Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (25 February 1864)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 28-33.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
THURSDAY, Feby. 25th, 1864.
The SPEAKER took the chair at three o’clock.
After the presentation of petitions—
THE DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS.
The debate on the second paragraph of the Address was resumed.
Dr. BOWN said it was denied last night by the hon. Solicitor General that there had been any hounding of members on the part of the Ministerial supporters on account of their political principles. But he himself had suffered from this practice at various times as he would show. The hon. gentleman was reported to have said, referring to him (Dr. Bown) that although he had changed slides he had never been subjected to the bullying and black guarding which he would have undergone had he left the Opposition and come over to the Ministerial side of the House. He thought that if the hon. Solicitor General had heard the language applied to him by a member of the Ministerial party, for the course which he had thought proper to pursue, he would have been convinced that as much bullying and blackguardism had been resorted to for his (Dr. Bown’s) injury as was ever heard on the floor of this House.
He did not attempt to reply, thinking it would have been beneath him to do so. He would not reply now in the same strain, desiring to avoid personalities which he had invariably done since he entered the House, and was determined on doing while he held a seat here. It had been stated that with regard to the Essex election he had declared to a supporter of the Ministry that he (Dr. B.) was a party man, and would vote with the Government even against his convictions. Now, it was strange hon. gentlemen would, for a party purpose, endeavor to pervert the language of others. He recollected well what he had said. A certain member met him (Dr. B.) and asked him his opinion of the Essex case. He told him his opinion which the part said was an erroneous one. The latter afterwards said it was a Government measure for which he must vote.
He (Dr. B.) replied that he would examine the matter, and that if he found would one with the Government. When the House met he took the first opportunity to state his position on the question. He stated he had given the case much attention, and was at a loss to know which member had the majority of the votes given at the Essex election, and could not, consequently, vote to seat either Mr. O’Connor or Mr. Rankin; but that if the Government could take upon themselves the responsibility of resolving the doubt, he would support them in the matter. He offered them the responsibility and they refused it, and then he was obliged to rely on his judgment in the case.
The hon. gentleman who had referred to him last night, said he (Dr. B.) had been called a traitor or a scoundrel. But why was he called a traitor? Not because he had ever broken the pledges made to his constituents, or abandoned his principles, but because he voted in this House to sustain those principles which the Reform party in England had ever endeavored to maintain, having for their object to preserve the purity of Parliament.
Let the hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches read the constitutional history of England, and they would find that the reason why Charles the First lost his crown and his life, was that he endeavored to rule the kingdom contrary to the Constitution, by means of Royal prerogative. They could find that the Reform Party had also struggled against George the Third’s undue excercise of prerogative, and the attempt to govern by purchase of members, and other unconstitutional practices contrary to the spirit of responsible Government. Because he voted to sustain the true constitutional usage, he had been branded as an apostate and traitor. He would ask who were traitors— those who voted to sustain their principles, or those who denied them? He knew the reports and slanders set afloat to damage him in his Riding in his absence, but never thought it worth while to pay attention to them. The hon. Solicitor General boasted last night that his parents taught him etiquette in the back woods— how to behave himself when at others’ dinner-tables, and also at his own, and how to represent private confidence; but if they had taught him more carefully to observe the Ninth Commandment, he (Dr. Bown) would not have to complain today of what he had stated regarding him the previous evening.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said he arose for the purpose of establishing certain facts in reply to statements made last night by the hon. gentleman to vote for the motion of want of confidence made by the hon. member for Sherbrooke. He would, however, go through the whole of his political relations with that hon. gentleman in chronological order. He might here remark, before entering into details, that, if he wished to retain facts personal to himself in his memory, it was unnecessary for him to make any record of the matter; but, in the case of third parties concerned, it was a habit— a somewhat singular habit, perhaps, but a proper precaution— of keeping as much in writing as possible. Hon. gentlemen of this House had heard, last night, from the hon. member for Missisquoi, that it was a piece of audacious boldness, amounting nearly to impudence for him (Mr. Cartier) or for the press supporting the Opposition, to venture to assert the the had deserted his party during the last session. The hon. gentleman went still further— he stated in the most explicit and straightforward manner that he had never recognized him (Mr. Cartier) as a party leader.
(“Hear, hear,” and a remark not audible in the gallery made by some gentleman on the ministerial side of the House.)
Hon. Mr. Cartier went on to ask if the hon. gentleman opposite, who had just spoken, had anything particular to say. If so, he should be very glad to hear him.
Mr. WHITE— I only remarked that your style of speaking was new. In fact, I was paying you a compliment.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said there was an old adage, founded on human weakness and vanity, which said that a compliment was agreeable, no matter from what quarter it came. Now this might be true, in some instances, but in the present case he begged to tell the hon. member for Halton that he should prefer to have received a compliment from any other quarter.
(Cheers and laughter.)
— He (Mr. Cartier) was about to lay before the House a statement of facts. As he had already said, he intended to do so in regular order, and he would give time and place— aye, even day and hour, for any circumstance he related. He would have refrained from going into these details, if the honorable member for Missisquoi had not given the occasion by giving his own version last night. He (Mr. Cartier) had the honor to have had several interviews on political matters with the hon. gentleman, but he had considered them of a private character, and he would have related them, but for the statements of the hon. member himself last night, which compelled him to go into the whole matter. The hon. member had stated, last night, in energetic terms, the the could not be accused of desertion of party principles and that he had never acknowledged him (Mr. Cartier) as a party-leader; and in support of this he had alluded to a conversation had wit him (Mr. Cartier) on Wednesday, the 7th October last, but the interview in question, did not take place in the way or under the circumstances alleged by the hon. member for Missisquoi.
The hon. gentleman stated, in proof of his good faith and political honestly, that he came to him (Mr. Cartier) and explained to him the reason he could not vote for the motion of wast of confidence of the hon. member for Sherbrooke. The statement that he sought out the hon. member for Missisquoi— in fact it appeared from his conduct that he was shunning an interview. He might here state that the interview in question— that of Wednesday 7th October— was preceded by several others to which he would refer presently. On the Wednesday in question, however, he (Mr. Cartier) saw the member for Missisquoi outside of this Chamber. He went and spoke to him. He had been seeking for that hon. member because he had head that it was not his intuition to vote with the Opposition on the hon. Mr. Galt’s motion.
He (Mr. Cartier) had this peculiarity with regard to gentlemen acting with him— he never attached importance to anything he heard about their intended course until he had verified it himself— until he had their own avowal on the matter. Like any honest man he trusted other, because he accepted them as trustworthy until the reverse became apparent.
Therefore he did not believe statements which were made, until he had given parties referred to the benefit of a conference on the subject, so as to obviate any misunderstanding. He would not now refer to the subject-matter of the conversation of the Wednesday in question; but would begin at the commencement of his (Mr. Cartier’s) first political co-action with the member for Missisquoi, inasmuch as that hon. gentleman had referred to it himself in order to prove that he belonged to this side of the House, and more particularly that he never recognized him (Mr. Cartier) as a party leader. The hon. gentleman from Missisquoi had gone so far back as the first vote he had given after he entered this House, in 1861.
