t you come over and strengthen the Government?

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—Yes, why don’t you come over?

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] had no desire to keep this Government longer in power.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—That is the way to strengthen the Government

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said he believed that every man who wished for the good for the country must desire the present state of things should cease. He was convinced it was impossible, while the present Government existed, to have useful and necessary measures passed, and that to do so a strong Government was needed. And such was also necessary in order to deal with matters of taxation. No one knew better than the hon. Finance Minister [Luther Holton], that the ablest financier that every proposed a bill for increased taxation, could not carry it in such circumstances as this Government was placed in. The first thing to be done in the way of improvement was to get rid of the existing Government, who were not consulting either their own dignity, or the interest and dignity of the country in resorting to such measures as had been condemned in this House, to maintain themselves in power.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He did not wish to say a work about the disgraceful disclosures in reference to our Ministers, or to any of our public men, but them members of the Administration ought to be honorable and candid enough, when they found they did not command a majority of this House, to send in the resignation.

Some. Hon. MembersLoud cheers.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] made some remarks in reply about the payment of the Volunteers. It was the intention of the Government to fulfil its pledge, and so he had felt authorized to make a statement to the House last session, that the Government would take up the matter, and it was not therefore absolutely necessary to go into details in the Speech. He would be prepared, however, to go into details when the reports of the inspecting officers were laid before the House; when the whole subject could be considered in a proper shape, and it would then be seen that the Government were not afraid to do their duty, and would do their duty.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia]—He (Mr. J. S. Macdonald) failed to see why hon. gentlemen opposite should take to themselves particular credit for their loyalty and patriotism with regard to the Militia question.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia]—The Government were quite as willing to do their duty in this respect as hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House. The hon. gentleman (Mr. J. S. Macdonald then went on to charge the hon. member for Montreal Centre [John Rose] with having made political capital—with having, in fact, made his election on this subject of the Volunteer Militia.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I deny it.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] was understood to say that perhaps the hon. gentleman was not aware of the effect of his speeches; but that was their effect.

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said he really could not allow this to pass. Why, the Government themselves had, last session, congratulated the country generally upon the zeal and unanimity [text illegible] by all with regard to the question of the organization of a [text illegible] force. The hon. gentleman himself (Mr. J. S. Macdonald) had actually thanked him (Mr. Rose) for the assistance he had given him, is discussing and maturing his measure

Some. Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

John Simpson [Niagara] said—The success of our canal policy depends so entirely upon a successful commercial policy, that the two subjects cannot be separated. The first, duty, it seems to me, is to create trade, and then to furnish the facilities for carrying it on. Before venturing upon the twenty millions expenditure involved in the difference schemes contemplated by the Government, the question has to be settled, will they pay the interest on the money? And when the Finance Minister [Luther Holton] broaches his Welland Canal policy, I think I shall be able to show him that the true course is to construct the cut from Thorold to Niagara. In the estimation of the great bulk of the people of Canada, the Reciprocity Treaty and the commercial consideration therewith connected, constitute the great public topic of the day; and the anxiety with which the action of Parliament thereupon is awaited is very intense. And this is quite natural?

For, under the operation of the Reciprocity Treaty, the intercourse between Canada and the United States has been very largely extended; comprehensive and profitable business channels have been opened up; very important interests have been created,—the whole resulting in the establishment of business transactions, that aggregate of which, in the year 1862, amounted to the large sum of forty-two millions of dollars. The abolition of the treaty may disturb that intercouse—may choke up these business channels—may destroy these interests—may reduce that trade to nothingness, and yet, with such grave consequences threatening us, all the information which the Government has vouchsafed to submit to the country, is the following sentence from the Governor-General’s [Viscount Monck] opening speech:—

“I have not failed to give my best attention to the subject of this treaty, and of the great interests affected by it.”

These words indicate nothing, prove nothing, promise nothing, and we are left to discuss a subject of vital importance to the country without the benefit of the light which official information could shed upon it. A strenuous effort is now being made in the United States for the abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty. The cry has been heard from Portland to Chicago, and it has been echoed and re-echoed in quarters where one would have thought the benefits resulting from the treaty would have rendered it an especial favorite.

As far as I have observed, the reasons advanced in favor of their views by the adversaries of the treaty are three in number. In the first place, they say, Canada sympathies with the insurgent South, and, therefore, the Treaty should be ended. With regard to this point, I will at once admit that the hearts of many people in Canada have been stirred to their depths by the recital of the sufferings endured by many southern families now resident amongst us, but I think that most Canadians believe with me that at the commencement of the quarrel both South and North were in the wrong, and that the timely manifestation by their leaders of a little of the Christian charity which beareth all things and hopeth all things, would have prevented that terrible waste of life and treasure, which is a disgrace to the civilization and intelligence of the nineteenth century.

Be that as it may, the manifestations of active sympathy in Canada have been altogether in favor of the Northern States. Our young men have gone over to help them in thousands; many have joined their armies and many have engaged in the occupations of civil life, thus filling up the places left vacant by combatants. Canadians vessels have been purchased and used in the marine service of the North. And the Canadian Government apprised the northern authorities of some plan which is said to have been formed in the Province for committing acts of aggression on the territories of the Northern States. These facts show that all the talk about Canadian sympathy for the South is mere tittle-tattle.

In the second place, they say Canada reaps the greatest share of benefit from the Treaty, and therefore it ought to be discontinued. This ground is also untenable, because it is not founded on facts. In 1862, our imports of free and dutiable goods from the United States exceeded twenty-five millions, while our exports to the United States in the same year fell a little short of seventeen millions; in 1861, the imports were twenty-one millions, the exports sixteen millions, the exports twenty millions; and in 1859, the imports were seventeen millions, the exports fifteen millions. These figures show that in only one of the four years that I have quoted was the balance

  • (p. 52)

of trade in favor of Canada, while taking the whole four years together, the balance of trade against Canada amounted to no less than twelve millions of dollars. Judging, then, simply by imports and exports, the United States derive greater advantages from the Treaty than Canada derives, leaving us without any necessity to swell the account by reference to the Fisheries and other special benefits conferred upon them by it.

Thirdly, they say, our immense war expenditure renders it necessary for us to impose taxes upon all articles brought into our country. Now looking at commercial system of the republic, and then at the political organization by which that system is now legislated for, I think it not at all unlikely that the reason just adverted to will prevail, and that the President will be required to give notice of the termination of the Treaty.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Simpson [Niagara]—The only hope I can entertain of a different result is founded upon considerations flowing from the musterly position now occupied by Canada in reference to the trade of a larged portion of this continent. Countries bordering on each other can only legislate safely on commercial subjects by keeping in view the condition and circumstances and system of each other. A few years ago, many Canadian politicians were strongly in favor of protection to domestic manufacturers, as against the manufacturers of the republic.

The hon. member for Sherbrooke [Alexander Galt] always discountenanced the idea of a protective policy, and would impose no duties for any other than revenue purposes. But it so happened that the revenue required heavy duties, while the protection sought for was small, and the two ideas harmonising in and result, it was not worth while disputing about terms. Since that time the circumstances of the United States have changed most materially, and the immense war expenditure already incurred and still rapidly increasing render necessary, and guarantee for many years the continuance of, an amount of taxation which will operate on their cost of production as the full equivalent of any protective duty which Canadian manufacturers can reasonably ask for. And thus Canada is relieved from any necessity for adhering to a protective policy.

