Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (15 June 1864)

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Date: 1864-06-15
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 199.
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WEDNESDAY, June 15th, 1864.    

The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.


Hon. Mr. BROWN presented a petition from a number of tobacco manufacturers of the city of Toronto, against the scheme of excise duties on tobacco, of the hon. Finance Minister.


Mr. DUNKIN presented the 6th Report of the Committee on Banking and Commerce.


Mr. SCOBLE, from the Committee to whom was referred the bill for the relief of James Senning, reported the said bill with several amendments.


Mr. JACKSON presented the second Report of the Committee on Emigration and Colonization.


Mr. ARCHAMBAULT, from the General Committee on Elections, reported the following gentlemen to form the Committee appointed to try and determine the merits of the petition complaining of an undue election and return for the North Riding of the county of Waterloo, viz: Messrs. Wallbridge, Bown, Biggar, Higginson and Morris.

Ministerial Explanations

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said—Before the orders of the day are called, I rise to state that after the vote of last night, our position being so much affected thereby, we have thought it our duty to communicate with His Excellency [Viscount Monck] on the subject.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—After having made that communication, I move the adjournment of the House till to-morrow.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said that no doubt the House was willing to take into consideration the difficulties and embarrassments in the way of the hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches; but, at the same time, considering the position of this House and the state in which the public business now stands, it was felt that explanations were due to hon. members and the country in regard to the position and intentions of the Government. It was quite evident the vote of last night had had an effect upon the hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches. This House had decided that the state of things which had existed for some time past could not exist longer, and it was due to the House and the country to know from Ministers what their intention was.

Some Hon. Members—Oh, oh.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He challenged contradiction of his statements. Every Ministry had felt itself bound to declare to the House, on occasions like the present, the causes for the adjournment, and had invariably accompanied those explanations by the statement that they held their seats till their successors were appointed, or wanted time to reconstruct. But the Hon Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald] simply stated he had communicated with His Excellency [Viscount Monck], and then asked an adjournment. Now, the House had a right to know what he had communicated to His Excellency [Viscount Monck].

Some Hon. Members—Oh, oh, and hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—There should be no concealment as far as that was concerned. We had a right to know whether they had tendered their resignations. They had a right to tell the House what advice they tendered to His Excellency [Viscount Monck]—had they offered their resignations—had they been accepted or not. If the proposal the Ministry had made was not conceded, and if no conclusion had been arrived at, they, of course, had a right to ask for time to receive an answer—but we should know what course they recommended—whether they tendered their resignations or advised reconstruction. The House should insist on more explicit explanations from the Government on the matter.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] said—I am surprised to hear such statements from my hon. friend, he having been himself an executive councillor. He knows that every advisor of His Excellency [Viscount Monck] is sworn not to divulge the advice which he, in his official capacity, tenders him without His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] consent. And we are not in a position to state the nature of our communication to His Excellency [Viscount Monck], not having yet obtained his assent to make any explanations to this House.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South] said—The hon. gentlemen opposite ought to be allowed the fullest opportunity of considering what course they think best to pursue. I am bound to believe that the moment they have given their advice to His Excellency [Viscount Monck], and the moment that advice is acted upon, they will take the earliest opportunity of disclosing what has been done.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South]—They have stated that matters have not been brought to a conclusion, and in this critical position of the affairs of the country, when one administration resigned, not having a majority, and when the other is in the same position as regards a majority, it will require the gravest consideration to take us out of our present dilemma.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

George Brown [Oxford South]—Whether it is likely there will be a dissolution or a change of parties, the Ministry deserve consideration at our hands.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South]—Those gentlemen have grave responsibilities and should have time to deliberate upon what is the best course for them to pursue.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

George Brown [Oxford South]—I hope, for my part, they will take full time and adopt a course consistent with the respect due to this House and themselves before they come to a decision. And I hope that decision will do credit to the country and themselves.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—I quite concur in the remarks that have been made by my hon. friend, and am very happy he has taken that view of the matter. I quite agree with the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] that the House should receive the fullest information possible when the proper time comes. But I cannot communicate anything without the consent of His Excellency [Viscount Monck] being first given. But he has not yet given that consent. I now move that the House adjourn.

The House then, at half-past three o’clock, adjourned till Thursday at three o’clock.

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