Now what were the facts of this affair? It would be recollected by many hon. members present that the member for Missisquoi had given a vote against the Government of the day on the occasion of the election for Speaker in 1862; but according to the explanations which he (Mr. O’Halloran) had given to him (Mr. Cartier) the House would see whether he wanted to give a blow to the Cartier-Macdonald Government or not. When the hon. gentleman (Mr. O’Halloran) always consulted with him and Mr. Sweet, the then member for the adjoining county; and he (Mr. Cartier) always took the opinion of these two gentlemen in reference to matters pertaining to their respective counties. And their political relations— their political acquantance was renewed when the session was opened. If there had been any mistake as to these political relations they most decidedly did not arise on his (Mr. Cartier’s) part. He had had joint recommendations from the hon. gentlemen (Mr. O’Halloran, and Mr. Moses Sweet) as to appointments in their counties. Under these circumstances was it to be for a moment imagined that Mr. O’Halloran was hostile to the Government of the day?
Well, when the House met it was their duty to elect a Speaker; and the party of which he (Mr. Cartier) was the leader proposed the Hon. Mr. Turcotte. Having, as already stated, so to speak, renewed his political acquaintance with Mr. O’Halloran, he could not be blamed for going to him, and conversing with him about the Speakership. The hon. member for Missisquoi told him the could not vote for the Hon. Mr. Turcotte; and in reply to this he (Mr. Cartier) said that himself and his colleagues had agreed that they were in honor bound to resign if defeated on the speakership. He had now come to the vote given on that occasion by Mr. O’Halloran. When he (Mr. Cartier) stated to Mr. O’Halloran the circumstances under which the Government acted, and the position in which they would be placed if defeated on the speakership, the hon. member for Missisquoi replied “Don’t be afraid; your candidate for Speaker will not be defeated. It is not a test vote, nor do I pretend, in the vote I shall give upon the question, to give a test vote.”
He (Mr. Cartier) had never strongly pressed any hon. gentleman for his support, and so he left the hon. gentleman for his support, and so he left the hon. member for his opinion. It was no particular pleasure to him to stand in the position in which he (Mr. Cartier) stood. Some hon. gentlemen might perhaps not give credence to his statement, when he said that he would much rather be at home attending to his professional business; but since he stood in a position which involved obstacles and difficulties he had never shrink from them.
He therefore told Mr. O’Halloran that he might do what he liked; and he mentioned these circumstances for the purpose of shewing that the vote given by the hon. member for Missisquoi was not intended, as he had stated, to be a vote adverse to the Cartier-Macdonald Government.
Mr. O’HALLORAN— I was alluding to the vote on the Militia Bill, when I said I voted against your Government.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said he was speaking from his notes; but, no doubt, the hon. gentleman was a little forgetful of what he has said last night. Again he begged to tell him that these things would have been uttered if the had not been necessarily drawn out by the speech of the hon. member himself.
This bundle of papers which he (Mr. Cartier) held in his hands, and which formed the documentary evidence in connection with this affair, had remained in his desk since last session. He had not referred to their contents up to the present moment, because he was disposed to consider them private; but he was forced to refer to them now, because Mr. O’Halloran himself had commenced the subject. He (Mr. Cartier) would go over details of political relations between himself and the hon. member for Missisquoi, giving time and place in such a manner as would leave no doubt as to their entire accuracy.
He would begin with those events which were most remote. The hon. gentleman had complained with regard to the last election, that political intrigues and machinations had been set in motion against him but that notwithstanding this he had been returned by acclamation. The hon. gentleman used this a proof of his own popularity and influence in the county of Missisquoi, and the comparatively small influence he (Mr. Cartier) possessed. Well, all he would tell him in reply was that, in 1857, he (Mr. Cartier) had been honored by a banquet tendered to him by the leading men of the three counties— Shefford, Brome and Missisquoi; and the event was one of those which, in his whole political career, he recollected with most pleasure.
(Hear, hear and cheers.)
He mentioned this gratifying fact in answer to the defiant manner in which Mr. O’Halloran spoke of his innuence. He (Mr. Cartier) might not perhaps have as many acquaintances in the county of Missisquoi as the hon. member; but he was proud to say that he numbered among his friends many gentlemen of his position, influence and respectability in that constituency; and it was very natural, on the eve of a general election, that some of these gentlemen should ask his (Mr. Cartier’s) opinion on the political situation; and it was very natural too that he should give it. He had never reproached the member for Missisquoi for his vote on the Speakership, during the first session of the Parliament of 1861. On the contrary, he was satisfied because he took it for granted— and in doing so he paid a compliment to the hon. member— that the hon. member spoke truly when he said that he had no desire thereby to give a vote adverse to the Government of the day.
As a party man, he had no charges to make against the hon. gentleman from Missisquoi for his conduct on that occasion, or for his course towards the Cartier-Macdonald Administration, for he had supported them up to the advent of the Macdonald-Sicotte Government; but, as a public man, he (Mr. Cartier) would have been very verdant indeed if he did not appreciate correctly the change made by the hon. member in supporting the Macdonald-Sicotte combination. Still, he made no personal charge against him for this, inasmuch as himself (Mr. Cartier) and his honorable colleague to his right had resolved to give it a fair trial because they did not consider it a pure Grit or a pure Rouge Government. Of course they gave to the Grit-Rouge combination all the opposition in their power; and he (Mr. Cartier) and his honorable colleague to his right had resolved to give it a fair trial because they did not consider it a pure Grit or a pure Rouge Government. Of course they gave to the Grit-Rouge combination all the opposition in their power; and he (Mr. Cartier) would so continue to oppose them as long as they existed. Well, when the last general election took place several influential gentlemen from Missisquoi called upon him (Mr. Cartier) and told him that Mr. O’Halloran had promised them he would oppose the Government. He (Mr. Cartier) said “Very well; but if you can get a safer candidate, so much the better.” They replied: “We can get a declaration from him on the hustings to that effect.” To this he (Mr. Cartier) answered— “Get it in writing if you can, for I fear that gentleman is slippery.” He then wrote to Mr. Bourdon.—
Mr. O’HALLORAN— Read his letter!
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— I shall do the hon. gentleman the favor as soon as I get the letter. It is in Montreal, and I shall send for it.
Mr. O’HALLORAN— He told you the electors of Missisquoi were quite able to attend to their own business.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— No. He told me he regretted having promised his support to Mr. O’Halloran; but that, notwithstanding this fact, if a better candidate came forward he would be forced to withdraw his support from the hon. gentleman in question.
(Hear, hear, and cheers.)
Hon. Mr. Cartier then went on to say that he wrote back to Mr. Bourdon, to get from the hon. member all the promises he could. This, however, was not all. The Hon. Mr. Foster, Mr. G. H. Sweet, and another gentleman whose name he did not now recollect, called of his (Mr. Cartier’s) residence in Montreal about the Missisquoi election, and told him that Mr. O’Halloran was ready to state on the hustings that be would oppose the Macdonald-Dorion Government. He asked these gentlemen whether they were sure the hon. member would adhere to his promise, and they replied that, on this understanding he, had succeeded in getting a promise of the support of a large number of the electors.
He (Mr. Cartier) said to them, as he had said to Mr. Bourdon, “get the promise in writing if you can,” because he recollected the verde volent, scripts manet. The hon. member for Missisquoi had charged him (Mr. Cartier) with having endeavored to induce Mr. Chamberlin, of Montreal, to start as a candidate against him. He would, of course, most decidedly prefer to see the constituency represented on the floor of the House by such a staunch and able gentleman as Mr. Chamberlin. But he had never worked to bring Mr. Chamberlin out as a candidate. Mr. Chamberlin had very many friends in the county, and he knew his position better than he (Mr. Cartier) did. But he had certainly expressed his preference to see the county represented by a more staunch and reliable member; and the events of last session had shown that he was not very far astray in his opinion.
