Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (14 June 1866)

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Date: 1866-06-14
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 9-10.
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THURSDAY, June 14th, 1866


The Speaker took the chair at 3 o’clock pm.


The number of petitions were received and read.


Mr. Morris presented the first report of the Standing Committee on private bills – on motion the quorum of said Committee was induced to seven members.


The Hon. Provincial Secretary presented the following returns.


Return to an address 13th Sept, 1863, for copy of a report of T. Johnson Esq. Commissioner in the Inquiry held in the matter of the Officer of the Clerk of the Crown and of the Peace of the District of Montreal.


Return to address, September 13, 1865 for copy of correspondence relative to the appointment of a Deputy Clerk of the Crown and of […]


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[…] the Peace for the district of Montreal.

Return to Address Aug. 10th 1865, for statements of expenses of the Militia force and the Police Force sent to the frontier.

Returns to Address of Sept. 13th, 1865 for information respecting limits of Crown Lands granted to the late Thomas Alexander Lambert, in his life time of Becancour. 

Return to Address Aug. 31st, 1865 for all reports made by the Indian Department, and all of the documents or letters that may have passed between the Corporation of the Town of Brantford, and the Government relating to the Grand River Navigation Company during the period said Company has been under the control and management of the said Corporation.

Return to Address Sept. 16th, 1865, for certain information respecting Law Stamps.

Following bills were introduced an read a first time: — second reading to-morrow.

Mr. Dunkin — Bill to provide for the holding of burying grounds in certain cases.

Mr. McFarlane. — for the better regulation of traffic on railways and canals.

Mr. McFarland. — to amend the Upper Canada assessment act.

J.H. Cameron. — to amend the law of Crown and criminal procedure and evidence at trials.

JH Cameron. — to amend the act respecting attorneys at law.

Mr. McGill. — to provide for the payment of jurors attending recorder’s courts.

Mr. Morris. — to prevent the execution in public of the sentence of death.

Mr. Cartwright. — to amend the 31st section of the Militia act.

Dr. Parker in the absence of Mr. Wallbridge moved an Address for a return reports of officers of the geological Department of mines and minerals. — carried.

Mr. Jones, ( North Leeds), moved for Select Committee on the subject of the copper mines on the North side of Lake Superior.

Honorable Provincial Secretary did not think that any member of the government, should be put on such Committee.

Honorable JS McDonald objected to the striking of the Committee as an useless waste of time and money. He declined to have anything to do with the proposed Committee, and would oppose its appointment.

Mr. Jones replied, his object was to collect information, and to make known to the world the vast mineral resources of the North shore of Lake Superior.

[The Member for Cornwall in the course of his remarks, having said that the chairman of a Committee formerly appointed to investigate a report upon the Chaudiere Mines, was reported to have made a fine speculation out of his position. Messrs. Jones, Taschereau, Rankin, and Powell denied the imputation, saying it was unfair of the member for Cornwall to make the charge when the member for Russell  (the chairman referred to) was not in his seat.]

Honorable attorney general MacDonald said that last Session a similar Committee had been appointed by the House, and the Government had no objection to the motion of the member for North Leeds.

Mr. Mackenzie said, that last Session a promise was made of a change of system in the sale of lands on the North Shore, and the supplying of additional Postal facilities to that section of the country. If the Government intended to carry out these improvements a Committee might be of great service to them, but if they intended to do nothing it was useless to throw away the time of members on the Committee.

Postmaster general Howland explained, that postal facilities had been increased on the North Shore during last year, and it was the desire of the Department keep pace with settlement by increasing them as required.

In reply to Mr. mackenzie,

Provincial Secretary Macdougall explained, that there had not been made any changes in the system of the management of surveys on the North Shore. In view of the speedy change in our machinery of Government he did not think it prudent that any great change should be made in the land system of Canada at the present time. It was well that the present system should be discussed both in this House and by the press, and no doubt under the change state of affairs we were now about to enter upon the result of these discussions would serve to guide the Government to the adoption of an improved system. For the present however it was not the intention of the Government to undertake any material changes in the land system of the country.

Mr. Mackenzie stated that after the explanations he had heard he should consider the Committee utterly useless and if appointed upon it would not think it worth his while to attend its meetings.

Honorable JS McDonald again argued at some length against the utility of the Committee.

Honorable TD McGee stated that his intention had been attracted to the subject by eminent geological chemist, who had assured him that this was one of the richest mineral countries in the world. The name of the gentleman to whom he had preferred would carry as much weight in the United States as that of any other man in England. It was not to be expected , however, that the land surveyor or the Geological Survey are could give that precise and accurate information which the purchaser of a mineral location required to guide him in his investment, and he believed the nearly all the information which the Committee could obtain might be gathered from the geological at other reports in the possession of the Government.

Mr. McGee was understood to favor the appointment of the Committee.

Mr. McKellar attacked the general system of the management of the Crown Lands. A long time ago about 15,000 acres have been granted to two companies, one at Quebec and the other at Montreal, the north pole he believed was one stake and he knew not where was the other. According to the system now pursued a man had to go up and explore through hundreds of miles of territory and if you found a suitable location he must then come down to Owen Sound, Sarnia or some other point to get a surveyor; and it had frequently happened that parties exploring had been watched and when they were away looking for a surveyor another had come, got up a plan of their property and hastened to the Crown Lands office and secured the prize which had been fairly one by another. He had seen from personal observation their ruinous effect of our system as compared with the American. On the North Shore there were not 1000 people employed in mining, whereas on the south side there are more than 25,000 actually engaged. But the Americans had surveyed the whole mining as well as agricultural lands and no man had 100 miles to go to look for a mining location.

