Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (11 August 1866)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 87-88.
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SATURDAY, August 11, 1866
The Speaker took the chair at half-past eleven o’clock.
Hon. Mr. Cartier moved the resolution of which Hon. John A. Macdonald had given notice on Friday night for three sittings on Monday. He explained that they hoped to prorogue on Monday, and only provided for three sittings on that day to make certain of the prorogation on Tuesday morning at the latest.
Mr. Belleroses bill to amend the act relating to abuses prejudicial to agriculture, was read a second time and passed through Committee. The bill was then read a third time and passed.
Mr. M. C. Cameron moved the second reading of Mr. Wood’s bill to amend the law in respect of Views By Jurors.—Carried.
The same bill passed through committee, was reported without amendment, read a third time and passed.
The bill to enable Hugh Burgess to obtain a patent for certain new and useful improvements, was passed through all its stages.
The House went into Committee on the bill to amend the Act respecting the election of members of the Legislature. The first clause of the bill providing that no show of hands be taken on the nomination day, was agreed to after a brief discussion.
To the second clause providing that electoral divisions may be divided into polling divisions, one for every 400 voters.
Hon. Mr. Dorion moved an amendment that polling places be provided for every 250 electors, and that the poll shall only be kept open for one day at each election.
Hon. Mr. Cartier opposed the amendment. The hon. member for Hochelaga would place the result of an election to the mercy of the weather, or the accident of bad roads, instead of to the deliberate votes of the electors.
Mr. Jones (North Leeds) contended that from his experience, two days was a short enough time to allow the people the opportunity of recording their votes.
Mr. Cartwright said that though personally favorable to closing elections in a single day, he considered it would be attended with so much additional expenses on account of the multiplication of polling places, that he should oppose the amendment.
Mr. Ferguson (South Simcoe) opposed the amendment, and suggested to the Government that the number of polling places under the bill would be unnecessarily large, one polling place for every 600 voters would be amply sufficient.
Mr. M. C. Cameron supported the amendment as a means of doing away with the gross corruptions now practiced. The expenses connected with the additional polling places would be made up by having to pay for only one day instead of two.
The amendment was lost. Yeas 21; Nays 32.
All the clauses were then carried from the 2nd to the 11th.
Mr. Dunkin complained that the act made no amendment in the form of the oath.
A long discussion ensued, and several changes were suggested, but none of them were adopted.
The remaining clauses were then agreed to, and the bill reported.
Hon. Mr. Cartier moved the reception of the report.
Hon. Mr Dorion moved in amendment that the bill be recommitted to provide that elections be held on one day. Lost. Yeas, 21; Nays, 38.
Yeas.—Messrs. Ault, Brown, Burwell, Cameron, (North Ontario), Cowan, Dorion, (Hochelaga), Dufresne, (Iberville), Dunkin, Geoffrion, Gibbs, Haultain, Holton, Labreche-Viger, Laframboise, Macdonald, (Cornwall), Mackenzie, (Lambton), McKellar, Oliver, Rankin, Scatcherd, Scoble,—21
Nays.—Messrs. Archambeault, Beft, Bellerose, Bowman, Cameron, (Peel), Carling, Cartier, (Attorney-General), Cartwright, Cauchon, Chapais, Cockburn, Daoust, DeBoucherville, Dufresne, (Montcalm), Ferguson (Frontenac), Ferguson, (South Simcoe), Higginson, Howland, Jackson, Jones, (North Leeds and Grenville), Langevin, Le Boutillier, Macdonald, (Attorney-General), McDougall, McGivern, Morris, Morrison, Robitaille, Ross, (Dundas), Shanly, Stirton, Street, Sylvain, Taschereau, Walsh, Wells, Wilson, Wright, (Ottawa County)—38.
Hon. Mr. Dorion moved an amendment to change the form of the oath. Lost. Yeas, 11; Nays, 44.
Yeas.—Messrs. Brown, Cowan, Dorion, (Hochelaga), Dufresne, (Iberville), Geoffrion, Haultain, Holton, Labreche-Viger, Laframboise, Macdonald (Cornwall), Mackenzie —11.
Nays—Messrs. Archambeault, Ault, Bell, Bellerose, Bowman, Burwell, Cameron, (Peel), Carling, Cartier, (Attorney-General), Cauchon, Chapals, Cockburn, De Boucherville, Dufresne, (Montcalm), Dunkin, Ferguson, (Frontenac), Ferguson, (South Simcoe), Gibbs, Higginson, Howland, Jackson, Jones, (North Leeds and Grenville), Langevin, Le Boutillier, Macdonald (Attorney-General), McDougall, McGivern, Morris, Morrison, Oliver, Rankin, Robitaille, Ross, (Dundas), Scatcherd, Scoble, Shanly, Stirton, Street, Sylvain, Taschereau, Walsh, Wells, Wilson, Wright, (Ottawa County)—44.
The bill was read a third time and passed.
Hon. J. A. MacDonald moved the concurrence of the House in the schedule distributing the new seats in Upper Canada. He explained that as village municipalities were constantly springing up in Upper Canada, they would of course be included in the constituency within the limits of which they are situated.