(Cheers and laughter.)
He had now, in regular order, reached the events of last session; and he would proceed to show that when the hon. member for Missisquoi crossed the floor, he had deserted his party. He begged to call the particular attention of the House to what he was now about to say, inasmuch as he would proceed to relate the circumstances which preceded Mr. O’Halloran’s vote on the Hon. Mr. Galt’s motion of want of confidence. The hon. gentleman from Missisquoi had thought it proper to endeavor to prove to his constituents, by his conduct at the commencement of the session that he was going to adhere to his political pledges. This was shown by the fact that he attended the caucuses of the Opposition party.
These meetings, as the House knew, were held as well for the purpose of selecting leaders as to decide on divers matters of party policy. Well, the Opposition had its caucuses, and the hon. member for Missisquoi had attended them,
Mr. O’HALLORAN— Do not say them. Say one. I attended the first.
Hon. MR. CARTIER said he was quite willing to accept the hon. gentleman’s explanation, for he felt that— before he was done— he would prove enough to astonish the hon. member and his friends. The hon. gentleman said he only attended one caucus. Well, this was quite enough to show that he was considered one of the party, and was, in fact, acting openly with the party which held that caucus.
It was sufficient proof the hon. member’s adherence to the political creed of the party then met together. And this was not all. Before the election of Speaker it was understood that the hon. member for South Oxford was to be the candidate, and the party determined to oppose his election. The had heard very soon after this that it was not the member for South Oxford but the members for South Wentworth who was to be the candidate.
Mr. RYMAL— Not me at all.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said he had intended to refer to the member for the other Riding of Wentworth, Mr. Notman. He did not mean the hon. gentleman who had just spoken, because he did not think the Government had got so low.
Mr. RYMAL— It is the fashion to acknowledge compliments. I therefore thank the hon. gentleman for the compliment.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said he meaned to convey the idea that he did not suppose the government was so hard up.
Well, when the Opposition learned that Mr. Notman was to be proposed, they concluded to let him go in by acclamation; but the hon. gentleman opposite took another course, and selected the present Speaker as their candidate, and the Opposition then determined to oppose the selection. After the selection of the Speaker, the Opposition then determined to bring before the House and the country, and to express their opinion on what they considered the unconstitutional formation of the government. Throughout the whole of the course then taken, the hon. member for Missisquoi was with the Opposition.
(Hear, hear, and cheers.)
Mr. O’HALLORAN— No, you were with me.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— The hon. gentleman says I was with him. That, certainly, is a somewhat original way of interpreting his own conduct. I feel, however, that the country will fully appreciate our relative positions.
(Laughter and cheers.)
After the vote of the House had been taken on this last question, the next which arose was that resulting from the extraordinary appointment of Judge Sicotte, which the Opposition determined to condemn.
He (Mr. Cartier) spoke to the hon. member for Missisquoi on the subject, who very frankly replied that he could not vote for the motion condemning the Government on that point. Mr. O’Halloran, on that occasion told him (Mr. Cartier) his reason for the action he intended to take; and this reason was that when he was a supporter of the Macdonald-Sicotte Government he had done something for Mr. Sicotte, and was not well treated by him, and that he (Mr. O’Halloran) desired in return for that ill-treatment, to do what would be a kind action towards Mr. Sicotte.
He (Mr. Cartier) told him that he was wrong in his appreciation of the case, inasmuch as there was a great public principle at stake; and this sympathizing manner was, in his opinion, incorrect. But the hon. member for Missisquoi said to him, in distinct terms, in reply, “Bring a direct motion of want of confidence in the Government, and I will vote for it.”
(Hear, hear and cheers.)
The vote on the motion in reference to Mr. Sicotte’s appointment was soon afterwards taken and as they knew, was lost by a majority of two. The House had been told in the Speech from the Throne, that measures would bet taken to equalize the revenue and expenditure, and this not having been done, the members of the Opposition thought the House had not been well treated by the government, and that faith had not been kept with the country. This being the sentiment of the Opposition, he (Mr. Cartier) intimated to the hon. member for Missisquoi that a motion of want of confidence would be brought forward as soon as the Hon. Finance Minister should move that the house go into Committee of Ways and Means. He told him that the Opposition did not wish to propose the motion, on the introduction of the bill of supply, not desiring to keep back the supplies. The hon. gentleman said the proper time was on the proposal to go into committee of Ways and Means. The Finance Minister made his motion on the 6th. On the week previous, Thursday, he (Mr. Cartier) went to the hon. member for Missisquoi, and showed him the motion of want of confidence which had been drafted by himself and the hon. members for Kingston and Sherbrooke, before any other member of the Opposition had seen it. The motion had been drawn up in three forms. It was considered best to present a motion which, containing the words of His Excellency’s speech, declared the Finance Minister had not fulfilled his pledge to bring the expenditure within the income.
He (Mr. Cartier) believing the hon. member for Missisquoi a slippery character, thought best to show him the motion, and hear his opinion thereon. He read and approved of it.
— He pretended, in his explanation last night, that he told me he would not vote for the motion. It was shown him the week previous to its presentation, and he was told its success depended upon his vote. I came to the hon. member for Sherbrooke, and stated he approved of the motion. Suspecting him, however, and wishing to be very careful in my dealings with him, I told my honorable friends the members for Sherbrooke and Kingston, that I would bring him forward to my seat between them, to have his opinion and pledge in their presence also.
(Opposition cheers and laughter.)
I regret that his allusion to the private conversation between us compels me to enter into these details. The member for Missisquoi advanced to the seat, when I put into his hand the three different forms of the motion. He read them, and said the best was the one which was ultimately proposed. Circumstances prevented the bringing forward of the motion on the Friday following, as intended. On the Monday after, desiring to test the hon. gentleman’s sentiments, I waited upon him, and said I hoped he would not absent himself till after the vote on the above motion, which would be taken, if possible, without a long discussion, telling him his vote was necessary to our success. He replied, “Cartier, bring on the vote as quick as possible, because on Friday night I have to go,” (leave town.) I answered it might be very difficult to bring on the vote that night, as there might be some unavoidable delay; but that if detained, he could leave on Saturday morning, which would enable him to arrive at Montreal in time to reach his destination. He replied, if that were the case, it would do. Well, on Tuesday following, I again spoke to the hon. gentleman, saying the thing is all right— our friends are ready for the vote. On the same night I was told he would not vote as was expected. I replied I could not believe it till I heard so from his own lips. On Wednesday I was told positively that the hon. gentleman had been converted to the Ministerial side. I requested the ex-Finance Minister to have an interview with him, after which the latter reported to me that the hon. member for Missisquoi had certainly gone over to the other side; his reason being his fear that if the present Ministry were defeated, a Cartier-Macdonald or Macdonald-Cartier Administration would be formed once more. I observed; I am sorry he has taken that decision; he will injure himself more than us.
I saw him at four o’clock in the Hall, and remarked: I presume you know that the hon. Mr. Galt had informed me of what passed between you; I am sorry for it. He replied; “Cartier, I could not come to any other conclusion. As a political man I must look ahead.” I said, what do you mean by looking ahead. He answered; Well, though I don’t like this Government, yet, if it be defeated, we shall have the old Cartier-Macdonald one again.
