Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (2 June 1864)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 171-172.
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THURSDAY, June 2nd, 1864
The “press” difficulty again prevents us from laying before our readers a report of to-day’s proceedings in the Assembly; but the misunderstanding may not be considered to be at an end. The reporters not in their room at three o’clock, but, up to that hour, no answer had been received to their request for information as to whether the order excluding strangers from the reading-room was intended to apply to them. After some discussion, an adjournment took place until half-past seven o’clock, when it appeared that the “powers that be” had finally condescended to recognize the Fourth estate by returning an answer to their letter. The meeting, which was very numerously attended, having been called to order—Mr. B. Chamberlain (Montreal Gazette) in the Chair, and Mr. J. K. Edwards (Toronto Globe) acting as Secretary—the Chairman laid before the meeting the following letter: –
2nd June, 1864:
“B. Chamberlain, Esq.,
“ Ed & Prop.
“ Montreal Gazette.
Dear Sir; – I am instructed by the hon. The Speaker to acknowledge receipt of your letter of yesterday, enclosed a series of resolutions passed at a meeting of the Reporters of the Press; also your letter of this day, asking for an explanation of the order excluding the public from the Reading-room of the House before noon of each day. He desires me to state that your communication of 31st ult. was duly read and submitted to the House at 3 o’clock p.m. yesterday, and the reply furnished to you this morning was the only reply authorized by the House.
“Mr. Speaker desired me further to inform you that for his part, he had proposed to the House that tickets should be issued to Reporters and Correspondents of the press, and that ex-members of Parliament of Government
- (p. 172 in the primary document)
gentlemen attending Election Committees claiming their seat, and their Counsel, should be admitted to the Reading-Room at all hours.
“This suggestion was not accepted by the House, therefore Mr. Speaker has not considered himself justified in altering the order adopted by the House of the 31st May.
“I have the honor to be,
Yours &c., &c.,
“G. H. Macaulay.
Moved by Mr. J.K. Edwards (Toronto Globe) seconded by Mr. S.J. Jones (Hamilton Times)—
That the representatives of the Press have taken into consideration the letter of the Honorable the Speaker, of this day, informing them of the nature of the order of the 31st ult., by virtue of which they have been excluded from the Reading-room:
That, having for a time refrained from taking their usual places in the Gallery of the House, in order to mark their sense of an act of discourtesy to which they conceive they have been needlessly subjected, they feel that they have now maintained this protest for a sufficient period to preserve their own feelings of self-respect, and to vindicate the honor of the profession generally:
That, having by the stand they have taken since Tuesday last, amply satisfied that they owe peculiarly to their profession, they consider the time has come when they should again enter on the discharge of the duties they owe to the public, who look to the press accurately to report and faithfully to comment on the proceedings of the Legislature;
That they therefore resume their places in the Gallery at three o’clock to-morrow.
Moved, in amendment, by Mr. Gregg (Toronto Leader), seconded by Mr. McDonnell (Quebec Chronicle)—
“That a sense of consistency should restrain the members of the press from entering the Galleries again this session, with the indignity of which they complain remaining unredressed.”
This amendment was put to the vote, and lost, on the following division:—
Mr. Cleneghan (Woodstock Times)
Mr. Fabre (Quebec Canadien)
Mr. Gelinas (Montreal Minerve)
Mr. Gregg (Toronto Leader)
Mr. Lanigan (Quebec News)
Mr. Lindsey (Toronto Leader)
Mr. McDonnell (Quebec Chronicle)
Mr. McLean (Perth Herald)
Mr. Roger (Quebec Mercury)
Mr. Aubin (Quebec La Tribune)
Mr. Berthelot (Courrier de St. Hyacinthe)
Mr. Chs. Daoust (Montreal Pays)
Mr. Edwards (Toronto Globe)
Mr. L.H. Frechette (Courrier d’Ottawa)
Mr. Jones (Hamilton Times)
Mr. Kirby (Montreal Herald)
Mr. Hubertus (Kingston British American and other dailies.)
Mr. I. Watson (Quebec Chronicle)
Mr. S.J. Watson (Quebec Daily News)
Mr. White (Peterboro Review)
Mr. _______ (Montreal L’Ordre)
The main motion was then carried on the same division reversed.
The Chairman expressed himself favorable to the view taken by the majority.
On motion of Mr. McDonnell, seconded by Mr. Hubertus, it was
That the thanks of the meeting are due and are hereby tendered to the Chairman and Secretary.
The meeting then adjourned.