Hon. Mr. Brown assailed the distribution of seats. Though a great improvement upon the plan first proposed—that of enfranchising eight or nine small boroughs—
Hon. J. A. MacDonald denied that there has been any such scheme proposed.
Hon. Mr. Brown continued—the plan now before the House was far from carrying out the principle of representation by population. On looking at the schedule he found one constituency […]
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[…]—Niagara — with only 4,470 of a population and another — Essex — with no less than 25,217. In adding up the population of the ten smallest constituencies, he found that they contained a population of 82,258: while the ten largest constituencies contained over 231,000. By adding the population of the twenty smallest constituencies together it appeared that they contained only 214,000. Thus we had two hundred and fourteen thousand people having twice as many members at two hundred and thirty-one thousand. Then taking the representation east of Kingston he found seventeen members whose constituencies had an average population of 14,000, while the seventeen western constituencies contained an average population of 18,000. He thought a better plan would be to have given a second member to the target constituencies than to have made new ones.
Mr. McKenzie said that three principles should have been regarded in distributing; the representation, population, area and probable value of the land. One these three heads, he proceeded to show that gross injustice had been done to Lambton and moved an amendment that another member be given to that county.
Mr. Rankin was very grateful to the member of South Oxford for taking such a particular interest in his (Mr. R.’s) constituency, but he (Mr. R.) had refrained from asking for two members for Essex because it had been found very difficult to get even one member returned for that constituency. (Laughter.)
The hon. member for South Oxford had devoted a great deal of time to prove that one of his chief objects for going into the coalition had not been gained. One of his principal justifications for having gone into the coalition was that he had obtained representation by population for Upper Canada, and now he had done his best to prove that representation by population had not been gained.
Mr. Jones (North Leeds) was exceedingly glad that the principle of representation by population had not been carried out in the distribution of the new seats, but that the prospective development of the country had also been considered.
Mr. McKellar supported Mr. McKenzie’s amendment.
In reply to Mr. McKellar,
Attorney-General MacDonald explained that the new counties were formed purely for electoral purposes, and would not interfere in any way with the existing municipal or judicial boundaries.
Hon. Mr. MacDougall said the Government was very much gratified to find that the scheme had been so favorably received. The Government had endeavored to do substantial justice in the promises without regarding political influence, past, present or future. They had seventeen new members to distribute, and their duty had been to find out seats for them. One of the principles which the Government had laid down, was that they should not disfranchise a single constituency. There were some of the old constituencies with a very small population, but the Government did not feel that they should interfere with their existing privileges.
The amendment was declared lost on division.
The several paragraphs in the schedule were then agreed to.
The new county formed out of Kent and Lambton was called “Bothwell.”
The village of “Mount Forest” was included among the municipalities embraced in the North Riding of Wellington.
The new county formed out of the counties of Haldimand, Lincoln and Welland was called “Monck,” out of compliment to His Excellency. The new county formed out of the counties of Peel and Simcoe was called “Cardwell” out of compliment to the late Colonial Secretary.
Loughborough and Bedford were taken from Frontenac and added to Addington.
The schedule amendment was passed.
Hon. J. A. MacDonald moved that Messrs. Howland, McDougall and the mover do draft an humble address to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty to cause to be embodied the Local Constitutions of Upper and Lower Canada in the Imperial Act for the Confederation of the British American Provinces.—Carried.
The address was then reported.
On the motion for adoption of the address,
Hon. Mr. Dorion moved an amendment in the effect that the new Constitution shall not be put in force until it shall first be submitted to a vote of the people.
Lost. Yeas, 13; Nays, 62.
Hon. Mr. Dorion then moved an amendment to provide, that if the General or Local Constitutions, as passed by the Imperial Parliament shall differ in any particular from the resolutions adopted by this House, they shall not be put in force until first submitted for approval to the Canadian Parliament.
Hon. Mr. Cauchon said he had voted for the Quebec Resolutions upon the distinct pledge of the Government, that they would accept the Confederate Constitution, on the basis of these resolutions, without alteration or change in any particular.
Hon. J. A. MacDonald said the Government would adhere in every particular to the Quebec Resolutions. But they could not assert jurisdiction over the paramount authority of the Crown. No doubt the Imperial Parliament would respect the wishes of this House and he had every confidence that no changes would be sought to be made.
Hon. Mr. Cauchon would accept the declaration of the Government that no departure from the Quebec resolutions would be agreed to. He could not now consent to vote for want of confidence in the Government after their assurance that the scheme would be adhered to.
Hon. Mr. Brown said the hon. member for Hochelaga had opposed Confederation from the first, and now he had moved an amendment to declare that we should set ourselves above the Imperial Parliament. We have asked them to do a certain thing, and now he wishes us to tell them, “If you do not do it in the right way, we shall not take it at all.” He hoped his hon. friend would withdraw his motion because if put it would be voted down, and every man who voted against it would be made to appear as if he was willing to admit the possibility of changes being made. This House had no right to presume that any changes would be introduced.
The amendment was lost.
Yeas — Biggar, Dufresne, (Iberville), Laframboise, Geoffrion, Dorion, Holton, Scatcherd, and J. H. MacDonald — 8
The address was then passed.
The Supply Bill was read a second time, on motion of Hon. Attorney-General MacDonald.
The House adjourned at 5 o’clock.