(Hear, hear, and Ministerial cheers.)
Mr. O’HALLORAN— Was not that candid?
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— It would been more candid if you had said so the week before. (Cheers.)
Mr. DUFRESNE— More honest.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— The hon. member for Missisquoi further observed to me— there is Brown, in Upper Canada, who is a Governmental impossibility, and you in Lower Canada, are a Governmental impossibility.
He was glad to have an opportunity of repeating this in presence of the hon. member for South Oxford. I told the hon. member for Missisquoi that my position was different from that of Mr. Brown. He asked how. I replied that hon. gentleman acquired his position in Upper Canada owing to the prejudices against Lower Canada/ I have often said so and regret it is true, as that hon. gentleman possessed great ability and energy, and could have made his way without creating prejudice in Upper against Lower Canada. I further told the hon. member for Missisquoi that I was supported as a politician by the land interest, by the mercantile or commercial class and by the clergy, and there was no French Canadian occupying a seat in this House who commanded so much the confidence of Protestants and of all other denominations as myself.
— I said this, and if there is any other member of the party who posses more this general confidence, I shall resign my leadership in his favor.
Then I observed— “If this government be defeated, some one must be called in to form a new one, and if there be a stronger man in Lower Canada, and if I be a governmental impossibility, I shall not form part of that government.” He remarked: “I see ahead, and in such case, it would be necessary you should be there, and I would not like to bring that about.” I replied: “I believe you are wrong, and you ought to have told us this sooner.” After that he voted for the ministry. I will keep this motion, which the hon. gentleman advised us to propose, as a political document. I keep all political papers and have kept such ever since I entered this House in 1840; and none of these papers shall be disposed of till ten years after the close of my political career.
Mr. McKELLAR— Have you any of the year 1837.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— Yes, sir. We had troubles in Lower Canada in that year, to which you owe responsible government, which you are now desirous of overturning. I am not responsible for those troubles, but out of them you got responsible government, for which you never worked.
Then, there could be no doubt that the hon. member for Missisquoi put himself down as one of the Opposition on the division list, in the presence of the hon. member for Compton. I have charged him with having acted with us as a party man, attended our caucuses, and taken part in our deliberations intended to damage the government, while he never objected to any of our acts. He cannot deny this. He went over the division list, and set himself down as a supporter of the motion of want of confidence proposed by the hon. member for Sherbrooke, and afterwards voted against it as a deserter from our ranks.
Again, to prove that what the hon. gentleman said yesterday as to his not having belonged to our party is incorrect, I will read the following note from him to myself:—
“My dear Sir— I am compelled to leave the city on account of an extraordinary term of the Court of Queen’s Bench, in Bedford; but I have paired off with D. A. Macdonald for the next ten days, so that the vote will not be affected by my absence.”
(Laughter and cheers.)
The Hon. Mr. Cartier concluded his able speech by maintaining he had proved by oral epistolary and direct testimony, that the hon. member for Missisquoi belonged to the Opposition at the time in question, and had deserted his party and his friends.
Mr. O’HALLORAN said he must return his compliments to the hon. members for Montreal East, for the two hours’ notice he had just given him.
He expected from the preface to the speech of that hon. gentleman that he was about to make some awful disclosures, that he was about to establish as incontestable evidence that he (Mr. O’Halloran) had made a pledge, and that he had, in some unusual way given his faulty to the Cartier-Macdonald Administration.
He fancied that the hon. member for Montreal East was about to prove that he had been treasonable to his dealt in some dishonourable way.
The House, however, would see how poorly the Hon. Mr. Cartier had succeeded in verifying his accusations. In order to prove that he (the speaker) was bound hand and foot like the rest of his followers, the Hon. Mr. Carter had given a detailed history of his connection with this House, and of the course he had pursued since he had been a member. By a process of reasoning only known to himself, the Hon. Mr. Cartier had undertaken to demonstrate that he (Mr. O’Halloran) must have been a supporter of the Cartier-Macdonald Administration, from the simple fact that on every important occasion he voted against that party.
(Hear, hear and laughter.)
The very first vote he had given against the Cartier-Macdonald party was in the election of Mr. Turcotte ad Speaker of this House.
The next vote he gave was that by which the Government of the hon. member for Montreal East was defeated, namely the vote on the Militia Bill. Not only had he voted on this question against that party, but his vote was the very first one given in the negative.
But notwithstanding these facts, the Hon. Mr. Cartier claimed him as a supporter. He had not only helped to turn that party out of power, but he voted in favor of every important question brought up by the Macdonald-Sicotte Administration subsequently. The Journals of the House would show that immediately previous to the dissolution, he had a motion of want of confidence on the notice paper; at the same time he would not desert his party and identify himself with their opponents, so he voted against the motion of the hon. member for Kingston.
The hon. member for Montreal East had travelled over very extensive ground, and had gone over the history of his last election to demonstrate that he (the speaker) must belong to his party. Well, the Hon. Mr. Cartier had done everything in his power to defeat his return to Parliament. His (Mr. O’Halloran’s) power of perception must be dull indeed if the Hon. Mr. Cartier could impose upon him the belief that he was a friend, “when he was doing his best to defeat his election.
The Hon. Mr. Cartier had alluded to his pairing off when the vote was to be taken on the resolution of the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe. The facts were these. He was compelled by business engagements to be absent, and had paired off with the hon. member for Glengarry. He intimated to the hon. member for Montreal East that he had done so; but was there anything in that to indicate that he owed that gentleman fealty? Not at all. That occurrence took place at the very first opening of the session, and until the last motion he was prepared to vote non-confidence. But at the last moment he was compelled to make a choice, and as he considered that the return of the Cartier-Macdonald Ministry to power, would be a calamity to the country, he voted against that party.
The hon. Mr. Cartier knew and recollected— as his memory was so excellent— that by a process of trickery he had obtained from him a pledge to support the motion of want of confidence. The motion was very carefully worded before being submitted to the House. But the hon. Mr. Cartier could not deny that he procured his pledge through trickery and sharpness.
Now, the House would see by the confession of the Hon. Mr. Cartier, that he considered him (the speaker) anything but a follower; else he would not have been compelled to resort to such extraordinary means to obtain the pledge from him.
The member for Montreal East was very sharp, but he (the speaker) was a little sharp also, and knew well enough what the hon. member was aiming at when he required a pledge. As the hon. Mr. Cartier prided himself on having a good memory, he (Mr. O’H.) would call upon him to say what passed when that gentleman showed him the resolution in question. He showed him (Mr. O’H’) the resolution and asked what he thought of it. He (Mr. O’H.) saw it was an extract from the Address of His Excellency, when opening the session, and observed “the Finance Minister must be hard to please if he is not pleased on his own Address. This was said in a secular manner, and was the only expression he used either the one way or the other. He (Mr. O’H.) knew the hon. Mr. Cartier was endeavoring to trap him, but sharp as he was, he was not sharp enough to do that.
