Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (20 July 1866)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 53-54.
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Friday, July 20th 1866.
The speaker took chair at three o’clock.
Considerable discussion took place on a petition from the town of Brantford, reporting on favorably, to enable the Corporation to erect a drill shed on a public square in the town.
Dr. Bown explained that the bill only asked for the corporation power to erect a drill shed on the place named; provided the same were sanctioned by the ratepayers.
The bill was read a first time.
Mr. M. C. Cameron introduced a bill to authorise the County Courts of Upper Canada to admit Attorneys-at-law admitted to practice in Upper Canada before the 1st day of July 1856, to practice in the said Courts as counsel or advocates, any law, usage or custom to the country notwithstanding.
Some conversation took place between the hon. member for Cornwall, the Attorney-General West, and Mr. Cameron, and the bill was read a first time.
Mr. Wright said before orders of the day were proceeded with, he wished to make a personal explanation. The hon. member for Cornwall had said yesterday that the price of his support to the Government was the building of certain bridges in the county he had the honor to represent. He denied this charge and stated that the building of the bridge was commenced under the Government of the honorable member for Cornwall, and he now wished to prove that the (Mr. W) was right, and that the hon. gentleman wrong. Mr. Wright then read two letters from the Bureau of Agriculture, one dated Nov. 6th 1863 stating that a certain appropriation of money was available for colonization works in Ottawa and Pontiac counties; the other March 22nd, 1863, acknowledging report concerning the Gatineau bridge, and ordering its construction to be proceeded with.
Hon. J. S. MacDonald read form the reports to the department, to show that all that had bene done up to 186, a few days before his government went out of office, was the getting out of the timber for the Gatineau bridge, but no authority had been given to proceed further with the work.
Hon. J. A. MacDonald said last evening he had given the hon. member for Cornwall an opportunity of getting out of the personal altercation which he had raised by bringing unjust accusations against members of the House, but the hon. gentleman had declined to take advantage of it, and had got up in his place and renewed his charges.
He (Attorney-General) had submitted to this treatment until be considered he ought to submit to it no longer. The hon. member for Cornwall had made offers to gentlemen on this side of the House, and many persons could establish the fact. He had endeavored to support his government by this course, and it was well known that he had bought, literally bought, the former member for Pontiac, William MacDougall Dawson, who was a high-toned Lower Canada Conservative, a supporter of the Attorney-General East, and he had hunted the members for Ottawa and Pontiac, until the only way of escape for them was to go to church. (Laughter). Then as to this Gatineau bridge business, the member for Cornwall should have honorably acknowledged his mistake. Nothing could be plainer than that the member for Ottawa had stated the [sic] correctly, for when the government came into office, they found not only that the timber had been got out, but that the contracts had been signed and they felt they had no choice but to go on with the work.
Mr. Rymal asked whether he understood the Attorney-General right when he said that Wm. McDougall Dawson was one of the high-toned Conservatives of Lower Canada, and on before answered the affirmative continued – then he says he bought by the member for Cornwall like a beast in the market. (Laughter.) That just confirmed the opinions he (Mr. Rymal) always had of the Tories. They were the very cattle to be bought and sold (great laughter), but had he said this to them before, the House would not have believed him.
Hon. J. S. MacDonald replied at length to the points reached on by the Attorney-General West, and charged the member for Pontiac with having first promised to the Solicitor-Gen. East, that he would support his government, and then deserted it. He had nothing to say against the explanation offered by the member for Ottawa, beyond what he had already read from the journals of the House, but when the leader of the government in this House renewed the attack upon him, bringing up old matters, then he felt bound to declare that he could defend himself and did, not seek the sympathy of any […]
- (p. 54)
[…] one. He trusted in his reputation, as a member of the House for twenty-five years, to clear him of any imputations that had been cast upon him, and expressed his surprise that these gentlemen on the treasury benefices who had been members of his government should sit there quietly and listen to the accusations brought against his administration, which affected their reputations as well as his.
Mr. Powell, after making some remarks on the personal question, said with regard to the purchase of slides and boons, and his assertion that a Conservative government was the only one that would do it, he (Mr. P) begged to say that the largest purchase of slides and dams ever made in the country was made by the Baldwin-LaFontaine Government.
Hon. J. S. MacDonald appealed to the hon. member of Argenteuil, to say whether he had informed him (J. S. McD.) that the member for Pontiac would support the Government.
Hon. Mr. Abbott after regretting that such personal matters should be allowed to come up in the House, said that he had told the member for Cornwall that the member for Pontiac had promised to support the Government.
Mr. Poupore said the promise he had given was one of personal support to the member for Argenteuil.
