Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (10 August 1866)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 84-87.
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FRIDAY, Aug. 10th, 1866.
The SPEAKER took the chair at half-past ten.
Mr. McKellar moved the reception of the report of the Committee of the whole on the bill to amend and consolidate he several acts respecting the Municiapl Institutions of Upper Canada.
The bill was then read a third time.
On the motion that the bill do not pass,
Mr. Jones (South Leeds), seconded by Mr. Shanly, moved an amendment to the 73rd clause, to the effect that Inn-Keepers and Saloon-Keepers, be not disqualified form holding office in Municipal Corporations. Lost. Yeas 12; Nays 54.
Mr. Magill moved in amendment that the Mayors of cities be elected directly by the Municipal Electors on the first Monday in January of each year. The reason why he had been induced to make this motion was that he had seen no petitions from the electors of cities in favor of the proposed return to the plan of election by the council. A change should not therefore be made in a system which appeared to give general satisfaction. When the Mayor is elected directly by the people he acts as a check upon the extravagance of the council, whereas by the old system it was found that as the Mayor was always elected by the majority he had to work with that majority. It would appear by the course adopted that this House was losing confidence in the electors, in depriving them of the power of electing the chief officer of the corporation.
The amendment was carried. Yeas, 31; Nays, 24.
YEAS—Messrs. Ault, Burwell, Chambers, Cockburn, Cowan, Dufresne, (Iberville), Ferguson, (Frontenac), Fortier, Gibbs, Holton, Jones, (N. Leeds and Grenville), Knight, Laframboise, Le Boutillier, Magill, McDougall, McGiverin, McMonies, Munro, O’Halloran, Oliver, Paquet, Raymond, Ross, (Dundas), Ross, (Prince Edward), Rymal, Scatcherd, Scoble, Thompson, Wells, Wilson. —31.
NAYS—Messrs. Bellerose, Biggar, Bowman, Carling, Cartier, (Attorney-General), Cartwright, Chapais, Currier, Dickson, Howland, Jackson, Langevin, Mackenzie, (Lambton), McKellar, Morris, Parker, Poulin, Robitaille, Somerville, Stirton, Street, Sylvain, Walsh, White—24.
Hon. J.H. Cameron said this motion would necessitate the sending of the bill back to Committee. There was no machinery in it to provide for the election of Mayors by the people. The whole of the provisions regulating elections would have to be remodelled.
After a good deal of discussion, and several expedients suggested to get rid of the amendment of the hon. member for Hamilton, the bill as amended was then referred to Committee of the whole and the amendment reversed by 40 to 18.
Several other amendments were made in Committee, among which was one to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors on the Provincial Exhibition grounds, or within three hundred yards thereof during the days of holding the Exhibition.
Committee reported the bill with amendments.
On the motion for the third reading,
Mr. Magill, seconded by the Hon. Mr. Carling, moved that the franchise for cities and towns be reduced from $600 to $500 assessed actual value. Mr. Magill said the bill as it stood disfranchised a large number of very deserving persons, the very men upon whom they relied to shoulder the musket in the hour of danger. He wished that the qualification should be kept as it now is.
Hon. Mr. Carling hoped the House would accept the amendment. The bill, as it stood, would disfranchise nearly half the electors in cities and towns. Many men had a properyu worth $500 who were perfectly competent to give an intelligent vote. In fact, the small house properties in cities were not generally assessed at a higher figure.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald said they made their assessments stoo low. If they assessed their property at the proper value, they would not be deprived of their votes.
The amendment was lost. Yeas, 23; Nays, 42.
Hon. Mr. Carling moved, in amendment, that the qualification of alderman $6000 leasehold, or $3,000 freehold.
Lost. Yeas, 23; Nays, 32.
Hon. Mr. Carling seconded by Mr. Magill, moved the salaries of Police Magistrates be $1,000 instead of $1,200.
Lost. Yeas, 10, Nays, 45.
Hon. Mr. Carling regretted takng up the time of the House, but he thought it extraordinary that the Reforms of Upper Canada should raise the Parliamentary franchise at a time when Reformers in England were agitating for its reduction. The members for South Oxford, Kent, and Lambton, all country representatives, were voting to raise the electoral franchise, in cities, from seven pounds ten to nine pounds. —He moved the dix months’ hoist.
Mr. Magill seconded the amendment. —He regretted very much that the House had not devoted a couple of weeks to the bill to have passed in proper shape.
The amendment was lost. Yeas 7; nays 68.
The bill was then read a third time and passed.
On the motion for going into committee on Mr. Bourassa’s bill respecting Weights and Measures.
Mr. Dunkin moved the three months’ hoist. —Carried. Yeas 50; nays 17.
The following bills passed through Committee and were read a third time and passed:
An Act to render valid certain deeds passed before Notaries now deceased, and further to amend the 73rd chap. of the Consolidated Statutes for Lower Canada. —Mr. Lajoie.