Now, let us look at one or two points in our own commercial system. The main source of the public revenue of Canada is the duty imposed upon imports. Now, without at all undervaluing the advantages claimed for the indirect, or, as some argue, the voluntary manner of which this revenue is paid, it cannot be denied that the system is much more costly to the people of Canada than would prove another system to which we may be compelled to resort. The duties collected amount in round numbers to five millions of dollars, and the cost of collection is about 8 per cent.

Now, I think it quite possible to devise a mode of raising revenue, the cost of collecting which would not exceed two per cent. But this is a very small portion of the relief a change of system would give to the public at large. The mercantile interest would turn the five millions of capital they have now to supply annually for the service of the customers would be relieved from the profit which importers and retail dealers necessarily have to make out of the capital employed in the payment of duties.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cheers.

John Simpson [Niagara]—When William Pitt was in the prime of his intellect, and at a time when that great intellect was cleared and balanced by parliamentary and official experience, he made up his mind that the true commercial policy for England was to abolish duties on imports, and to depend for revenue upon domestic sources only. The great and costly wars in which the country became involved prevented Pitt from consummating his design. But English statesmen, during the last quarter of a century, have been slowly endeavoring to carry out that great idea, and we have witnessed the effects of this policy in the might stimulus which has been given to industrial enterprises, resulting in a marvellous increase to the commerce of the country, produced on the one hand by diminution of the cost of commodities, and on the other by the setting free of the vast amount of capital which was previously required for the service of the customs. It was to this policy, under Providence, that England was indebted for the comparative ease with which the ship of state was steered through the cotton crisis. Now, what will be the effect upon the United States and Canada if we are compelled by the abolition of the Reciprocity Treaty to change our policy, and to adopt and act upon Mr. Pitt’s design?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Simpson [Niagara]—Let me remind the house of the condition of things in Upper Canada thirty years ago. At that time the populated in about the same proportion. Then the wages of members of Parliament and the local expenses of the administration of justice were paid by direct taxation, and another direct tax of about one per cent, if I remember rightly, was imposed for defraying Provincial expenditures. British manufacturers were then imported at a duty of two and a half per cent., and the consequence was that every frontier town and village from Cornwall to Windsor was full of merchants’ stores, heavily stocked with British goods, the purchasers and consumers of the great bulk of which were American citizens. It was a point of honor with them to make their purchases in the cheapest markets to which they had access.

With the advance of our tariff from two and a half to twenty per cent., that extensive and profitable trade has altogether disappeared. But if our policy is reversed, if our ports are thrown open to the free commerce of the world, Canada will become the great store-house of North America, and we may hope to see plenty of occupation for canals, railroads and all other industrial enterprises. These considerations may deter the statesmen of the union from abrogating the Reciprocity Treaty; if not, the course into which Canada will inevitably be driven may eventuate greatly to its own advantage.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Simpson [Niagara]—The fourth and fifth paragraphs of the Address were then carried. On the question being put on the sixth—

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke] said that the House was certainly entitled to have something clear and definite—not of course, going into minor details—but something of a nature to inform the House as to the responsibility they were assuming in adopting this paragraph of the Address? What he (Mr. Galt) wished to know, and what in his opinion the House was entitled to know, was whether in introducing this paragraph, they intended to take up the intercolonial Railway project itself, or whether it was only meant as a reference to the survey?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke]—It should be borne in mind that the whole question stood in a different aspect now, from that in which it stood a year ago. The presence of the Hon. Attorney General East [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] in the cabinet, after his resignation on the Intercolonial Railway question in 1862, was a matter which entitle the House and the country to an explanation. What he wished to ask simply this—whether the paragraph went beyond a survey or not?

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] was understood to reply in the negative. The Government did not intend to adopt any final measure prior to the survey. We should first know the most practicable route, and be able to form some idea of the cost, and consequently of the ability of the Government to undertake it.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia]—The survey was a necessary preliminary, and by passing this paragraph of the Address, the House would not be pledged to anything beyond it. When the survey was completed the Government would be prepared to assume the responsibility of any further action that might be necessary under the circumstances.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia]—The hon. gentleman then went on to explain that his colleague the hon. Attorney General East (Mr. Dorion) did not retire from the Cabinet because he was adverse to the project itself, but became he was adverse to an unlimited, indefinite expenditure. When the survey was completed and proper estimates were before, them, the Government would then be in a position to state what they were prepared to do.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke] said that if he understood rightly the present course of the Government on this subject, it was to the effect, firstly, that the survey was to be made at the sole cost and responsibility of the Canadian Government; and secondly, that the Government were pledged to nothing beyond the survey—that in fact matters were, so far, in the same positions as at the end of last session.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] (who was not distinctly heard in the Reporter’s Gallery) was understood to assent to this statement, and to say that any negotiation which should take place would be on a new basis.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke] repeated what he understood to be the position of the Government. The Government would proceed with the survey on their own account, reserving to themselves, afterwards the right of saying what they would do. Was this the policy?

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] assented.

In reply to John Rose [Montreal Centre]

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] referred to the fact that some private offer was made of forming a company in England to carry on the Road. At least it was understood there would be no difficulty in forming a company.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke] asked what was the position of New Brunswick now? Had any communication passed between the Canadian Government and the Government of New Brunswick since last session?

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] began by making some remarks about charges of bad faith made on the part of New Brunswick, and said there was one communication to the effect that the Government of Canada was about to proceed with the survey on their own responsibility, unless indeed the Government of the other colonies chose to assume any share of the responsibility afterwards.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke] said he regretted extremely to understand that relations were in such a state between the Government of this Province and that of New Brunswick. Under these circumstances, it was really very hard to ask the House to pass this paragraph. A misunderstanding with New Brunswick was the more to be regretted when taken in connexion with the movement in that Province in favor of the railway in the direction of Maine.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance] said that that scheme had been talked about, off and on, for the last ten years, and yet nothing had been done.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke] said that, on the contrary, the scheme was being more earnestly agitated. He (Mr. Galt) had hoped it would be shown that New Brunswick would be ready to act with us. He had hoped there would be some joint understanding; but it appeared that not only was the basis of 1862 abandoned, but no new basis had been adopted.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] regarded as very unfortunate all this equivalence and misunderstanding about the Intercolonial Railway. For his part he (Mr. Dunkin) had not the slightest desire to go back to the basis of 1862, inasmuch as he thought it was a most improvident one. The whole question had recently changed. Our own position was different from what it had been. The position of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were also different. We could not go back to the basis of 1862, neither could we go back to the anterior basis—therefore, we could do was to ascertain the means and the cost, and—this done—take up the subject and consider it.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Joseph Cauchon [Montmorency] said hon. members of this House could not be asked to offer opinions, inasmuch as, under the circumstances, they could not give opinions. What they wanted was information. How did the other Provinces stand with regard to us? We were without any clear or definite knowledge on this point. We did not know what they proposed to do, or what they were willing to do. The Government gave no information, but gave promises of a vague and indefinite nature. In fact we had nothing but promises—vox et preterea nihil.—The hon. gentleman concluded by denouncing in eloquent terms the vacillating policy of the Government on this question.