This affair occurred a week before the vote was taken. The House would remember the statement he had made last night as to the transaction between himself and the member for Montreal West, in which he had acted with the utmost good faith. The member for Montreal West did not deny the accuracy of that statement; and the House would thus see that he was correct as to the conversations that took place with regard to the best mode of preventing the coalition from coming into power were perfectly correct. When he stated to the member for Montreal East the reasons why he would not support his motion, he gave him the true reasons— namely:— That he was so distasteful to the country, that the country would dread the restoration of this Government; that they would bear with any other Government rather would bear with any other Government rather than suffer the calamity of having the coalition again coming into office.
The hon. gentleman had stated that he was permitted to be elected by his (Hon. Mr. Cartier’s) friends. How was it he could not put his finger on any one of his constituents, who had ever found fault with the course he had pursued during last session.
Then, referring to the question of the division list, he asked the hon. member for North York to state whether or not he made up such a list, as had been represented by the hon. member for Montreal East.
Mr. WRIGHT replied that he himself (Mr. Wright) drew up the list, and placed the hon. member’s name among the Opposition. The hon. gentleman (Mr. O’Halloran) did not object to it the time, nor, on the other hand, did he say it was correct.
Mr. O’HALLORAN.— Was it done in my presence, or was it before it was shown to me?
Mr. WRIGHT.— The list was made out pretty fully by myself, with the hon. gentleman’s name as stated, and I went to him to get information with reference to some doubtful names on the Opposition.
Mr. O’HALLORAN said the accusation brought against him by the hon. member for Montreal East was that he (Mr. O’Halloran) had made out a list with his own name among the Opposition, which accusation he had proved to be unfounded. The fact of his name having been placed wrongly upon a division list was one of the last things he ever expected to find brought up to show that he was a pledged member of the Opposition, for it was well known that hon. gentlemen often amused themselves with the pastime of making up division lists.
He denied that he was ever a partizan of the hon. member for Montreal East. Members on the held views in common upon most questions, but an Opposition was composed of all sorts of material. He never belonged to the regular Opposition party, but was simply a party in Opposition. The hon. gentleman, too, had stated that he had attended the Opposition caucuses, but he had forced him to acknowledge his error, in endeavoring to convey the impression that he had attended more than one of such meetings, and he attended that one, not as a member of a partisan Opposition, but as one having objections to the Government as then constituted.
The hon. gentleman had acknowledged, in his two hours’ speech, that he (Hon. Mr. Cartier) sought him (Mr. O’Halloran) in reference to his vote upon Hon. Mr. Galt’s motion, which confirmed the truth of his statement of last evening, that he never acknowledged the leadership of the hon. member for Montreal East.
If he had acknowledged him as a leader, he would not have avoided him, but would have sought an interview with him to explain why he could no longer give him his vote.
Hon. Mr. ALLEYN commenced by saying that, whatever might be the opinion of the House with regard to the statements which had been made here, during the last two days, the country very generally would hold the opinion that Responsible Government had been given to us too soon, and that we had better go back to the days of a Governor and Council.
Certain facts had become patent during the course of the discussion. For instance, it had been stated, and not denied, that a place had been offered to an hon. member of this House if he would absent himself from this House and refrain from giving his vote on a test-question. This statement was made over the signature of a gentleman who had borne Her Majesty’s commission, and who, most certainly, was deserving of credit.
It had been said that a statement should be able to keep his countenance but not his promises.
It was, however, indeed astonishing how the hon. Premier had managed to keep his countenance when, on the first day of this session, he made the usual formal motion against any attempt to bribe or corrupt say hon. member of this House
It was, he repeated, astonishing when we considered the offer made through the dismissed Brigade-Major to the hon. member for Levis. As a member of this House he (Mr. Alleyn) regretted sincerely that these statements had come out in such a substantial form that the country would believe the greater part if not the whole of them. They were calculated not only to shake the public morality of the country but also to injure the morality of private individuals. He did not see how any hon. member on the opposite side could get up and charge former Governments with corruption, while the Government they supported was charged with these things, supported as they were by corroborative evidence and undenied as they were. He wondered indeed how hon. gentlemen on the Treaty Benches had managed to obtain the support of these political phrarisees who were always boasting of their own purity and condemning the uncleanness of the publicans of the Opposition. He would now proceed to offer a few observations on the Address; and he must say that the Speech contained a great variety of subjects and was well adapted to catch votes. He was surprised, however, as well at some of the commissions which he remarked as at some of the subjects which it contained. On the subject of emigration should receive the attention of the Government of this country it was now. The stream of emigration from the Britsih Isles was steady and continuous; very many persons were coming here from the United States, while on the other hand many were leaving Lower Canada. It was to be feared there a set hostility to the policy of inducing new settlers to come in this Province. On the occasion of the recent Government dinner or demonstration— or the Government disturbance, as it was not [text ineligible]— the Hon. Minister of Agriculture had declared himself a follower of the Hon. Mr. Papineau. Now he (Mr. Alleyn) had no desire to say anything derogatory or disrespectful of the gentleman who had so long been the Lower Canadian leader; but this would say— that his policy on emigration was wanting in liberal views. Some thirty and forty years ago, when we had neither railways nor great steamboat lines to facilitate access to the West, if emigrants had been attracted to Lower Canada, all our waste lands would have been filled up, and we should have had nothing to fear from Representation by Population. Now, when he (Mr. Alleyn) observed the studied omission of any allusion to the subject in the Speech; when he heard the Minister of Agriculture going back forty years for a policy; and when he recollected what that of Mr. Papineau had been on this subject, he could not do otherwise than charge the government with retroceding in their policy on a matter of vital importance. The hon. Minister of Agriculture had, on the same occasion, expressed his regret that Lower Canada could not have a “homogenous emigration.”
Now, strongly as he (Mr. Alleyn) was connected by ties of blood and friendship with the people of Lower Canada, he must express his dissent from the policy of settling Lower Canada with an exclusively homogenous population, and he could only look on the language of the hon. gentleman in question as an appeal to small prejudices, inasmuch as he knew their principles were repudiated by a vast number of his countrymen.
The hon. gentleman (Mr. Alleyn) then proceeded to comment on the first paragraph of the Address: that relating to the Militia. This was a most important subject. Was had broken out in Europe, and we did not know when it might end. The condition of our own continent was, he need not say, one of civil war and confusion. Therefore, the question of our defences was one of the most important we could be called upon to consider. The course the Government had pursued in reference to it was one which could but give cause for regret. Their first principle— that which they held on entering office—was to repudiate the whole militia defence. Next they introduced a bill, of which the then hon. member for Peterboro had charge, and which was so unsatisfactory that, during the following session of Parliament, that hon. gentleman himself voted want of confidence in them for their conduct on this subject more particularly. Another bill was then introduced; and this was followed last session by another. In this city dissatisfaction prevailed among the volunteers on account of the discouraging line of conduct held towards them, and the very great sacrifice they were compelled to make. There was no [text ineligible] expressed on the militia. Indeed, the whole tenor of the Speech was vague and indefinite in the extreme. After being two years in power, hon. gentleman as the Ministerial benches had nothing [text ineligible] definite to lay before the House. There was at least this about the Macdonald-Sicotte Government— they had a programme; and, in connexion with the question of representation by population, they promised a readjustment in both sectioned of the Province. But it appeared as if they policy of the party was on a wilding-scale, for they slipped away from the question altogether and had not a single word to say about it. It was not an omission only— it was an abandonment. The hon. Commission of Crown Lands, once such a stout champion of the principle, had recently said it was impracticable. In former days, too, the then Opposition— the party at present in power— were in the habit of talking a great deal about the inquiry of ruling Upper Canada with a Lower Canada majority. What were they doing now? What was the state of affairs at present?