To explain the meaning of certain provisions of the Seigniorial Act. —Mr. Archambeault.
To amend and extend the provisions of the 5th section of chap. 87 of the Consolidated Statutes for Upper Canada. —Mr. Smith (East Durham.)
TO amend the Act respecting the Inspection of leather and raw hides. —Mr. Somerville.
TO extend and explain the powers and dutes of the Trinity House of QUebec. —Hon. Mr. Alleyn.
To amend the Commissioners’ Court Act for Lower Canada (from Legislative Council.) —Mr. O’Halloran.
To amend chap. twenty-seven of the Consolidated Statutes for Lower Canada, “respecting masters and servants in the country parts” (from the Legislative Council.) —Mr. Bellerose.
On the motion for the second reading of the amendment made by the Legislative Council, to the assessment act, some discussion took place which lasted until one o’clock, when the House rose.
The Speaker took the chair at 3 o’clock.
Mr. McKenzie with the consent of the House moved that the House concur in the amendment made by the Legislative Council tot hre Asssessment aAct of Upper Canada. —Carried.
Mr. McKenzie moved that the bill as amended do pass. —Carried.
The concurrence of the House was taken in the following items of the supplementary estimates:
Additional for contingencies, Legislative Assembly, $10,000; Geological survey, $5,070.65; Preparation of Parliament House and Lieutenant-Governor’s residence at Toronto, chargeable against Upper Canada, $50,000; For erection of dwliing for Governor’s Secretary near Rideau Hall, $4,000; Bridge over Rideau Canal at the Narrows, $1,000; From Upper Canada Building Fund towards new Gaol, County of Lincoln, $6,000; ditto Frontenac, $6,000; From Normal School Building Fund, for additions and repairs to McGill Normal School, $1,350; Additional for fisheries, $5,000.
On the last item being called,
Hon. George Brown did not desire to enter into a lengthy discussion about the fisheries, but he could not allow the item to pass without remarking upon the policy of sacrificing such valuable interest as the fisheries for a trifling license fee, which according to report the fishermen did not ever pay. It was understood that the Government of the United States regarded these fisheries as a very important consideration in their favor in the Reciprocity Treaty, and by the opening of the fisheries to American fishermen for a small fee, all this consideration had been lost for any future negotiations. He hoped the Government would offer some explanations on the subject.
Hon. J.A. Macdonald explained that it was with the cordial approval of the Home Government, that the present arrangement had been made. It was a policy of deserved liberality towards those people who had gone to the expense of fitting up and preparing for the fishing of 1866, who otherwise would have been ruined by the senseless conduct of their own Government. Our authority had been asserted over these waters; it had been made plain to the Americans that they had no legal right to these waters; that they could only enter them under license form us.
In reply to Col. Haultain,
Hon. J.A. Macdoandl stated that the arrangement would last during the present fishing season. The Government of Canada had the full approbation of the British Government in the course which they had pursued. They had two points to guard to maintain their rights, and to avoid any collision or strife with the American Governent. By the system adopted they had fully attained these objects, the American fishermen had recognised the right of the Provinces by accepting the licenses, and they had been spared the ruin which would have followed their exclusion from fishing this season, while at the same time all danger of strife or angry feeling was removed.
After further discussion the item was concurred in.
On the item for the purchase and maintenance of gunboats on the Lakes and River St. Lawrence $134,060,
Hon. Mr. McDougall explained, that the commander of the forces in his discretion deemed it necessary to arm certain vessels, and gun-boats. Four of these boats were armed and equipped. The House would of course understand that in matters of this kind the government had to be huided in their action, to a great extent, by the suggestions of those who had the direct responsibility under them. There were at present two of these boats on the St. Lawrence—one at Fort Erie and the other on the Upper lakes. He also stated that there were three gun-boats sent out from England, of a very superior class, which have already arrived at Kingston. Hon. Mr. Macdougall entered into full explanations as to what had been done, and what was still contemplated in maintinaing gun-boats during the season.
Hon. Mr. Cameron had no doubt the House would readily assent to the appropriation for the payments already incurred, or to be incurred, during the eason in maintaining gun-boats which, thought fortunately not as yet required, would, in an amergency, be of very great service to the country. But the question upon which information was especially desirable regarded the cost of mainting these veels. The share which the mother country is to assume in the cost of our defences, should be arranged and placed upon some definite basis.
Hon. Mr. Macdougall said the Canadian Government had not had time to enter into any negotiation with the colonial office, in antitipation of the necessity of gun-boats, the emergency had come suddenly and had to be provided for at once. He stated the position of the Government to be, that the Imperial Government ought to bear the whole of the expenses, not only of arming and equipping, but also of furnishing the gun-boats. Correspondene was now taking place with reference to the matter.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald said it was now time that the people of this country should know precisely upon what footing the cost of defending the country was to be placed. Thye had already voted a sum equal to one-sixth of the entire revenue of the country, and if in addition to this, the people were to be called out to give their personal services and suspend the industry of the country, it would be a burden which they would find very hard to bear.