Thomas Parker [Wellington North] did not think hon. gentlemen opposite consistent in urging the construction of the road in the present state of the finances of the country. He was opposed to its construction, as he did not believe it would meet the expectations of its advocates, either as a commercial road or military road.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] had two great objections to the former basis, and they were—that the province was committed to an indefinite expense in the construction of the road, and that no guarantee had been obtained for the working of the road. He spoke of a communication which referred to a company formed in England to construct the road.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] complained that the survey was not begun and finished long ago,

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East] said he left the government in 1862, not because he was opposed to the construction of the railroad, but because some of the terms proposed were not in accordance with his views. Public opinion justified the course he then took, and said that the basis of 1862 had been abandoned. The government were not now acting on the basis of 1862; for that convention did not provide that a preliminary survey should be made to ascertain the cost of the work. When Mr. Tilley arrived in New Brunswick, he (Hon. Mr. D.) did not know whether he had misunderstood the delegates here, but at any rate this government was notified that the government of New Brunswick did not desire a survey except on the basis of 1862. Finding that New Brunswick did not go on with the survey, except that the government of Canada pledged itself to the basis of 1862, this government had notified the other that it was willing to pay the cost of the survey to ascertain the cost of the road, and if its construction were feasible.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—The hon. member for Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier] would have the government pledge itself to a scheme which might cost ten, twenty or thirty millions of dollars, without securing the requisite knowledge beforehand. This was a course the country would not sanction.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—After the survey, if the route was seen to be advantageous, and the cost moderate, Canada would probably

  • (p. 53)

pay her share of the road. The Government had no doubt but that Nova Scotia would pay a portion of the survey. She did not dissent from the arrangements of last May. The Government of Canada went into the survey of the road in good faith; they wanted to ascertain the probable cost, or whether by the joint action of the three governments, the road could be constructed. If the road was given to a company, it was necessary to know everything, in order not to give too many privileges or too much money per mile.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Too much importance had been attached to the subject of the correspondence. No doubt, the communication were important from the connections of the parties making them, and from their knowledge of railway business; but before this, or any other company were employed to make the road, the Canadian Government wanted to have the survey, in order to acquire the fullest information.

Joseph Cauchon [Montmorency] inquired if the Government, in making the road to New Brunswick, would constructed it on the basis of 1862.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East] replied that it was extremely improbable that the people of Canada would do anything of the kind. He was of opinion that the survey would show that it was not in the power of the three governments to make a railway from here to Nova Scotia.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—How long will the survey last?

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East] replied that as soon as the elections were over, last summer, the Government entered into communications with the Lower Provinces to have the survey made. The surveyor elected was Mr. Fleming, who was acceptable, not only to the Governments of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but also to the Imperial Government. He would finish as soon as possible, but of course, he (Mr. Dorion) could not tell when that would be. At the present time, parties were making preparations to enter upon the survey at once. As to the time of the survey, six or nine months might be sufficient.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—What route is to be taken—the Central Route or that by the St. John? or St. Lawrence?

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East] said the St. Lawrence route was impracticable, and was objected to in England. Mr. Fleming would report the most practicable route. The Government entered upon the survey in good faith, and with a desire to satisfy the Province. It was no usual on such occasion as those to enter into such details, and he thought the Government had given as much information on this point as the hon. gentleman opposite had a right to expect.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East]—In winter it took a long time for the transmission of communication between the Lower Provinces and Canada, and the Government, rather than lose another session, determined to pay the whole cost rather than have no survey.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome]—Are the Lower Provinces invited to join?

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East]—Certainly.

Joseph Dufresne [Montcalm]—I understand that the Hon. Attorney General East [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] says he is a little more in favor of this railroad now than he was before.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East]—I don’t wish to be misunderstood. My position now is exactly that of 1862—I wanted a preliminary survey. There are reasons now which make the road more desirable than before.

Joseph Dufresne [Montcalm] proceeded to attack the Ministry concerning the Intercolonial Railroad, asserting that they were not in favor of it.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East]—We thought that the delegates had agreed on the survey; but when the representative of New Brunswick returned, that Province said it could not agree to the survey except on the basis of 1862. Hear, hear. This was the reply that Mr. Tilley returned to the Government, and there the matter rests.

Joseph Dufresne [Montcalm]—What did the delegates come here for?

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East]—The survey. I will explain the whole matter more fully later in the debate.

Joseph Dufresne [Montcalm] was proceeding in the same strain as before, on the subject of the Intercolonial Railway, when the House rose at six o’clock.

After the recess.

Joseph Dufresne [Montcalm] repeated in French, the remarks he had previously made in English.

In reply to George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East]

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] said that a communication had passed between the Governments of Canada and New Brunswick, informing the latter that it was the intention of the Canadian Government to go on with the survey.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East] went on to say that the Government wished the House and the country to congratulate them on this intended survey on behalf of Canada, of a railway, some three hundred miles of which were to pass through foreign territories.


In reply to some observation—


John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] said that the other Provinces had not been invited to join the survey.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East] said he regretted he did not know last night the absurd—he might say degraded position which the present Government occupied, and to which they had reduced the country in the eyes of the sister Provinces. As far as the share of Canada in the proposed railroad was concerned to the extent to be built by this Province, within our own Parliamentary jurisdiction, was but small; but the sister Provinces insisted on something more, as we had to pass through their territories. Well, what course had been pursued towards them? Why, they had not even been notified of the survey.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia]—Yes, we have notified them.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East] went on to say that the survey most decidedly could not be proceeded with through the territories of new Brunswick or Nova Scotia, unless we had the consent of [text missing]

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance] said it appeared to him that the hon. member for Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier] was the last hon. gentlemen in the House that ought to talk of the degradation of Canada, because if there was one hon. gentleman more than another who had contributed more to the degradation of the Legislature since the opening of the session, it was the hon. gentleman himself.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—The hon. gentleman claimed possession of the floor in defiance of the rules of the house, and made a buffoon of himself, more to the sorrow of both sides of the House, than to its amusement, during the whole week past.

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter and Opposition groans.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—On Thursday last he occupied the whole of the afternoon sitting and in the evening he claimed the right to speak a second time to the motion before the House. Yesterday (Monday) he again took possession of the floor, and retained it the whole day, and until an early hour that morning; and the substance of that long speech, if such it could be called, was a mere re-hash of worthless trash, a great part of which had appeared in the newspaper reports of the last ten or fifteen years; and this was mixed up and spiced with unmeasured abuse of his opponents, and especially of his (Hon. Mr. Holton’s) hon. friend and leader, (Hon. Mr. Dorion) who was, as he had said last session, as much superior to him as a lawyer as in all the attributes of a gentleman