In reply to Hon. Mr. Holton,
Hon. J. A. MacDonald stated that the Assessment Act, and the Municipal Act would be carried through this Session. The education bill and the question of currency would be submitted immediately.
On motion of Hon. A. T. Galt, the House went again into Committee of Supply, Mr. Street in the chair.
The following items were passed: Tug Service between Montreal and Kingston, $12,500; Provincial Steamers, $75,000; Trinity House, Quebec, $45,536; Trinity House, Montreal, $25,790; Arresrs (do), 65-6 $1,949; Inland Lake and River Lights $40,000.
Mr. McKenzie enquired whether it was the intention of the Government to provide additional light-houses on Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.
Mr. Chapais was understood to say that there were six light-houses on these waters, and tow more were to be built.
The following items were then passed:
Allowance to Pierre Brouchu for residing at Lake Metapediac, on the Kempt Road, to assist travellers theron, $100; do to Jonathan Noble, do at La Fourche, do $100; do to T. Evans, do at Assame-tquagan, do $100; proportion of expenses of maintenance of light houses on islands of St. Paul and Scatterle, $2,500; towards the construction of a light house on East Point of Prince Edward Island, $1,500l Salaries and contingent expenses of the Supervisor of Caller’s Offices at Quebec and Montreal, $75,000.
On the appropriation of $25,000 for Fisheries, Upper and Lower Canada, including bounties,
Hon. Mr. Brown asked for information concerning the hearing of Licenses to American fishermen, giving away for a mere triffle the whole of the valuable Fisheries belonging to the Province. He thought it an extraordinary proceeding.
Hon. Mr. Galt said the Fisheries question was not exclusively a Canadian one; it affected all the Provinces, and the Imperial Government, and the government was not in a position to submit the despatches on the subject.
Hon. Mr. Brown made enquiry about the mode of issuing the licenses, the manner of collecting the amount, and enforcing the regulations.
Hon. Mr. Galt explained the licenses were issued by the Fisheries branch of the Crown Land Department, they had been given to Capt. Fortin, and copies sent to the admiral of [sic] fleet, and the Cruisers, who were on the [sic] to see to the carrying out of the regulations.
The House rose at a quarter past six o’clock.
The speaker took the chair at eight o’clock
The House went into Committee of Supply, Mr. Morris is then chair.
The discussion was resumed on the fisheries question. The Imperial despatch relating to certain particulars concerning the fisheries having been marked “confidential” could not of course be laid before the House; but the announcement of this fact did not prevent hon. members from prolonging discussion.
Mr. Galt closed the discussion by saying that he should be exceedingly sorry if any one should infer, form what had taken place, that the Imperial Government had given the slightest indication of the empire primarily in view.
The item was carried
The following items were then passed –
Railway [sic], $4,000; steamboat inspection, $6,500; to supply blankets to destitute Indians of Upper and Lower Canada, $1,100, miscellaneous printing, $5,000; advertisements and subscriptions, Canada Gazette, $6,500: postage of Canada Gazette, $1,200; whipping master’s office, $1,200: unforeseen expenses, $60,000: [sic] indemnity to townships, $40,000; to pay Win. Head in remission of penalty and costs incurred by forfeiture of his recognizance to appear as a witness at the Court of Queen’s Bench, Montreal, in 1865, $142: disinfectants, $1,000.
On the item of $100,000.
Hon. Mr. Galt explained that recent events had suggested to the Government the propriety of pricing a certain sum of money at their disposal, for the purpose of enabling it. In case of emergency, to counteract the machinations of a secret conspiracy which, as the country was well aware, had threatened and already attempted its invasion, The house might deal with the amount in any way they pleased, reduce it or reject it, but of course they could not increase it. The House would of course, understand that the very nature of the service precluded any more particular explanation than that which he had given.
Hon. Mr. Holton would be quite willing to increase the appropriation for unforeseen expenses, to be afterwards accounted for to Parliament, and he considered that a safer course than to vote a sum for secret service. If the $60,000 already voted to that end was not enough, let it be increased in preference to voting such a large sum that would never afterwards be accounted for.
Hon. Mr. Rose contended that it was the duty of the House to place at the disposal of the government the means necessary for the defence of the country and circumstances having recently pointed out the necessity of the government’s being in a position to secure certain information, which could only be obtained though the agency of secret service money, it was right that this sum should be placed in its hands.
Hon. Mr. Holton had no objection to placing in the hands of the government the means necessary for the defence of the country, but he hoped that at all events the form of the motion would be changed, so that the government would be held to accountability as he did not to wish to see it buying its information from spies.