Mr. Dunkin would shrink from making any specific bargain as to proportions of expense or divisions of responsibility between Canada and the mother country, against the future. How did we know what our capacity might to bear a specific share in a responsibility without also knowing the extent of that responsibility. He thought the only proper arrangement that should be entered into was that we should do all that we reasonably can, and the Imperial Government is bound to provide for the rest whatever it may be.
Hon. Mr. Dorion argued that year after year they had been called upon to provide more and more for the defence of the country; that the present arrangements for defence were too vast to meet the incursions of land pirates, such as the Fenians, and too insignificant against the United States. He contended that the Imperial Government favored the early accomplishment of Confederation for the purpose of throwing the entire burden of defence upon the colonies.
Mr. Morris repudiated the sentiments of the former speaker. It was the second time which the doctrine of no defence being the best had been asserted on the floor of the House. He had to right to assume that the British Government designed to abandon these Provinces the moment Confederation was accomplished, when but a short time ago the leaders on both sides in the Imperial Parliament had declared the contrary.
Mr. Scoble would like to knows what the hon. member for Hochelaga desired. Did he want to enter into alliance with the United States for the protection of these colonies, or did he mean that they should form part of the American Union?
Hon. Mr. Dorion explained the ground he had taken. He assumed that the British government designed, after Confederation to throw the whole burthen of defence upon the colonies, and that they were not strong enough alone to resist the military power of the United States.
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Hon. Mr. Cameron said it was extraordinary to hear a gentleman occupying the high position of the hon. member for Hochelaga expressing such sentiments in this House. Did the hon. member mean to say that we should stand quietly by and allow our country to be wrested from us, without raising an arm in our defence? Were these the sentiments of the people of Lower Canada? (loud cries of “no! no!”)
He (Mr. C.) was sure they were not the sentiments of the people of Upper Canada, and he believed they were not the sentiments of the people of Lower Canada (hear, hear.)
It was time that all this talk about England’s quarrels not being ours should cease. So long as we shared in her protection, so long were we bound to make her quarrels ours, and to stand up for the Empire in whatever part it might be assailed (hear, hear.)
Mr. Cartwight regretted that anything should ever be said in the Canadian Parliament which would give the least countenance to the active but shallow-brained party in England who desired to sever the connection with the colonies. He argued that the possession fo the British American Colonies was essentially necessary to the maintenance of England’s pre-eminence among the nations of the world. The day she lost these American possessions she would sink to the level of a second or third rate power.
The item was then concurred in.
On the item for Barrack accommodation, $8,000,
Hon. J.S. Macdonald asked for explanations.
Mr. Galt gave it as his opinion in the matter, that the expenses should be paid by the Imperial Government, though the accommodation had to be provided, otherwise the military authortiies would not have sent the troops here. The building had been rented for three years at $4,000 per annum.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald —On the principle pursued regarding the gunboats, itwould have been cheaper to have built, than rented, accommodation for the troops. The item was concurred in, as were also the items granting to Brigade-Majors for current year, $200 each, $4,000; compensation for damages by Fenians, Upper Canada, $6,939.18; ditto, Lower Canada, $16,563.83.
The House rose at six o’clock.
The Speaker took the chair at 8 o’clock.
On motion of Hon. J.S. Macdonald an address was unanimously carried, asking His Excellency to appropriate $500 to procure a bust of the late Hon. Robert Baldwin.
Hon. J.A. Macdonald moved that it is expedient, that at the first election for the District of Algoma, both for the General and Local Legislatures, all persons otherwise qualified, who are householders, shall have a right to vote at the said elections. —Carried.
Hon. J.A. Macdonald moved that an humble address be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General, praying that he may be graciously pleased to cause adequate compensation to be paid to the volunteers who have been wounded, or have otherwise suffered during the late lawless invasion of the Niagara frontier, and to the families of those who were killed or died during service on such frontier, and this House pledges itself to make good the same. —Carried.
Hon. J.A. Madconald moved an address for a gratiuity to the widow of the late Donald McDonald, Deputy Adjutant-General of Upper Canada, to the extent of year’s salary. —Carried.
In reply to Hon. Mr. Holton,
Hon. Mr. Galt explained that arrangements were in progress for securing the engraving of all stamps, notes, debentures, &c., for the use of the Government at Ottawa. The two firms that had previulsy put in separate tenders, had now arranged to from one Joint Stock Company, and had put in a tender which the Government had not had time to consider. He might explain, however, that ample security had been offered for the due performance of the work, and that the Government would probably enter into the contract for a term of years.