Some. Hon. MembersApplause.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—And he (Hon. Mr. Cartier) was the hon. gentleman who had the temerity to get up in the House and talk of other hon. gentlemen contributing to the degradation of the House and of the country. He wished to make a statement respecting what had fallen from his hon. friend and leader before the recess. That statement, he thought, was well understood on both sides of the House. The hon. member for Brome (Mr. Dunkin) understood it, as was shown by his remarks in reference to it, and the hon. member for Sherbrooke [Alexander Galt] understood it.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke]—I understood the explanation fully, but I do not wish it to be understood that I was satisfied with it.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance] replied that, at all events, it was well understood, from what his hon. friend had said, that the convention of November 1862 was not binding upon the House or the government to-day. The complaint made during the last session, and which the member for Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier] revived last night, was that the present government had been guilty of a breach of faith, because they refused to consider themselves bound by the convention of 1862. It was stated by himself and some of his colleagues, last session, that the delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were fully informed that the agreement of the convention of 1862—that Canada should bear five-twelfths of the cost—was at an end. That was very fully and distinctly stated to the delegates at the subsequent meeting, and that the survey should proceed entirely irrespective of the basis of that convention.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—That was, he repeated, stated to those honorable gentlemen, and they had never pretended even that they misunderstood it. It was not because that basis was no longer in force that they objected to proceeding with the survey at the time of the subsequent conference. Hon. Mr. Tupper, on behalf on Nova Scotia, consented at once to proceed with the survey in co-operation with Canada; and Hon. Mr. Tilley raised no objections to the abolition of the basis of 1862, but preferred not to take action until he should consult his colleagues in the government. The reply of his government was that they could not consent to bear any portion of the expense of the survey unless the basis of 1862 was adhered to. But it was [text illegible] by Mr. Tilley, or by his government, that fair notice had not been given of the repudiation of that basis. The hon. gentleman had held that those gentlemen were not told that the convention was at an end, and that deception was being used by the Canadian government. But on the contrary, the delegates had been fully informed, and this House had been distinctly informed of that fact last session.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay, Minister of Finance]—He (Hon. Mr. Holton) claimed to be a friend of the Intercolonial Railway, but he considered that the convention of 1862 was premature, and when the Government was remodelled, it was considered to be on the basis of the resignation of his hon. friend and colleagues, the present Attorney General East. This change was clearly explained to the delegates, so clearly that they could not have misunderstood it, so clearly that even Hon. Mr. Tilley would not say that he had any doubt whatever as to the position of this Administration on the subject. The Government fully expected that both the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick would acquiesce in the survey.

The unforeseen obstacles alluded to in the Speech were the unreasonable objections raised by the Government of New Brunswick to the survey being proceeded with, unless the Government of Canada would consider itself bound by the convention of 1862. The consequence of this intimation was that the survey was not proceeded with, notwithstanding that the Government had had every reason to believe that the Governments of the Lower Provinces would acquiesce in the appointment of Mr. Fleming; and proceeding on that understanding, the Imperial Government had acquiesced in the appointment of a gentleman of so high a standing as Mr. Sandford Fleming was acknowledged to be, and the Imperial authorities had appointed him as their engineer also. Then came the difficulty with New Brunswick, and this Government had failed in its efforts to bring the Government of that Province to a reasonable agreement in reference to the survey. They had represented to that Government that if any progress whatever was to be made, no time was to be lost in making the survey, and that they (the Canadian Government) were ready to ask their own legislature to bear the whole expense in the event of the refusal of the Lower Provinces to become parties to it.

The Government of New Brunswick, however, has not peremptorily declined to join in the survey. Of course they (the Canadian Government) would not survey the territory of New Brunswick unless they concurred in the survey. Of course they were not going to invade the territory of the Lower Provinces, as the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Cartier) had endeavored to make it appear they were about to do. Nothing but the most extreme partisan feelings could have induced that hon. Gentleman to take such a view of the case, or to have set himself up as the representative of the outraged honor of another Province, instead of that of his own. The road would have to be surveyed, and would have to be constructed not only with the concurrence of the three Provinces, but also with the assistance and concurrence of the Imperial Government

Some. Hon. MembersApplause.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East] congratulated the hon. Finance Minister [Luther Holton] on the very flattering appreciation he had formed of him (Mr. Cartier.) He could tell that hon. gentleman that he was admirably suited to enact the part of the “Bombastes Furioso” of his party. The hon. gentleman then took up the merits of the question, and said that, although notification had been given to the sister-Provinces, no answer as to their intention had been received from them.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] said there was a notification of the intention to proceed with the survey; but there was no invitation.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East] said it just amounted to this, then—that the Government were going to send a surveyor to go through the territories of the Lower Provinces without knowing whether permissions would be given them. What a humiliating position were we thus placed in? Doubtless, there would be an estimate for the cost of this survey. It would be all right with regard to the portion which was intended to be applied to the survey within our own jurisdiction; but, as for that portion outside our own jurisdiction, and in territories not our own, how absurd it was?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cheers.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East]—We had been very clearly told that there as a difficulty with the sister-Province of New Brunswick; but now our Government were going to carry on a survey through New Brunswick territory without knowing if it would be permitted.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East]—Did hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches suppose that there were no owners of the soil in New Brunswick, and that simply because Mr. Fleming and suite were going to be sent by the Canadian Government

  • (p. 54)

they would be permitted to proceed. If the surveying party were told, at the New Brunswick frontier, that they could not go further, would it not be a most degrading thing for the Government and for the Province. And even if our surveyors were allowed to go on, our position would not be improved, inasmuch as the survey would not bind Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. Really this attempt on the part of the hon. gentlemen opposite, to claim merit for their pretended willingness to consider the question was like every other item of their policy—a mere sham, a mere humbug.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] said he could not allow the occasion to pass without offering some observations, not only on the Address but also on those general subjects of public interest which deserved to be noticed. With regard to the position he occupied, he would also proceed to offer such reasons as seemed to him sufficient to justify the occupancy of that position. So far as the principles he had ever professed were concerned, and so far as his advocacy and adherence to them was concerned, he (Mr. Foley) was still in the position in which he had ever been.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—He would proceed now to advert to the Address, and as a considerable amount of time had already been taken up in discussing it, he would merely take up those paragraphs cursorily to which he more particularly desired to advert. He would say that, in the first place, there was this to be charged against the Government—that they had departed from the rule they always advocated about calling together the House at as early a date as possible. Last year, the Government of the day had apologised for the date at which the Legislature had met—the delay being caused by the absence of two of their member on public business in England. But this year the House met a week later, and no apology, no explanation could be offered. In this respect there was just cause of complaint against hon. gentlemen on the Treasury Benches, more particularly as they had so often made this the ground-work of attacks upon previous Governments.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—With regard to the Intercolonial Railway, there was also cause for attacking the policy of the Government. And he would here remark that it was not merely on matters of detail, connected with this project, that the hon. Attorney General East [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] had retired from the Government—it was because he professed to think that, in itself, it was no requisite nor did it come within our limits. Nor was this all, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Dorion) even went further, and opposed it not only on the ground that it would be unproductive, but that it would always require a large sum of money to keep it working, and that it would prove burdensome to the country,