Hon. Mr. Cameron said there was the greatest need at the present time for the appropriation. There was constantly opportunities of obtaining information that might be of the greatest consequences to Canada if the government had in its hands the means of paying for it. He would oppose any attempt to change the form of the appropriation in the way suggested by the member for Chateauguay, as he believed the House could well intrust the government with it so long as they gave it their confidence in the administration of the affairs of the country.
Mr. Dunkin contended that it was better that things should be called by their right names, and as it was well understood for what purpose the money was to be used, if used at all, it should be appropriated under the designation of secret service. He objected to the appropriation for unforeseen expenses being directed to the purpose of secret service.
Mr. Cartwright supported the appropriation, contending that no information could be got concerning the Fenian movement even for money, unless the informer had the fullest assurance that the transaction would be surrounded with the strictest secrecy.
Hon. A. A. Dorion opposed the appropriation altogether. The government had got information last March, which caused them to organize the volunteers, and send them to the front, but there was no invasion. He argued therefrom that the information received was not reliable.
Hon. Mr. Cartier said it was quite well known that had not the Government received the information, and been well prepared for the invasion of the country on the 17th of March, the country would have been invaded on that day. The Fenians were ready for the invasion then, but they found that we were prepared to receive them. With regard to the position taken by the member for Chateauguay that the money for such service should be, taken out of the “unforeseen expenses” appropriation, the proposition was quite irreconcilable, as all amounts expended out for to the House, and such a course would destroy the character of the secret service.
Dr. Parker thought the information to be derived form parties open to the reception of secret service money would be exceedingly unreliable. The American Government had lately done its duty and would no doubt continue to do so, and that the country had now very little to fear.
Mr. McKenzie said the proper way to meet the emergency, would be to appoint a certain number of highly respectable men as political agents in the United States. The American Government had taken this course in our contry during the time of the civil war, and he thought that Canada should now adopt it in preference to the voting of secret service money. Let the appropriation be made for political agents in foreign countries, which would be a fair more honourable course, and more likely to result in procuring correct information.
Hon. J. S. MacDonald argued that on account of the circumstances of the country, and the responsibility attaching to the Government, they must have a certain sum of money at their disposal to be used by them in the defence of the country, in the way which they should judge it necessary. He had not so little confidence in the gentleman opposite, but that he believed they would at all events use this money judiciously.
Mr. O’Halloran spoke against the utility of appropriation.
Hon. Mr. Brown asked in what way would the money be issued in case the appropriation were made.
Hon. Mr. Galt explained that a record would necessarily have to be kept of the payments, and of the agents to whom paid, but such records would of course form part of the secrets of the Government, not to be divulged.
Hon. Mr. Brown was quite satisfied from his own knowledge of the public service, that some appropriation of the kind ought to be placed at the disposal of the Government, but he was utterly at the loss to understand why so large an amount as $100,000 should be asked. In his own opinions something less than half that amount ought to be quite sufficient. It was the first time that any such appropriation had appeared in the estimates, and he thought the subject ought to be approached with the great consideration, and a proper limit set to the amount.
Col. Haultain approved of the appropriation, but thought the amount altogether too large. If the government would say positively what amount would be actually required he would be willing to vote for it, but in his own opinion the sum asked for was altogether too large.
Hon. Mr. Galt said he could give no explanations beyond what he had already stated. The matter was in the hands of the committee.
Mr. Smith (Toronto) thought the plan proposed by the member for Lambton was perhaps the best one. He disagreed with those who said the Militia were called out too soon. They were not called a day too soon, but they were called home again a great deal too soon.
Mr. Rymal had an idea to suggest to the House which was not original, but sill he thought it was a very good one. He would make all the inhabitants on the frontier detectives. The people there were generally loyal, but he wished to combine interest with patriotism and as he thought these Fenians were a sort of half-human, half-hyena, breed they should be dealt with accordingly. He proposed that the frontier men should get five dollars for every Fenian scalp (Great laughter.) $100,000 would pay for 20,000 scalps, and by the time there were brought in, there would be no more need of secret service money.
The item was carried – and the committee rose.
Mr. McKenzie asked the Postmaster-General to say whether or not he (Mr. McKenzie) had written to him recommending a person to fill the office of Registrar of Lambton, the date of the letter, the name of the party recommended and the nature of his (The P.M.G’s) reply.
Hon. Mr. Howland replied that he received the letter dated February 20th, recommending Dr. Johnson for appointment to the office of Registrar of Lambton, and he replied on the 23rd acknowledging receipt of the letter, but stating that action would not be taken immediately in the matter.
Mr. McKenzie – That is quite correct.
The House then adjourned at eleven o’clock.