A long discussion ensued, Messrs. Brown, Holton and J.S. Macdonald arguing that the contract ought not to be entered into without putting th work up to cmpeititon. They asked for the production of the papers.
Hon. Mr. Howland said there were no papers on the subject before the government. The tender which had been referred to was still before the Board ofExcise and Stamps.
Concurrence in supplementary estimates was resumed.
On the item to pay for transport of troops from Bic to Quebec in 1862, $400,
Hon. Mr. Dorion asked for explanations.
Hon. Mr. Cartier detailed the cicrumstances under which the claim had been left over unsettled. The government considered the claim a just one and intended to pay the claimant, and charge the amount to the Imperial Government, with whom the contract was originally made.
The item was concurred in, as also for salary of agent of Attorney-General U.C. at Toronto, $400.
On the item arrears of indemnity to Townships in Lower Canada, payable to one half 1st April 1867, remainder 1st April 1868, $191,901.40, a long discussion took place.
Hon. Mr. Brown moved an amendment to the effect that the item be not now concurred in, as under the arrangement the Confederation of the British American Provinces, the payment of said indemnity was assigned to the Local Government of Lower Canada, and the indemnity to Upper Canada to the Local Government of that section.
Lost. Yeas 17; Nays 66.
The follow items were then concurred in: To purchase bust of the late Sir E.P. Tache, $500. To purchase improved firearms for use of Volunteers, $250,000; For billeting &c., Chicago Volunteers, $1,025; Index to statutes since 1852, $6,000.
During the long discussion with reference to the Volunteer force, which took place on the item for the purchase of arms, the Hon. J.A. Macdonald took occasion to refer to a statement which had appeared in the local press, with reference to the delay in the payment of Volunteers, and read the following
BY THE ADJUTANT-GENERAL OF MILITIA.
The Adjutant-General has the honor to represent, with reference to the statements made as to the non-payment of volunteers, that he has made minute enquiry, and finds that, with the exception of the first few weeks, and later with one exception in which the District Paymaster had committed an error, the force has been regularly paid as soon as the proper pay lists and vouchers have been received.
When the Volunteer force was placed on actual service on the 1st June, owing to the fact that the Adjutant-General was obliged to remain at Ottawa, when his most important duties were at Montreal, large numbers of stores were issued, out of the imperial stores, to the different corps of VOluntteers, without his knowledge.
In rder to secure the Province against unnecessary loss, the Adjutant-General ordered the commanding officers of coprs to send in to the district staff officers, immediately on their being relieved from service, a return shewing in one column the stores received, in another the stores then in possession, and in a third the cause of deficiency. And the Ajutant-General ordered the District Paymasters to retain all sums due to Volunteers at that time, not of pay, but on account of billet allowance until these returns should be received, so that the deficiencies arising from neglect should be charged against such billet allowance.
The cause of delay in the final settlement with the Volunteers, has therefore been solely attributable to the fact that Commanding Officers have delayed to send in their pay lists, with the returns above specified.
The Adjt.-Gen. has this day received a letter from Montreal, informing him that the pay lists for two of the battalions, for April, May and June, were only sent in the day before yesterday, and that they were then, in many particulars, both incomplete and incorrect.
All the Officers of the Militia Department have been working almost night and day, for many weeks back, and it is very unjust to charge them with a delay which is certainly not attributable to them.
When the Volunteer Force, to the number of 20,000, were suddenly placed on actual service, it was inevitable that at first there should have been delays and shortcomings.
But it would appear to have been expected, very unreasonably, that the different duties of the Adjutant-General’s Department, which, in the regular service, are divided between the Adjustant-General’s, te Quarter-Master-General’s, Medical, Transport, Commissariat and Pay Departments, —should have been performed with the same regularity as those of the different departments of the regular army.
And the Adjutant-General respectfully desires here tor ecord his assertion, that it is utterly impossible to work advantageously, in time of pressure, with departments suddenly created for the emergency, and without experience.
Experience has to be learnt in this case, at the expense of the Province, and, probably, at the expense of valuabe lives.
If departments are expected to work well in time of war, they must be created, and gain experience of routine duties, and have at their command all the knowledge and appliances in times of peace, which they would have to bring to bear in time of war.
The Minister of Militia,
&c., &c., &c.,
Hon. Mr. Cartier stated that the Government did expect to have been able to have closed the House to-morrow, but the discussion to-day had been so protracted, that that would now be impossible. They expected, however, and were almost sure that they could finish the business on Monday.
On motion of Hon. Mr. Galt a supply bill granting the above mentioned items, was read a first time and ordered to a second reading to-morrow.
On motion of Atty.-Gen. Cartier, the bill respecting the Bar of Lower Canada, was read a third time and passed.