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East]—No.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] said he would leave the hon. gentleman’s letter explaining the reason of his retirement—as well as the statements of his own newspaper organs in Montreal, and the organs of the party throughout the country—to be the test.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East] said he had no objection to the test of the letter.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] said he supposed the hon. gentleman would not object to the authority of the newspaper organs of his party also. His objection to the scheme was its uselessness and expensiveness—and he (Mr. Foley) might add, its unpopularity.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—Now, however, the hon. Attorney-General East [Antoine-Aimé Dorionwas prepared to assent to an absurd proposition. The basis of 1862 was a joint undertaking; but the course now propounded was vague in the extreme—the other Provinces were not going to take part, and we were without knowledge as to the expense. The Government were thus pledged to an unlimited expenditure for the survey; and even at the completion of the survey it would be useless without the asse] nt of the Governments of the other Provinces. If we could not obtain this before, what guarantee had we that we could get it afterwards. If we were actually on terms of non intercourse as to so important a question, how could we expect to get on a future period. The proposal to expend a sum of money for a survey under such circumstance was not only a waste of time and money, but an absolute mockery,

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—When the estimates came down, if they contained an appropriation for this purpose, he (Mr. Foley) would certainly vote against it. The next paragraph to which he would refer was one which proposed the improvement of our canals. Now, under ordinary circumstances, improvements of this kind were not entered upon by a Government, unless there were some previous pressing demand from parties concerned.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—Where is the evidence of popular favor or approbation in this instance? Were there any petitions? Had any public meetings been held, or were there any other manifestations of public opinions? Look at the condition of so many of our municipalities with the sheriff’s warrant hanging over them. Would it be palatable to them that additional burthens should be imposed upon them?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—No, before these undertakings were attempted, it would be much more fitting for the Government to endeavor to carry out the policy under which they had assumed office. Let them follow up their retrenchment policy; and he might here, remark by the way, that they had taken credit to themselves for the work which had been done by those whom they had unduly supplanted. He submitted that there was no evidence to shew us that, since May last, even then thousand dollars had been saved in any Government department. If there were any such instance let them shew it at once. But until they proved that they had proceeded farther in the path of retrenchment it did not become them to propose improvements which were not called for by the country, and which were inexpedient in our present circumstance.

The next paragraph referred to the territories of the North West, but what was proposed? Not certainly what was asked for by hon. members on the Treasury Benches when they were in Opposition. What was insisted upon then was the assertion of our Sovereignty over these vast regions. He (Mr. Foley) was in opposition to the then Government, but he would say that the policy of the Government on this question was vastly superior to the policy of the present Government. It was not, however, satisfactory to the hon. gentlemen now on the Ministerial benches, because they did not consider that it went far enough, and the present Postmaster General moved an amendment to the resolution which embodied that policy.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—But now that they were in power, it seemed that what they wanted was merely a “definition of our boundaries.” This was going back even on the policy of twelve months ago which was in favor of an annual sum to make improvements in that direction. If the Government could undertake an Intercolonial Railway survey, why could they not undertake one in regard to the western country? He had no doubt that the announcement of the progress, almost to completion, of the Ottawa buildings, justifying His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] intimation of the early removal thither of the Seat of Government would give general satisfaction. But the hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches had long opposed this policy when advocated by hon. gentlemen on the Opposition benches.

He was glad that Ministers had been converted to the views of the Opposition on this matter, which they had formerly bitterly opposed. But what did they now see? Why, the hon. Premier, who had, last session, denounced the hon. member for Russell [Robert Bell] as the Grand Trunk Railway advocate, and so forth, had gone and offered that hon. gentleman the vacant seat in the Cabinet. And the only deduction from this fact was that since the hon. member for Russell [Robert Bell] had not changed his views, that Ministers had changed their opinions suit the feelings of that hon. gentleman

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—Again the conduct of hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches appeared more disgraceful when it was remembered that the hon. member for Russell [Robert Bell] always voted against Representation by Population, which many of them had so long been the ardent advocated. He could only say that, under all circumstances, he must support any Government—no matter of what political opinion—in its policy of removing the Seat of Government to Ottawa. This was the first and most imperative duty of the Government of Canada. With respect to the ocean steam service, Hon. Mr. Foley contended that no credit was due to Ministers for the contract effected with the Messrs. Allan for this work. The matter was, in reality, settled before the present hon. Finance Minister [Luther Holton] came into office. The only saving effected in the contract price was £5,400, because the Messrs. Allan always offered to do the work for £60,000.

He (Mr. F.) believed the contract might have been made on terms more advantageous to the Province—that the Company would have accepted the contract at £50,000. Now, the Government had promised legislation on various subjects, which, owing to their present doubtful position, as regards a majority occasionally, but there was no doubt they did not possess a working majority. In fact they occupied the position of a Ministry clinging to office against the wishes of the majority of the people of Lower Canada, and without a very large following from Upper Canada.

The people of each section had a right to the management of their own legislative and local affairs. No party had more strenuously denounced the ruling of one Province by a majority from another, than the present Ministerial party. If it was wrong to rule Upper Canada by a Lower Canada majority, it was surely unjustifiable in those who denounced this system to rule Lower Canada by an Upper Canada majority. The hon. Premier [John Sandfield Macdonald] had himself proposed a resolution in 1857, condemning the Ministry of that day for not possessing the confidence of the Upper Province. Hon. Mr. Dorion’s amendment to that motion set forth that the retention of office by the Government while not possessing a majority from and the confidence of both sections created dissatisfaction in the Province

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—We found int he record of this House a motion in amendment, proposed when the present Ministerial party was in opposition, moved by Hon. J.S. Macdonald and seconded by Hon. Mr. McDougall, calling upon His Excellency [Viscount Monck] to make no appointments to the bench of Upper Canada till he should be advised by an Administration faithfully representing the interests and sentiments of both section of the country. And now with what propriety could Ministers go on to make judicial and other appointments, while it was manifest they did not enjoy the confidence of this House or of Lower Canada. He always had and always would advocate these principles, allowing each section of the Province to administer its own local affairs. This, he was convinced, should be the policy of every Government.

They all remember the strong stand taken by the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] in regard to the ultra claims of the people of Upper Canada. We found the hon. gentleman insisting, last October, in this House, that the present state of things as regards the Government’s not possessing the of Lower Canada, should not continue. He, no doubt, still approved of the principle of allowing each section to manage its own affairs, while giving unwilling support to the Government, the Hon. Mr. Foley condemned the members of the present Administration for their abandonment and shameless violation fo the Double Majority principle, and proceeded to reflect upon the conduct of members from Upper Canada in supporting the Government which had abandoned Representation by Population, and Double Majority.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—What majority had the Macdonald-Sicotte Government in Lower Canada?

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] maintained it had a comparatively large majority in Lower Canada. He found, by a cursory glance at the records, that his Government had, on several test questions, a majority of from three to eighteen, and this, while several of the members were not in the House.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] said that there had never been this Government, till the one on which they fell was brought forward. It had never been shown till this time whether the Macdonald-Sicotte Government possessed a majority from Lower Canada or not.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North], after some interruption, went on to state that at the ministerial dinner in Quebec lately, the hon. Premier [John Sandfield Macdonald] claimed for his Government the credit of passing the Upper Canada Separate School Bill, which measure, as on account of the Macdonald-Sicotte Government, was denounced by the Hon. Postmaster General [Oliver Mowat] repeatedly during the last elections in Upper Canada. And this statement was made to catch the favor of Roman Catholic Lower Canadians, in presence of the Hon. Postmaster-General [Oliver Mowat]. This was a specimen of the consistency of the members of the present Adminstration.