Upon whom did the present Government rely for a majority? What was the position in which Lower Canada was placed?
Hon. Mr. DORION— Try!
Hon. Mr. ALLEYN said he heard so many strange things within the last few days, that he did not wonder at anything; but, with all due respect to the hon. Attorney-General East, he would beg leave to doubt the opinion expressed by the exclamation to which he had just given atterance.
(Cheers and laughter.)
There was another strange feature in the conduct of hon. gentlemen on the Ministerial benches. They actually went to beg support from their antagonists, and not from their friends.
Was this worthy of a great party? It might suit the “corruptionists,” but, most decidedly, it was out of character in the hon. gentleman who claimed to be the very personification of political virtue.
It being six o’clock the Speaker left the Chair.
After the recess—
Hon. Mr. ALLEYN went on to say that the great Upper Canadian party, on the other side of the House, had not attempted to carry out those principles which they so loudly enunciated in opposition. They had come back to they House in increased numbers, and yet they had abandoned their own favourite questions.
It was, no doubt, very pleasing to him (Mr. Alleyn) as a Lower Canadian, to find the the doctrine of Representation by Population was set aside; but at the same time, he felt sure that its abandonment would ten to weaken the confidence of hon. gentlemen on the back benches in their leaders. Where, too, was the great retrenchment policy of the party in power? It consisted, merely, in the dismissed of a few clerks and employes; and the Government could not even take to themselves the credit go having well applied the comparatively small sum thus economized. Their desire, we were told, was to avoid all lavish expenditure, and to bring the outlay within the smallest possible limit. But what did we find in the Speech? There was not a single public work or improvement which could serve the purpose of catching a vote or influencing a voter which was not mentioned.
It was really wonderful to behold the anxiety which hon gentlemen shewed to cultivate and open up the Ottawa district.
Then, we had an allusion to the Intercolonial Railway. Here again was a work which would involve great expenditure— not that he (Mr. Alleyn) was opposed to it. On the contrary, he was in favor of it— he had long been in favor of it; and had spoken in favor of it a demonstration in this city several years ago, before he was a member of this House.
But while this paragraph of the Address held out a hope—to the friends of the project, it carefully avoided any reference to its practicability—an omission which could not be attributed to the vast of information, as so many surveys of the route had taken place. Perhaps this was in order to let the hon. Attorney General East down as easily as possible, for the particular opinions held by that hon. gentleman with respect to this question were well known. Of course, it was gratifying to see that a promise was made of something to be done in this matter, as it might tend relieve this Province from the charges of bad faith so freely made against it in the sister provinces.
We should be particularly guarded in endeavoring to preserve our reputation, as well as our credit from reproach; and it should be borne in mind that during the past year our debentures had ranged lower than those of the sister colonies in all the paragraphs of the Address, he (Mr. Alleyn) had cited, he saw this fact, that the Government felt no hesitation whatever, in launching into great undertakings which the great Upper Canadian party urged should not be undertaken in our present financial condition. He approved of the suggestion for a system of enquiry into marine disasters occurring within our waters. With regard to a recent calamity of this nature, he believed that a gentleman who had recently served on one of the Government commissions of enquiry had been sent to commence an investigation, although he could not say that the gentleman is question was, from his pursuits, particularly adapted to conducted an enquiry into the disaster in question.
The hon. gentleman then referred, at considerable length, to the Government commissions of enquiry, and alluded to the dismissal of the Sheriff of Montreal. In connexion with this affair he cited the opinion of Judge Aylwin to the effect that the commission of enquiry, in consequence of which that dismissal had taken place, was illegal. He commented on the judicious course of our criminal law in the case of a person accused of an offence. There was, in the first place the preliminary examination before a magistrate there was next the finding of the Grand Jury, and in the last instance the trial before a petit jury. How different was this from the system of selecting your own commissioners, trying the person against whom charges were brought, not by his peers but by these commissioners, and then acting upon the result of that investigation without giving to the party interested the benefit of a fair trial? The hon. gentleman also commented in eloquent terms on the Morphy commission, censuring the practice of advertising for evidence against any man; and expressing his surprise that, notwithstanding the state in which the Sheriff was, an adjournment of the proceedings had been refused. He would not now detain the House any longer; but would remark that, if he had spoken in rather severe terms of several members of the Government, there was one to whom he desired to do full justice, and that was the Hon. President of the Council.
That hon. gentleman certainly deserved the gratitude of his supporters for his settlement of the Quebec Fire Loan. The loan was about $100,000 secured by act of Parliament on first-class mortgages. There was to be added to this some 18 years’ interest which, at four per cent, would give a total of about $175,000. Well, the arrangement was that the interest was to be remitted and twenty per cent of the principal struck off— thus making a present of about $100,000 to the constituents of the hon. gentleman.
Hon. Mr. DORION— You expressed yourself in favor of the remission of the whole, last year.
Hon. Mr. ALLEYN said he freely admitted this. He was only complimenting the Hon. President of the Council for having redeemed his pledge to the best of his ability, and he certainly deserved the thanks of his supporters for what he had done.
(Laughter and cheers.)
Mr. W. FERGUSON said he had a few remarks to make on the Address. It was, no doubt, a very tempting and extensive bill of fare; and, if it was carried out, in honesty and sincerity, it would, no doubt, do a great deal of good. But he (Mr. Ferguson) like many other hon. members, had no confidence in the desire of the Government to fulfill their promises. Their past history most certainly did not justify us in believing that they would do so. Taking up the first paragraph of this Address, he would simply ask— What has the Government done for the Militia? They had done nothing whatever. Nothing at all had been done to organize or render effective that which must, in reality, be our great reliance in case of necessary— he alluded to the Secretary Militia. A law had been introduced last session to provide for its organization; but no step had yet been taken to carry it into effect. Then, with regard to the officers of our defensive force, it could not be denied that efforts of the most flagrant kind were made to turn them into mere political agents of the Government, and thus destroy their usefulness. This was amply proven by the statements made to the House within the last few days. The hon. gentleman also commented upon the discouraging course pursued towards the volunteer force, including the fact that the communications of several officers of the force of Kingston had been allowed to remain unanswered and unnoticed. The hon. gentleman continued his comment on the Address at some length. The word “bribery” had been mentioned often in this discussion. Those in high position, guilty of this offence, could not be too severely, denounced, considering the severe punishment meted out to persons guilty of it in humble stations. He thought the Ministry, in characterizing the charges made against them, of attempting to seduce hon. members from their party allegiance, as “tittle tattle.” treated the House very cavalierly indeed. Nothing had been said in the Speech respecting the encouragement of arts and manufactures in Canada, these being the most important interests of the Province. We could not live exclusively by our agriculture, and nothing could tend more to advance the interests of the country than our arts and manufacturers. No one could deny that much of our prosperity was attributable to the protective duties on favor of our manufactures. Yet the preference of the government was for free trade. This would be a bad policy for Canada. The New England States afforded an example of the wisdom of the protective policy, and if our government took a leaf from their book, they would give every encouragement to our manufactures, and to the development of the resources of the country. The government might have wisely availed themselves of the present excellent opportunity to introduce a branch of industry, calculated to be of great benefit to the country, the culture of flax. The could easily have encouraged the culture of this valuable staple, yet nothing had been done in this regard. The government had boasted of retrenchement in the expenses of the administration of justice, but he was aware that in places in Upper Canada, it consisted in throwing the expense of the trial of petty offenses, formerly borne by the general grant, on the several municipalities themselves. This was no retrenchment at all. Nothing was promised in the Speech in regard to opening up colonization roads. Why were they neglected? The government had taken much credit to themselves for the progress in the Ottawa buildings, when the fact was the Opposition deserved all the credit, having urged an unwilling government to go on with these works. Nothing was said about Representation by Population, formerly an important subject with hon. gentlemen now in office. Had they deserted it? Or, if not, why had promises had been made which there was no intention to perform? The government had, however, wisely claimed no credit for the condition of our finances, and made no promises in this regard. He believed that the growth and prosperity of the country, coupled with the economical administration of finances, could alone bring the Province out of its difficulties.