The Act to amend the medical act of Upper Canada passed through Committee, was read a third time and passed.
In reply to Hon. Mr. Holton,
Hon. J.A. Macdonald moved the second reading of the bill to prevent the unlawful training of persons to the use of arms, and to the practice of military evolutions and exercises, and to authorise Justices of the Peace to seize and detain arms collected or kept for purposes dangerous to the public. —Carried.
The same bill then passed through Committee, read a third time and passed.
The bill to amend Cap. 32 of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, relating to agriculture, was read a second time.
The bill to amend the act respecting electing of members of the Legislature was read a second time.
Hon. J.A. Macdonald gave notice that to-morrow he would move that there be three sittings of the House on Monday, at 11, 3 and 7:30 o’clock.
The House adourned at 2:15 a.m.
Mr. Francis Jones introduced a bill to define the powers of the Commissioner of the Crown Lands in relation to Surveys and Colonization Roads.
In introducing the bill, Mr. Jones observed that the Commissioner of Crown Lands had impugned the statements he made respecting the management of his Department; but that gentleman had not succeeded in refuting one statement which he (Mr. Jones) had made; but, on the contrary, the Commissioner had displayed a great want of information repseciting the business, of his own Department.
The bill before the House provided that the Commissioner of Crown Lands should furnish a detailed statement of the proposed expenditure of his Department, for the year, before we vote large sums of money, for we know not what money which was generally squandered on Surveys and colonization roads, which were utterly useless.
A similar oractice was necessary on the part of the Commissioner of Public Works, who, before we were asked to vote money, informed us where the proposed roads were to be made, or bridges constructed. He deemed it the more necessary to introduce this bill, as the expense of the Crown Lands exceeded that of any other department, and had immensely increased during the last couple of years.
In 1864, the cost of the officials in the Crown Lands Department amounted to $66,575, whereas last year, the amount is set down at $85,091, shewing in one year, the enormous increase of $18,516 in the payment of officials alone. In referring to my former speech, Mr. Campbell takes the report of it contained in the Montreal Gazette, which is certainly a very brief report, but which, as far as it goes, is substantially correct, and is as follows:
“The cost of the Crown Lands Departmen last year exceeded, by $126,000, the whole proceeds of the sales. Looking at the colonization fo the country, it was lamentable to see […]
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[…] the way in which money had been squandered. Nearly every contract let out for these roads had been abandoned, and much of the money had gone to land agents. The member for Cornwall had certainly effected considerable retrenchments, and he (Mr. Jones) regretted there had been no further retrenchment since. In no Department was extravagance so amidst as in the Crown Lands. The expenses of that Department had increased six times since 1841. He thought if ever there was a time for retrenchment, this was it? Every word stated in the above brief report of my speech, is strictly correct; but it is inly a very small part of what I did say on that occasion. The best and most extensive report of my speech is contained in The Globe of the 27th ult. In referring to my first statement respecting the cost of the Crown Lands Department for the year ending the 30th June, 1865, Mr. Campbell states:
“The statement of Mr. Jones was evidently based upon the Crown Lands Department report of 1865, when the gross expenses of the whole Department were $475,000 leaving, as that gentleman had stated, an excess of expense over the receipts of $126,000. The figures of expense and of land sales were correct, but as he had stated they were so put as to create the impression that this sum of $475,000 was disbursed for no other purpose or object, then managing the land sales in question.”
Now, as Mr. Campbell, in the above quotation admits, that my statement is correct, both in relation to the expense of the Crown Lands Department in 1865, and as to the land sales, it is not necessary for me to adduce any proof on that point; but it seems strange how Mr. Campbell or any person who understands the English language, could possibly state that the impression that the sum of $475,000 was disbursed for no other purpose or object than managing the land sales in question, when I distinctly stated that a large portion of the money was squandered in connection with colonization roads.
Besides, my statement referred to the Crown Lands Department generally, and not to the sale of lands; the exact words are as follows: —“The cost of the Crown Lands Department last year exceeded, by $126,000, the whole proceeds of the sales.” Certainly this language is plain enough, and means, if it means anything, that the whole cost of the Crown Lands Department as contrasted with the whole amount of sales. The public will now be able to judge what foundation Mr. Campbell had for the gratuitous assertion that “I had exhibited unfairness by suppressing a part of the truth, and also by suggesting a part of the truth, and also by suggesting what was not true.”
Mr. Campbell seems to think that the Crown Lands Department is deserving of some credit for collecting arrears due on lands, solid in past years; perhaps so, but id the management of the Crown Lands had not been more economical during past years than during the last, there would now be no trouble in collecting amounts due, as there would have been nothing left to be collected; but as payment for public lands have now to be made to the Bank of Montreal, it is the bank and not the Crown Lands Department, that is entitled to the child credit for the collection of arrears due on public lands.