This same hon. gentleman strongly condemned the Macdonald-Sicotte Administration, for setting aside the Representation by Population question. He declared he never should support a Government that would not take up this question for settlement, and behold him subsequently accepting a seat in a Cabinet whose principles were totally opposed to this measure. The Macdonald-Sicotte Government, though finding it impossible, owing to the hostility of Lower Canada, to carry Representation by Population, proposed a measure to adjust the representation so as to do justice to such constituencies as Huron and Bruce, with its population of 80,000 inhabitants. But the present Government had not even gone this far, no measure to adjust the representation even partially having been introduced.

And yet it was a great an injustice that a place like Cornwall, with its 4,000 or 5,000 inhabitants should be as largely represented in this House as Huron and Bruce with 80,000 inhabitants, as that Lower Canada should have as many representatives here as Upper Canada, which boasted of a majority of 390,000 inhabitants. Why not give even an instalment of justice to such constituencies when such an amendment could not excite the jealousy or antipathy of either Province? The hon. gentleman then went on to define his present political position, which was only hostility to ministers, who had been unfaithful to Upper

  • (p. 55)

Canada. At the same time he had not abandoned his political principles. He proceeded to explain and defend his source at the dinner recently given to Dr. Parker, maintaining he accepted the invitation, not by any means understanding that a toast in honor of the present Ministry was to be proposed, but rather the contrary. He had not accepted the invitation as a supporter of the Ministry, and had been guilty of no breach of confidence. He appealed to Dr. Parker.

Thomas Parker [Wellington North] was understood to exonerate the hon. gentleman from all blame for his course on the occasion in question.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] then proceed to shew that the meeting got up in his country to condemn him for the sentiments hostile to the Ministry expressed at the dinner, was instigated by a Government officer, netting under the instructions of a member of the Administration (Mr. Fergusson Blair). So far from his (Mr. Foley’s) being condemned by the majority of his constituents, he had the pleasure of receiving the sanction of nine-tenths of the electors of the Riding, in regard to his conduct on the occasion mentioned. He wished to be judged by his public conduct, and had no fear of being able to obtain the approval and support of his constituents in reference to his parliamentary career. The hon. gentleman concluded by declared that this Administration could not have, as it could not expect to have his confidence, as the representative of the Riding he had the honor to represent.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

In answer to Archibald McKellar [Kent],

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] said ti was unfair and dishonorable after the promise made him at the dinner to Dr. Parker, that the toast of the Government should not be proposed from the Chair—that the toast should have been sent off to the foot of the table, to be proposed by the Vice-Chairman. The toast of the “Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly” was proposed before that of the “Ministry”, in order that he (Mr. Foley) who was, as the oldest member of this House, to reply to it, should not have the opportunity of expressing his opinions in regard to the Government. But, seeing the dodge, which was not complimentary to the Government, he took occasion, in speaking to the former toast, to make the attack he intended upon the present Administration.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

Edmund Wood [Brant West] enquired of the hon. member for North Wellington [Thomas Parker], if the dinner given at Mount Forest was a party dinner, or was given in honor or out of respect of the hon. member himself.

Thomas Parker [Wellington North] replied, that he looked upon the dinner as given by his constituents, chiefly in honor of himself, and approving of the course he had pursued in Parliament.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] went on to refer to the meetings that had been got up in his constituency to condemn his political conduct. He said the gentleman who got up those meetings neither resided in nor had a vote in his riding, and asserted that he was acting under the direction of the Government, through the Hon. Provincial Secretary [A.J. Fergusson Blair]. The result of those meetings, however, was strongly in his favor.

Archibald McKellar [Kent] remarked that the dinner never would have been given to the hon. member for North Wellington [Thomas Parker] if he was not a supporter of the Government. It was a compliment not only to the member but to the Government, and the hon. member for North Waterloo {Michael Foley] was too old a politician, and had accepted invitation to too many dinners, not to know that such a dinner was a political one, and was intended to be a source of strength to the Government. It was therefore in exceedingly bad taste for the hon. gentleman to attack the Government on such an occasion. It was equal to a man accepting an invitation to dine at a gentleman’s house as a friend, and then abusing him. He went to that dinner with his pocket filled with old newspapers scraps, with which to abuse the Government.

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

Archibald McKellar [Kent]—The Hon. Mr. Foley had told the House that the Government of which he was a member was greatly in advance of the present Government; but he did not tell that he was one of the men who were desirous of giving three or four members to Upper Canada, and three or four to Lower Canada, thereby keeping up the balance of power, and adding some thousands of dollars to the expense of the country.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—Who told you that?

Archibald McKellar [Kent]—The hon. Member for North Waterloo (Hon. Mr. Foley).

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—No one will believe you if you say so.


Archibald McKellar [Kent] went on to say that the gentlemen opposite would have the friends of the present Ministry support them in all their extravagancies and iniquities. But they would not give Upper Canada Representation by Population; no, the gentleman on the other side would not do that.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Archibald McKellar [Kent]—The present Government had given us many good measures, and had carried out the policy of retrenchment.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] had said that this Government was legislating by an Upper Canada majority; but it was a most singular thing that he did not see this when he was a member of the Government. Who was loudest in denouncing the Cartier-Macdonald Government for ruling Upper Canada with a Lower Canada majority? Who, but the Hon. Mr. Foley?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—But the moment the mail bags were thrown in his way, and $5,000 a year along with them, be swallowed the pill, got down on his knees, and forget all his protestation.

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—And if the hon. gentleman had continued in office till the present time, he would not have seen his mistake—he would have said nothing about ruling Lower Canada with an Upper Canada majority.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—He (the speaker) was one of those who believed not in the Double Majority, but in a majority of the whole House. The reason why the Cartier-Macdonald Government was obnoxious was because Upper Canada was ruled by Lower Canada, and because distasteful measures were forced upon the Upper Province.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Archibald McKellar [Kent]—The speaker when on to combat the statement of Hon. Mr. Foley for having taking credit to himself for settling the Postal Subsidy.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] endeavored to show that if the proposition of the Allans in 1862, for a reduction and an extension of time, had been accepted it would have been a great saving of funds compared with the engagement that had been completed by the present Postmaster General [Oliver Mowat].

Archibald McKellar [Kent] said that at all events, it was a great saving to reduce the subsidy from $104,000 per annum to $54,000, and it was a credit to the present Government that they had in that one item, effected a saving of $50,000 per annum. The hon. gentleman had said that he would have done it, and the hon. member for Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier] had stated that he would have done it, but the fact was on record that neither of the gentlemen had effected opportunity to do so. With reference to the Intercolonial Railway, the Attorney General East [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] had resigned his place in the Government, because that Government had pledged itself to go on with the road without a proper estimate, a proceeding which strongly contrasted with that of the member for Waterloo [Michael Foley], who, although opposed to the whole scheme in every shape, had continued to hold on to office and to the $5,000 a year, as long as he possibly could.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Archibald McKellar [Kent]—He rather congratulated himself on having got off so easy, for he understood the hon. gentleman had intended to give him a complete dressing.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—I deny that I even entertained such a purpose. I do not think enough of the hon. gentleman to either speak to or of him.

Archibald McKellar [Kent] said his authority was the hon. member for Brant.