Mr. TASCHEREAU commenced by condemning in eloquent and appropriate language the doctrines enunciated by the hon. Solicitor General in his speech of the evening before, when he arrogated to his own party all the merit of sound political demeanor. It was a pity, however, that while the hon. gentleman talked so loudly about good breeding, he should interlard his discourse with such terms as “blackguard” and “rowdy”— this language being so thoroughly antagonistic to the principles he professed to advocate. He had no desire to enter again into a recital of the details of his explanations relative to Major de Bellefeuille’s case; but he regretted to say his language had been misunderstood by a portion of the press, inasmuch as he had been made to say that it was at dinner, at the Premier’s house that one of these conversations took place. It was not at dinner nor after a dinner that it took place, nor had he said no. The other conservation took place in the corridor of this House. He would not now comment upon the manner in which the statements made in connexion with this affair were met, but the House and the country would have their opinion of the facts stated by the hon. members for Levis and Vaudreuil. and by himself— not, indeed, that he believed that a number of witnesses was at all necessary to entitle the charges involved, to belief.
He repelled, in eloquent terms, the insinuations about unbecoming conduct and plotting, in which the hon. Solicitor General had so freely indulged, and proceeded to vindicate the name and reputation of the Lower Canadian party, who had won the esteem which they enjoyed from the public by their own character and conduct, from the sneers of the democracy on the opposite side of the House.
He referred to the paragraph in the Address, which had reference to the gold mines, and said that if the Government did its duty, there was no doubt whatever but that these mines would turn out a vast source of wealth for us. He hoped the Commissioner of Crown Lands would come down with a measure which would protect any rights which should be protect any rights which should be protected; but which, at the same time would develop the great natural riches of the locality. In conclusion he briefly referred to the course of conduct of the party in power, and pointed out that the country generally was becoming cognizant of their short-comings, and was proved by the issue of the recent contest in South Leeds.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER arose to speak.
The SPEAKER, in the usual form, announced “The question is on the second paragraph of the Address.”
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said he supposed the usual etiquette was, when an hon. member had the floor, to allow him to go on.
(Cries of “Spoken, spoken.”)
Hon. Mr. BROWN said the hon. gentleman had already spoken, and was now evidently only trying to hunt up a speaker.
(Cries of “Oh, Oh.”)
He (Mr. Brown) raised the question of order on the ground that the hon. gentleman had already spoken.
The SPEAKER— The hon. member has already spoken.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said he had spoken on a personal matter— a question of fact; but he had not yet had an opportunity of seeking on the second paragraph of the Address.
(Cries of “Spoken,” “order, “ and “Chair”)
The SPEAKER said the second paragraph was the only question which could be before the House.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER begged to tell the hon. member for South Oxford that he had the floor, and intended to keep it.
(Cheers and cries of “order” and “Chair.”)
It was his intention to make a motion of adjournment, if it became necessary under the circumstances to do so. He wished, however, in the first place, to put a question to the Speaker. Having only spoken on a question of fact, in reply to the hon. member for Missisquoi—
(Cries of “Order” and “Chair”.)
The SPEAKER— The hon. member is out of order.
Hon. Mr. BROWN did not think it was seemly in the leader of a large party to persist in speaking under these circumstances. Nor was it justifiable to propose to prolong this debate by moving an adjournment at nine o’clock.
Hon. Mr. GALT said that his hon. friend Mr. Cartier was certainly entitled, as the leader of a large party, to some respect and to a far hearing from the Hope when he got up to make a motion. The remarks of the hon. member for South Oxford were uncalled for; and he really hoped hon. gentlemen would not refuse to hear the hon. gentlemen who had, as yet, only spoken on a matter of fact and not on the Address.
(Cries of “order.”)
Hon. Mr. CARTIER repeated that he would make a motion of adjournment, if necessary. He had called upon an hon. friend to speak, who happened not to be ready; and he now wished to be heard.
(Interruption and cries of “Chair.”)
Did hon. gentlemen then really wish to force him to make a motion of adjournment?
Hon. J. S. MACDONALD made some remarks, censuring the protracting of the debate.
Mr. POWELL rose to corroborate the statement made by the hon. member for Montreal East. He had intended to have spoken; but did not anticipate that he would have been obliged to do so soon; and he therefore had not at hand a scrap-book from which he wished to make a few quotations for the benefit of the hon. member for South Oxford.
(Hear, hear and laughter.)
Mr. JOS DUFRESNE moved that the hon. member for Montreal East (Mr. Cartier) be heard.
Hon. Mr. DORION made a few remarks, charging the Opposition with protracting the debate.
Mr. DUNKIN seconded Mr. Dufresne’s motion. In so doing, he desired to explain that in his own opinion it would be far better if we followed the sound English practice of not having a lengthy debate on the Address; but since we followed another practice, he believed it was right that the hon. member for Montreal East, holding the position which he held, should be heard at once. He would much prefer, however, that this kind of motion should not go upon our journals.
After some debate of a conversational nature— the motion was withdrawn on the understanding that the Hon. Mr. Cartier be heard.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said he intended to review the policy of the Government as far as it could be gathered from the Speech from the Throne. The House was called upon to thank His Excellency for the assurance that the had taken steps for carrying into effect the acts passed last session for the organization of the militia force, and that he would continue his best efforts for the attainment of so important an object. They knew those acts were very defective, in fact a failure, and therefore no good had been or could be derived from them. If there were any good points in those measures they owed their origin to the bill of the hon. member for Kingston which had been rejected. But the Government had not the control of the House, and could not have passed even their militia measures without assistance from the Opposite. Perhaps such a thing was never known in England as a Government having to depend on the assistance of the Opposition for the passing of its own measures.
It was his duty to state to the House and the country that His Excellency had not been properly advised in regard to those measures. The next paragraph spoke of the approach of the time when notice in regard to the Reciprocity Treaty must be given, etc. He would ask the Hon. Receiver General what was the time in question.
Hon. Mr. ROWLAND said it was a matter of some doubt. He believed the treaty went into operation in June, and that in that month the notice must be given. It all depended on the time at which the treaty really went into operation.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER would like to know the precise day for giving this notice.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAND thought this was more a question of law than otherwise, which he could not take the responsibility of answering.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER was desirous of information on this important point, which affected seriously the interests of this country, and particularly as the matter had been brought up in the Imperial Parliament and Congress of the United States.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON said the hon. gentleman had been too long in Parliament not to know that it was unusual for governments to be called upon to make any statements of policy at this stage more explicit than that contained in the Speech from the Throne under consideration. He though the announcements as to the policy of the government were quite as explicit as any contained in similar deliverances, while the hon. member for Montreal East was at the head of the government. He did not think the hon. gentleman could want any information from him on the subject of this treaty. If any proposition relative thereto should be submitted to the House, all the information in the possession of the government would be given, and all details discussed. He believed it would be improper, irregular and unusual to ask the government to make any such statement as that called for, at this stage of the proceedings.