Next in relation to colonization roads, Mr. Campbell states,
“Then again that gentleman (meaning myself) had alleged that nearly every contract let our for making roads had been abandoned, and much of the money had gone to Land Agents. New in this also he had stated what was entirely incorrect and contrary to the fact. No money whatever was given to Land Agents for the purpose of road-making. The Land Agents received a commission upon their sales, and when engaged in superintending the construction of roads 12s. 6d. Per day or so.” Mr. Campbell is the best evidence against himself is the above extract; first he states that no money whatever was given to Land Agents for road making, and in the very next sentence states that they are allowed to superintend the making of roads, and are allowed 12s. 6d. a day or so, for doing so.
As to the correctness of my statement respecting colonization roads, I give the following extracts from the report of Mr. J. W. Bridgland, Superintendent of colonization roads. In speaking of contracts, Mr. Bridgland says, “1st, twenty miles of the Parry Sound road; 2nd, twenty miles of the Burleigh road; 3rd, a large and somewhat expensive bridge over the Petewawa river, on the Pembroke and Matawan road, and a smaller one over the Chalk rover on the same road.”
In speaking of the first of these contracts on the Perry Sound road, Mr. Bridgland states, “I regret to state that less than one half the work contracted for has been done, and that in a very irregular and unprofitable manner. In the month of October, the contractor absconded, and the season being too far advanced to make any judicious arrangement for continuing the works to their completion, they have remained in the condition in which they were left by the contractor.
The second contact, viz., that for making 20 miles of the Burleigh road, is much in the same condition as that of the Parry Sound road,—at the close of the working season, November 1st, only about one half of the work was found to be effected. A loss was also sustained on this road in the burning of three bridges, on that part of the road made the previous season. The third contract for the Petewawa Bridge, was to have been completed on the 1st May last. The contractor, however, Dailed in his engagement, the travel was inconvenienced during the summer in consequence, and the bridge was not finished until the month of September following.”
The Report of Mr. Bridgland, from which these extracts are taken, is contained in Mr. Campbell’s own Report for the year ending 30th June, 1865. In Mr. Campbell’s Report for the half year ending 31st December, 1865, Mr. Brigland States as follows, in speaking of the operations of the half year:
“The completion of new roads, the building of which had been formerly contracted for, partially made, and then abandoned”
And in speaking of the Peterson Road, Mr. Bridgland remarks as follows:
“The original bridge (on the Papineau Creek) was utterly inadequate to supply the wants of the locality, and was broken up and carried away by floods from its site, the first season after its construction.”
It must appear very strange how any man in Mr. Campbell’s position, could possibly in the face of his own report state as follows:
“Then as to the alledged abandonment of every or almost every contract the statement was at variance with the fact. During the three years he, Mr. Campbell, had been in charge of the Department, only one such contract had been made at all; he had adopted quite another plan, and he believed his predecessor in office, the Hon. Mr. McDougall, had also abandoned the system of contracts.” Here os a statement deliberately made by Mr. Campbell, the Commissioner of Crown Lands, completely contradicting the Report of an officer in his own Department, and that officer the very person who has charge of the Colonization roads. I shall leave the question of veracity between these gentleman themselves; but I think the public will come to the conclusion that I had sufficient proof for my statement.
“That looking to the colonization of the country it was lamentable to see the way in which money had been squandered, and that nearly every contract let out on these roads had been abandoned.”
My next and last statement to which Mr. Campbell refers is to this effect: “The expenses of the Department had increased six times since 1841.” The year to which I referred was the year before the Union of Upper and Lower Canada, which year embraced from the 1st April, 1840, to 31st March, 1841, when the whole expense of the Surveyor-General’s office in Upper Canada was only $10,792, whereas during the last year the pay of officials in the Crown Lands Department amounts to no less a sum than $85,091 as given in the Public Accounts, page 45, showing that the expense of the officials alone has increased not only six, but eight times. How does Mr. Campbell try to evade this statement of facts as to the immense increased expenditure; not by examining the journals of the House for the year to which I referred which would prove the correctness of my statements; but by introducing a cock and a bull story about the year 1842, to prove my statement incorrect, which was made respecting a totally different circumstance. Such an attempt should be beneath Mr. Campbell or any person occupying his position.
Mr. Campbell states that the great increase in the expenditure of his Department is in consequence of the provisions of the Civil Service Act. Now it seems somewhat strange that the Civil Service Act should be observed only in its most objectionable feature, that of increasing the pay of officials. The Act provides that candidates for public employment should pass a certain examination previous to appointment, this provision, which is the only useful one, is constantly disregarded, and persons who happen to be in favor with the powers that be, are constantly appointed, many of them to situations for which they are totally unfitted either by nature or education. It appears all right to Mr. Campbell to violate this provision of the Act; but when the object is to increase the pay of certain favourites, he is quite liberal with the public money.