Mr. Mckellar also complained of the large tracts of land held by speculators, which he said on to have special tax imposed upon it in the interests of the actual seller.

Mr. Morris said, the discussion on both sides of the House, evidently proved the necessity of Committee asked for by the member for North Leeds, and he hoped it would be granted.

Mr. Rankin addressed the House at some length on the question.

Attorney General Cartier vindicated the Montreal mining company from the reproaches made against it during the debate. He said it had been an unfortunate company, but had spent a great amount of money in developing the mineral wealth of Lake Superior, and indeed if now we knew the mineral wealth of that country we owed it entirely to the exertions of the Montreal mining company.

Mr. Ferguson, (Simcoe,) said the Committee could not obtain any information that would be of use to this Parliament, but if it were got into working order, he had every confidence that it would collect a large amount of valuable information, which would be of the greatest service to the Parliament of Upper Canada, which would soon have to meet. He hoped therefore that the Committee would be granted and indeed was sorry to hear the member for Lambton say he would not serve on it, for he believed no man in the House could give more information about the North Shore then he (Mr. Mackenzie ).

It was a subject of the utmost importance that the mineral wealth of the North Shore should be brought into notice, and that all the information possible concerning it should be laid before the House in the country. As the hon. provincial secretary appeared to speak for the hon. commissioner of Crown Lands, he (Mr. F) would beg to direct his attention to the great folly of continuing to hold the wildlands of the North Shore at so high a price. He had had an opportunity of seeing the effects of this, for recently there was a sale of forfeited Crown Lands in his country — Simcoe, and there are some lots were sold from 25 to 50 and 70 cents per acre, yet lands at Muskoka were held at $1 per acre. He thought it certain that so soon as the local Parliament of Upper Canada obtained control of its public lands they would either be made free or put in market at a nominal price, and he held it as a piece of folly to continue the present system for a year or even for a week, and it was only driving people from the country. He would like to see the wildlands of the country made free to actual settlers.

The motion was carried.

On motion of Mr. Poulin two addresses were passed for returns concerning the parish of St Angele.

Mr. Mackenzie — In moving an address for a return of amount expended in connection with the Parliament buildings, &c., said the public buildings presented the grand spectacle of magnificence without convenience it had ever been his lot to witness. In fact he thought convenience had not only been disregarded in the arrangements, but it appeared to have been made a study to give as little as possible. The ventilation was so defective that he believed a change must be made, and he had great doubts whether the country would ever be able to maintain them for he had been told on good authority that it took 70 cords of wood per day to warm the departmental buildings in severe weather, and if that were so what would the whole cost be. He then moved for full particulars as to expenditure, cost of warming, lighting, &c., &c., and the whole amount yet required to finish them so far as could be ascertained.

Mr. Chapais stated that the fullest information in connection with the expenditure and cost of maintenance of the public buildings would be laid before the House as soon as possible.

Mr. Powell, though he questioned the good taste in which the motion had been introduced so soon after hearing the words of the speech of His Excellency the Governor General, said he had risen for the purpose of seconding the motion, and he hoped the fullest information would be given.

Hon. Attorney General West said he hoped his hon. friend from Lambton fully understood that it was the intention of the Government to give all the information asked for as soon as possible .

Mr. Mackenzie — yes.

Hon. Attorney General West — with regard to the amount yet to be expended his hon. friend could not expect more than an estimate, and that the Government would submit along with the statement of the same already expanded. He ( the attorney general) was very sorry to hear that his friend had suffered so many inconveniences, but indeed he had lost himself several times in the House ( laughter ).

He hoped, however, that in the course of time members would get accustomed to these large and spacious premises, and that the sense of inconvenience would pass away as they became familiarised with the arrangements.

The motion was granted.

Honorable JS MacDonald said he noticed the hon. member for South Oxford now at his seat, he would call upon the Government for the promised explanations concerning the recent ministerial changes.

Attorney General MacDonald said the House was naturally desirous of hearing the explanations referred to at as an early day as possible, and when the hon. member for Chateaugay had raised the question in the address he ( the attorney general ) had then stated that the Government were fully prepared to enter into these explanations, but that out of courtesy to the hon. member for South Oxford they intended to delay them until he should take a seat.

He (the attorney general) had been in communication with that hon. member this morning and had his assurance that he ( the member for South Oxford) would have been perfectly satisfied had the Government made the explanations in his absence. Nevertheless the hon. member now desired to look over the papers connected with the matter, and it had been agreed between them that the explanation should be entered upon to-morrow.

Several members expressed their satisfaction with this arrangement.

And reply to hon. A.A. Dorion,

Attorney general MacDonald said he presumed the explanation should be made just before entering on the orders of the day.

On the second reading of Mr. Dunkin’s interest bill coming up,

Honorable A.T. Galt hoped the hon. member for Brome would consent to let it stand. It was the intention of the Government, as he had stated at last Session to refer the whole question to a Committee of the House, and he hoped his hon. friend would agree to allow the bill to stand.

Mr. Dunkin would agree, if the other bill on the same subject were not pressed forward.

Mr. Bourassa agreed to allow his bill on interest to stand.

The House then adjourned at a few minutes before six o’clock.

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