John Bown [Brant East] said as one of the members for Brant, he would say that if he was the authority alluded to, there was no foundation for the statement.

Archibald McKellar [Kent] replied that he would not think of calling upon the hon. gentleman for East Brant [John Bown] to verify any statement.

Some. Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Bown [Brant East] remarked that he was not accustomed to having his veracity brought in question in that manner. If he could not get reparation on the floor of the House, he remarked, he knew where he could get it.

The Speaker—Order, order. The discussion for a great portion of the evening has been quite apart from the subject under consideration, although not having had my attention called to it by any member, I have allowed it to go on. I will hereafter endeavor to keep the discussion more closely to the question before the House.

Archibald McKellar [Kent] was very unhappy to find that the Speaker intended taking that course, and was sure that every member on his side of the House would support him in carrying it out. The leader of the Opposition had set the example of speaking against time, and had even begged for interruptions, and it was but to be expected that the example would be followed to some extent on that side of the House. He was glad to observe, however, that the most of his supporters marked their disapproval of his nonsensical tirade by leaving the House during its delivery.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] rose to the address the House. He did not wish to delay the proceedings, but could not well avoid making a few observations with reference to some of the points touched upon by the hon. member for North Waterloo [Michael Foley]. He did not mean to discuss the subject of the meeting held in that gentleman’s constituency, as he did not regard that as a sufficient important topic with which to occupy the time of the House eves so long as had been done. Nor did he intend to discuss the proceedings of the Mount Forest dinner, for he did not think ever so long a discussion of those proceedings would assist the members of the House to dispose of the subjects before them.

He was well aware that after-dinner remarks and conversations were considered by some honorable gentlemen as a very great importance to the House, but he did not concur in the propriety of either private or public dinners being made the ground of discussion amount the parties who took part in them, upon the floor of that House. If the leader of the government did, in his presence, at a banquet in the Music Hall in this city, make use of an expression which implied that he (Hon. Mr. Mowat) supported a bill which he did not support, he did not feel that it would have been becoming in him, or his duty, to get up there and enter into a discussion of the question with him; and it was the first time, he believed, that the silence of a gentleman at a public dinner had ever been taken as an acquiescence, on his part, in everything that might be expressed at such dinner.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—With reference to several of the points to which the late Postmaster-General had alluded in his speech, he could hardly bring himself to fancy that it was not an after-dinner speech that he had been listening to. The hon. Member had been arguing that he (the Postmaster-General) had been a supporter of the Double-Majority principle.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—I did not say anything of the kind. I said that, though you professed to be an opponent of the Double-Majority principle, you voted for certain resolutions affirming the right of the people of each section of the province to have the management of their own affairs. The imputation against me of making an after-dinner speech would seem to be more appropriate in reference to the hon. gentleman himself.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] replied that he gave his best attention to the hon. gentleman’s remark and had noted this one. If he did not express himself in such a manner that his meaning could be disconcerned, it was not the fault of the listener that he was misunderstood. It was very proper that an hon. Member should be judged by his votes and speeches, and he was willing to be judged by his. Hon. gentlemen would find that when the question was brought up in the House his vote was always recorded against it. The resolutions that the member had referred to did not embody the Double Majority principle at all. They merely affirmed that it was desirable that the Government should be supported by a majority of both Upper and Lower Canadians. That had been, was still, and always would be his opinion, and it was a matter of regret to him that the opportunity had not yet been afforded the Government of proving to the country since the opening of the present session, that the Administration now in power had a majority from both sections.

Some. Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—The Opposition had moved no amendments to the Address, and did not seem inclined to do so. It was scarcely becoming, at all events, for hon. gentlemen on the other side to taunt them with not having a majority until they brought up a resolution by which their strength could be tested. They could talk glibly, and for hours, about the Government not having a majority of the House in its support, but they did not dare to bring forward an amendment, so that the correctness of their statements could be tested. But while they pretended to be very indignant that the Government did not resign as soon as they made the bare announcement that it had not a majority, they seemed to forget that there was anything of more importance to the House and the country than mere strength, in a Government. Surely the principles of a Government were of some importance and of some value.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—A Government might be strong to do evil, as was sometimes the case. It was a more importance to know the principles of a Government than to know its strength.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—The hon. member for North Waterloo [Michael Foley] had charged him with something that was quite as extraordinary as supporting the Double Majority principle. His great objection to him (Hon. Mr. Mowat) was that he was not now as strongly in favor of Representation according to Population as he (Mr. Mr. Foley) was, and was not doing his duty for that principle, as he was; that he had been recreant to the principle, while he had always stood up for it. Well now was it really necessary for him to defend himself from such a charge as that especially coming as it did from the hon. member by whom it had been made? Did not every member of the House, and every well-informed person in the Province, know that the Macdonald-Sicotte Government,

  • (p. 56)

of which the hon. gentleman was a member, was formed on the basis of voting down the principle of Representation by Population?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—You supported that Government.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] replied that no one knew better than the hon gentleman that he never supported them in that course, and it was only in obedience to the voice of his constituency that he did so at all. The present Government was not formed on a basis so hostile to the principle as that. There were in it some who were friends of the principle, and there were others who were its opponents, and for his part he was very sorry that some of his colleagues were opposed to it.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—It was very much to be regretted, he thought, that the House and the country were not prepared to adopt that principle and make it a part of the constitution of the country. Those members of the Administration who were favorable to the principle were not, at all events, in the position with reference to that question that his hon. friend the late Postmaster-General and his colleagues were, for they were every one of them at liberty to vote upon the question just as they pleased, while the members of the Macdonald-Sicotte Administration enjoyed no such liberty.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—You vote against it when it will endanger your place.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] replied that the hon. gentleman was really very uncandid in that remark. He knew very well that every member of the Government must, according to the constitution, vote against every amendment to an Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne no matter how correct the amendment might be.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—Well the hon. gentleman blames us for doing so.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] responded that he did nothing of the kind. There was a very material difference between voting against an amendment to an Address, and voting against a principle when it came up as a substantive motion. No proposition, however true it was, if it were brought as an amendment to the Address, could be voted for by a Minister of the Crown. That was a rule of the Constitution, and one which no Minister could get over. Supposing that an hon. gentleman were to bring up an amendment affirming that the religion which they all professed in common was true, the members of the Government would be assuredly obliged to vote against even that, and under the circumstances there would be no impropriety in doing so—except in the eyes of those who might not understand the circumstances. As to his being silent on the subject, he would only say that he always endeavored to do things in proper order, and to speak on any subject only when speaking would be of use.

He supposed the hon. gentleman did not himself consider it necessary to refer to Representation by Population in every letter he wrote, nor even in every speech he made. The hon. gentleman had already alluded to the offer of a seat in the Cabinet to the hon. member for Russell [Robert Bell], and spoke of it as being inconsistent with his (Hon. Mr. Mowat’s) views on the Representation question, because that gentleman had always been an opponent of his views upon it. He did not understand it in any such light.