Having referred to all the statements which I made on a former occasion, respecting the present reckless and extravagant management of the Crown Lands Department, I shall leave the public whether I made any statement which was not strictly correct in every particular. Retrenchment and reform are certainly necessary in the management of Public Lands, and I do hope the Bill now before the House, will accomplish that object. (Cheers.)
And although the expenses of the Department have increased so enormously of late years, yet there is no encouragement given to actual settlers. A case came under his (Mr. Jones) notice where several respectable young men from his county went into the county of Frontenac, and located themselves on Crown Lands, in that county, and paid the first instalment on their lands.
And although, as directed by the commissioner of Crown Lands, Mr. Campbell, they procured the certificate of a Provincial Land Surveyor, stating that the land was fit fro settlement, and that the occupants were performing settlement duty, yet through the influence of a certain lumber merchant, these young men were driven off their lands and were consequently compelled to seek homes in the United States.
MR.GIBBS’ SPEECH ON THE PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE CURRENCY.
Mr. GIBBS said he desired to offer a few observations on the proposed changes in the currency, introduced by the Government, and which were now submitted in an amended form. He regretted that these changes were contemplated, and that he was compelled to speak of them in condemnatory terms. The hon. Minister of Finance himself felt the importance of these changes, and of the interests which were to be affected by them. In opening up this subject, and giving the House the resolutions now before it, his language was cautious, and he seemed to approach his subject with some degree timidity. He said it was necessary to deal tenderly and even delicately with the great interests that would be disturbed by the changes contemplated. As the debate advanced, the Inspector-General grew bolder, and assumed a more defiant and even contemptuous position.
Speaking of the banks he asked what they were, and whence did they derive their existence? Were they not the creatures of this Legislature, and as such liable to be legislated out of existence? The plea of necessity, urgent and immediate, had been set forth as warranting the proposed changes.
He (Mr. G.) would ask if all the available means to procure a loan had been resorted to before submitting a theme which must disturb, if not destroy; derange, if not overturn our banking system. When the hon. member for Toronto West, who was President of the Royal Canadian Bank, spoke the day before int he interests of the institution with which he was connected, he was at once charged with not being a disinterested party, and his arguments were sought to be mullified [sic] on that account.
Now, he (Mr. G.) was not going to speak in behalf of any bank, not even of that with which he was immediately identified, an institution which had not merely benefitted the section of country in which it had originated, but had also extended its operation into other portions of Canada West, and even as far East as the commercial capital itself. On the contrary he was free to admit that in dealing with this Government was a fair one, and so far as the bank itself was concerned, it would sustain no loss. The loss by the contemplated changes was not to the bank so much as to the public, in compelling the banks to curtail their discounts, confining their operation to capital, instead of allowing them to expand as they now could under certain restrictions, and thus meet the necessities of the country in moving produce to market, &c. To the Lower Canada banks this remark did not apply with so much force, as to those of Western Canada— the circulation of the latter being as three to one of the former.
The credit of the Province must be sustained, and the House was prepared to clothe the Government with the necessary to meet their wants, but this plan should not be attempted until all others had been exhausted. The Government expected by this change to pay off indebtedness, and save interest by the issue of notes bearing interest. To do this, Government would undoubtedly displaces the present circulation of the banks, for he, (Mr. Gibbs) saw no alternative; if the notes were issued, and the Bank fo Montreal entered into the arrangement, which the Inspector-General desired to confine that institution, all the other banks would obliged to entry into the arrangement also. There was no option. To supply this circulation, now up to $12,000,000, the Government would be required, under the resolution, to obtain the money for their notes on the following terms:
- (p. 87)
To hold in gold reserve up to $3,000,000, at 20 per cent is $1,000,000
Do up to 2nd, $5,000,000 at 23 per cent is $1,230,000
Do on $2,000,000 at 33 per cent is $ 666,667
Leaving $9,083,333 on which profit would accrue. This at 6 per cent would yield $545,000 per annum
One per cent bank commission $120,000
Five per cent, paid banks for relinquishing circulation $600,000
Loss of bank tax $ 25,000
Cost of engraving notes.$ 20,000
Showing direct loss of $220,000 per annum. Besides this, there would be a loss of $750,000 on the $3,000,000 of debentures, now only worth 75 cents in the dollar, but which the Government were obliged to take at par. This distributed over four years would make an annual loss of $407,500, but against this it was fair to state that the indemnity to the banks for giving up their circulation, would cease at the expiration of their charters in 1870. The Inspector-General had made it optional for the banks to return to the present system, if on trial, the scheme of the Government was not satisfactory.