Hon. J. A. MACDONALD did not think it unusual at all. The same practice prevailed in the House of Lords, where on the casual mention of Denmark, Lord Derby asked for information respecting the Dano-German imbroglio, whereupon Lord John Russell gave all the particulars in his possession for the information of the House. The subject, in the present instance was of great importance, and the hon. gentlemen, the House and the country generally should know how long the treaty has to run, and when the notice would be given. Information should be given at the earliest day possible.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON said the Government would communicate all it knew on the subject at the earliest day. It would be competent for the House to move for all the papers in connection with the subject at a future stage.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER was not satisfied with this answer.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON declined to go into particulars, or give his opinion, on the ground that, at the present stage of the agitation in the States and elsewhere, in regard to this treaty, such would be prejudicial to the interests of Canada.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER could understand and appreciate the motive of the hon. gentleman as now explained. All he wanted was to obtain information to enable him to speak on the subject, which he knew the hon. gentleman would give.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON hoped the hon. gentleman would support the Government in its efforts to obtain such a renewal of the treaty as would benefit the trade of the Province.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER would support the Government so far as to obtain as great an extension of the ten years as possible.
He was aware, from personal experience, that the impression in the United States was that we got all the benefit of this treaty and they none. The Americans also believed that British manufactured goods were brought into Canada free of duty, or under such a rate as discriminated greatly in their favor as compared with the goods of the United States. He had invariably endeavored, wherever stopping, to disabuse their minds of this erroneous impression. He told them that, owing to the liberality of the British Government, we had been permitted to frame our own tariffs since 1847, and that British and American manufactured goods were and have been since then admitted on the same footing; and that the latter class enjoyed an advantage of four or five per cent over the former, owing to the greater proximity of the States to Canada, which caused the saving of freight and insurance which had to be paid on English goods. He further informed them what the increase in the imports of American goods had been greater than that in English manufacturers since the commencement of the Treaty; that the exchange in favor of this Province had not been drawn against them in gold, but in manufactures from their own hands. He had warned his American friends not to listen to the complaints of the forwarding interest in the States who were adverse to the treaty for their own private or local interest. The Senators from Maine had also complained of the competition of Canada with their own State in supplying the American market with timber and cattle; but though this might hurt local interests in some cases, the Americans must see that this trade was beneficial to their country generally. He had represented the misfortune of the American quid pro quo in the shape of their permission to resort to our fisheries— an advantage which Boston and the other Atlantic cities were daily more correctly appreciating, a fact which had greatly softened down their hostility to the Reciprocity Treaty.
He (Mr. Cartier) thought its continuance depended mainly on the fullest explanations as to the above and other advantages enjoyed by the Americans under it being given them by our Government, and upon the correction of the erroneous impression that there is a discrimination duty in favor of British goods. He did not understand what was meant by the next paragraph with reference to the promise to give attention to any measure designed for the improvement of our inland water communications, to attract to the St. Lawrence channel a larger share than hithereto enjoyed by the commerce of the Western Lakes. Would the Government say what they thought would bring about this result?
Hon. J. S. MACDONALD complained it was not right to ask the Government to explain their measures before they had time to submit them to the country. When brought forward, the hon. gentleman would have an opportunity of criticizing them.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER did not expect particulars. He wanted to know what was meant by the words improvement of our canals?
Hon. Mr. HOLTON said the hon. gentleman was asking for what he would refuse if on the Ministerial benches, knowing it was quite improper to ask for details as to the precise measures intended to be introduced.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER did not want particulars, but merely a general idea as to what was contemplated for the purposes stated. He had as great a desire as the hon. Finance Minister to attract here the western trade, and his Government had abolished the Canal tolls for that very prupose.
The hon. gentleman went on to observe that the hon. Finance Minister must have pecuniary resources to a considerable amount at his disposal, else he would not contemplate the improvement in question, which must entail heavy expense. If he had revenue in abundance, why not abolish those Canal tolls, which had driven trade away from our waters, as predicted? Was the Canal intended to be improved, the Welland?
A MINISTER— Yes.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said another good effect of abolishing the tolls would be to reassure the American Government, so as to facilitate the renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty. The American border States were contemplating the enlargement and improvement of their canals, particularly the Eric, the locks of which it was contemplated to make 26 feet 6 in. in breadth, and 222 feet in length. It would be well the Canadian Government should keep these things in mind, in enlarging the Welland, so as not to be beaten or anticipated by the Americans in these works. The Government should weight well what was likely to be the effect in regard to the Welland, of the enlargement of the Eric and Oswego canals. He was in favor of the improvement of the Welland and other works intended to increase our trade. Suppose the Americans built the immense ship canal on the south side of the Niagara, contemplated, would the object of our Finance Minister be like of accomplishments? No it would not. This canal would be of the same length as our Canadian canal, and we might expect only that trade which could not be accommodated by the former, were nothing else done to attract it. The Speaker went on to complain that the next paragraph in the Address was not explicit either— in reference to considering the expediency of providing for such improvement of “Canals constructed as would obviate the natural impediments to the navigation of the Ottawa River. What canals were meant if the Ministry intended to do something calculated to attract to the St. Lawrence route the trade of the West let them face the question boldly and not consider merely the appropriation of small sums to improve the canals already constructed meaning the Grenville and Chats canals, &c. What the Americans feared was that we should [text ineligible] to make ti navigable throughout the whole length.
He thought that, when we were threatened with the abolition of the Reciprocity Treaty and the bonding system, it was time the Government should seriously consider the question of the Ottawa Canals, West of Upper Canada lay the eight great food or grain-producing States of the Union, whose population had increased from 1850 to 1860 from five and a half to five and half a millions, and whose annual production is from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 bushels of grain. In 1860 three-fourths of this immense produce came throughout the ports of Michigan on the eastward path. In 1840 three-fourths of this immense produce cause through the ports of Michigan on the eastward path. It had been estimated that in 1870 these States would have a population of fifteen or sixteen millions, and their export would amount to 1,000,000,000 bushels of grain. Now it would be impossible for the Eric Canal, even if enlarged, to accommodate this vast trade which must seek an outlet elsewhere. Now if the Ottawa Canals were constructed, the distance by that route from Chicago to Montreal would be 363 miles shorter than the present route. In that case we should undoubtedly receive a large portion of the carrying trade of the Great West, to the material benefit of the whole Province.
The hon. gentleman often some vigorous comments on the neglect of the Government in relation to the development of our national resources, the improvement of our internal water communication, etc., all of which he urged upon their attention for prompt and prudent action, intimated his desire to be permitted to finish his speech tomorrow, it being late, and he feeling somewhat fatigued.
It was now a parter to twelve, and, as the hon. gentleman stated that there were several points on which he wished to touch, and that he would probably occupy two or three hours in so doing, it was agreed to adjourn the debate. This was done, and the House accordingly adjourned about midnight.