The principle was an open question with the present Government. Whether the offer of a seat to the hon. member for Russell [Robert Bell] was prudent or imprudent, a right act or a wrong one, his vote upon a change in the Representation would be the same in the Government as our of it. His vote would be the same, and count just as much in the one case as the other It was plain therefore, that whatever might be said of the offer of a seat to the member for Russell, it was not open to the objection that the honorable member for North Waterloo [Michael Foley] had brought against it.—The hon. Mr. Foley had said that in his (Hon. Mr. Mowat’s) department there had been no retrenchment since he left, except in the Ocean Mail Service. But it was because the Hon. Mr. Foley did good service when Post Master that he received the support.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—The hon. Mr. Foley had been attacking him all night, but in return for this, he would say that that gentleman had done all he could to carry out a policy of retrenchment. But when he had done the work, how could it be done again? When, for instance, three or four clerks who were not wanted were discharged, they could not be discharged again.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and a laugh.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—Shortly after the Hon. Mr. Foley had been appointed, commissions were issued by him for investigations into the affairs of City offices, in which it was supposed there was an unnecessary number of officers. The gentlemen opposite attacked the Hon. Mr. Foley for this, and hardly was any language too strong for them to employ as to the uselessness and bad faith of these commissions.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—But these commissions served a good purpose, and it was quite impossible in a few months to accomplish so much by any other means. These commissioners made their reports, and the Hon. Mr. Foley commenced carrying them into effect; and those he did not carry into effect, he (Hon. Mr. Mowat) thought it his duty to carry into effect.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—What are they?

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—The hon. gentleman knows well enough, and he knows also that there is no recommendation of his I have not carried into effect.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—I have said that since the hon. gentleman came into the Government, he has claimed credit for doing what had been done before he became a member of it. What I complain of is the striking out of my name from the foot of a report, and putting his own name in its place.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] said he thought he never struck out the name of the hon. gentleman from the foot of a report. But he did not know if either Honorable Mr. Foley or himself were entitled to much credit. The duties were conducted by Commissioners, and he (Hon. Mr. M.) claims no credit at all. He merely found the report of the Commissioners, and what was not carried out, he (Mr. M.) caused to be carried out. The hon. gentleman had said a good deal about the Ocean Mail Contract, and affirmed that he was entitled to all the credit.

He (the speaker) did not care whether the honorable gentleman was or not. But he was not quite accurate in his facts. The truth was this—there were negotiations between Mr. Allan and the Cartier-Macdonald Government, for a reduction of the subsidy, and an extension of the term during which the contract should continue. These negotiations were resumed some time after the Hon. Mr. Foley had become Postmaster General. The only document which he (the speaker) could find, in reference to the matter, was a letter dated February, 1863, and presented in the return that came down to the House during the first session of that year. It was here shown that the Secretary of the Post Office Department asked Mr. Allan to put down in writing what he would do—how far he would go in reducing the contract at a reduced price. Mr. Allan mentioned vessels now in the Mail Line, including the “Peruvian,” then building, and that he would have another vessel, the “Moravian,” which was larger than any of the rest. He proposed that instead of accepting and reduction, that he would place the “Moravian” on the line, and urged that this would be equivalent to the reduction proposed. That was the last correspondence of which he (the speaker) could find any trace whatever. The basis of the arrangements then contemplated, was, as he learned from the best information, $250,000 per annum, instead of £104,000. This new arrangement to go into effect on the 1st of April, 1863, and continue till April the 1st, 1870. Whether that arrangement could be effected it was now impossible to say. The Hon. Mr. Foley had received that letter in February, 1863, and certainly no bargain was made afterwards. The hon. gentleman had been a certainly he had made no bargain with Mr. Allan.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—You know why I did not; you know all about it.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] thought he had read somewhere that the Hon. Mr. Foley had stated that some of his colleagues were opposed to the arrangement; but he (the speaker) did not know if the told much in his favor. He (Hon. Mr. Mowat) was able to prevail on his colleagues to an arrangement, but the Hon. Mr. Foley was not able. But if the Government had not felt there was a sufficiently strong case to put an end to the Ocean Mail Contract altogether, the country would now be paying £104,000 per annum, instead of only £54,500.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—Mr. Allan stipulated concerning the “Peruvian” and the “Moravain,” which are to be equal in size and capacity to the “Hibernian,” which was a larger vessel than the “Bohemian,” the model vessel under the old contract. These were the facts in relation to the Ocean Mail Service. The present contract which would go into operation in April the first, was for five years, and would expire in 1869; and the Government had every hope and reason to believe that they would be able to enter into a new contract at a smaller rate. At the present time, the contract was for the smallest rate that could be expected, and he never found any man whose opinion was of any value who would say that a better bargain could be made.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North]—I dispute the entire accuracy of the statements that have been made.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General] said that the evidence he had given was documentary, and was in every way reliable. The Hon. Mr. Foley had complained of two things in the Speech. The first objection was with regard to the North-West territory, and the hon. gentleman had said that, on this point, the Government had gone back from the position which they formerly occupied. Now, he (Hon. Mr. Mowat) utterly denied the charge; and so far from the paragraph in the Speech being evidence of the truth of the objection, it was the very reverse.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—The hon. gentleman seemed to think that the only way to ascertain the boundary was to send a surveyor there. There were very important questions connected with this matter. The question of boundary depended upon a variety of facts, and evidence, to which he (the speaker) had given a good deal of attention, and to which he might revert again. He had formed his opinion as to how far the boundary of Canada extended. The Speech alluded to the vast tracts of land belonging to Canada, which had not yet been brought under the action of our political and municipal system. How was Canada to enforce these rights—would she send an army to dispossess the Hudson’s Bay Company?

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—The way to enforce these rights was the way proposed here, or some similar way. We must find some method of arriving at a precise definition of the geographical boundary of Canada in that direction, and that we should have the Imperial authority was an imperative necessity. The essential preliminaries were just the very thing the Speech talked of our doing. The Hudson’s Bay Company did not admit that our boundary was where we said it was. With regard to the congratulations in respect to the progress of the works at Ottawa, the Hon. Mr. Foley found one more inconsistency on the part of members of the Government, or some of them. The gentlemen opposite stated that they were always in favor of Ottawa, and certainly there never had been a bigger bid for the support of members from that section than was made by the hon. Member for Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier]. But that hon. member was at one time in favor of Montreal.

The policy of his Government was to send home for the Queen’s decision, and that hon. gentleman having referred the matter to the Imperial Government, it was impossible for him to take any other course than the one in favor of Ottawa. The Liberal party, or a large section of them, were not in favor of reference to the Home Government. The Liberal party were not disposed to acquiesce in this decision, but subsequently when a large sum of money had been expended, the thing occupied a different position. Then, the Western members would naturally be in favor of Toronto, but now they were anxious that, since the Government was to go to Ottawa, it should go at once.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Oliver Mowat [Ontario South, Postmaster General]—The Government was anxious that the removal should take place as soon as possible. That was the opinion expressed by the party generally. Every place except Ottawa was now out of the question, and he thought the Government would be able to go there in the Fall. He could not help stating that it seemed to him that the Hon. Mr. Foley had not stated anything which would justify him in forsaking the position which he held last session with his party.

Some. Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Michael Foley [Waterloo North] stated that with reference to his vote last session, against the motion of the hon. member for Sherbrooke [Alexander Galt], he gave it because the motion was in condemnation of the Macdonald-Sicotte Government, of which he had been a member.

The House then, at half-past 12, adjourned.

[1] Unsure if this is from the Speaker or members.

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