But he (Mr. G.) apprehended that would be very difficult, though not impossible. In such case it was by no means certain that the charters of the banks, all of whom expired in 1870, would not be revived. Instead, therefore, of profit to the Government, he (Mr. G.) believed that not only would it injuriously affect the country, but the Government would not derive from it the advantages anticipated. He would now turn to its effects on the community in Western Canada. The public desired to know how these government notes were to be redeemed. The hon. Minister of Finance had said that it would afford better security to the public than the notes of any chartered bank. This was quite correct.
But he (Mr. G.) doubts whether the government would be in as good position to redeem on presentation, the bills which might be sent in for this purpose as the Chartered banks now were. The gold usually held by the banks was equal to 40 or 50 per cent of their circulation, and they always had available assets to meet any emergency. The government only intended to hold an average of 22 per cent in gold to redeem their circulation. It was therefore quite clear that the balance obtained from the sale of their notes, having been applied to the payment of debt they must be at the mercy of their financial agents as to the rate of interest to be paid, for necessary advances and debentures to meet the demands of bill-holders. The changes announced to-day were in the wrong direction. In restricting the issue to $5,000,000, as now proposed, the Government could only realize a sufficiency to meet the demand of $5,000,000 the balances being required to pay off debentures held by the bank accepting the proposals of the Government, and return specie to redeem their circulation.
Now there was no doubt that, under this arrangement, the whole would be absorbed by the Bank of Montreal; and by permitting the issue, other banks had the door closed against them should they deem it advisable hereafter, to enter into the Government proposition. It was infinitely better to allow the Government to extend the issue to $15,000,000, so that all may come in if they please, than confine it to one monopoly, which it will most undoubtedly be if confined to $8,000,000.
He (Mr. Gibbs) did not, therefore, look on the change mentioned to-day with favor, as many hon. members seemed to do. Had the banks of Canada not maintained a high reputation for their management during the many years they had been in existence? Taking the report of the cashier of the Bank of Montreal, who was so anxious for this change, at his last annual meeting this was admitted, although changes were hinted at in that report, of the nature of which he (Mr. G.) now believed they could form some opinion by the resolutions now before the Committee.
Hon. Mr. Galt —No—no.
Mr. Gibbs—The chief objection to this scheme was its utter inability to meet the expansion necessary at certain seasons of the year. During last fall, our banks had found it necessary to increase their circulation $6,000,000, and this was done beneficially to the country, and with safety to the banks. This fatal objection in the present scheme had not and could not be met. In future banking could only be conducted on capital in hand, and this advantage of circulation would in future be lost, as no Provincial note could be paid out until gold had first been paid for it. He would now show the terms on which the Government proposed to settle with the bank, with which he was connected. The basis of settlement was the circulation of 30 April last
The Ontario Bank then had $1,203,000.
They gave this up which was worth, say 8 per cent $ 96,400.
Also interest on $120,000 debentures relinquished, bearing 5 percent $ 9,500.
Less interest received for debentures
$190,000 at 8 per cent.$ 15,200
Profit on gold 20 per cent not required to be held, say $240,000 at 8 per cent $ 19,200
Five per cent on circulation $ 60,250
Loss $ 11,250.
From which bank tax has to be deducted, leaving the amount 8 or $10,000. But it would affect the ability of the bank to discount as follows: Suppose the bank required to increase its circulation to $1,500,000, as it has already done. Under the present plan, it could only issue Government notes for amount received for its debentures $ 190,000.
and gold not then required to be held as now 20 per cent on $15,000,000…$ 300,000.
This shows that the bank would be obliged to reduce its discounts a million of dollars. Another view, placing it in its most favorable light: —Suppose its circulation, as on 30th April, $1,200,000, and that it held 40 per cent in gold against that circulation, it would stand thus: —Amount of circulation $1,200,000
Less notes for debentures….$190,000
Gold—40 per cent $480,000 — 670,000
Must reduce discounts………$530,000
But the Bank has a right to expend to the amount of —
1st —Its paid up capital…1,900,000
2nd —Gold and Silver on hand .580,000
3rd —Bonds or debentures…190,000
It will thus be seen at a glance that the proposed system must practically affect the banks of Western Canada, and prevent them from rendering the facilities to the country they are now enabled to do. He had thus chosen to illustrate his views by showing how it would affect the Ontario Bank, because he was more familiar with it than any other. But what applied to that institution would apply in a greater or less degree to all the others. He maintained that the case of necessity had not been made out. He believed that if proper exertions had been made, this debt could have been provided for, by simply offering seven or eight per cent on the issue of debentures, having abort dates to run, without interfering with the currency of the country. These institutions had withstood many monetary crises, and had inspired confidence from the fact that not one of any importance had failed under every circumstance to meet its obligations promptly. The banks had been the pride and glory of the Canadian people, and their interests were so thoroughly identified with those of the people as to be identical. For these reasons which he believed would be approved of very generally in Canada West, he felt it his duty to protest against the proposed changes. (Cheers.)