Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (24 July 1866)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 56-58.
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TUESDAY, July 24th, 1866.
The Speaker took the chair at three o’clock.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald complained that the Government allowed private bills to be introduced towards the close of the Session when the attention of the House ought to be devoted to matters of public interest.
Hon. J.A. Macdonald replied that he considered the government justified in giving the fullest opportunity for the passage of private bills. In its own sphere private Legislation was of more importance than public. Every private bill contributed in some degree to the progress of the locality, or the benefit of the interests affected.
The following bills were introduced and read a first time:
To enable the Canadian Loan and Investment Company to sell and dispose of certain lands. —Mr. Morrison.
To incorporate the Savings Bank of the St. Joseph’s section of the Montreal Temperance Society. —Mr. Dennis.
To capitalise the interest debt, and extend the time for the payment of the indebtedness of the County of Perth. —Mr. McFarlane.
To authorise the issue of Letters Patent to C.S. Gzowski, and Hon. D.L. Macpherson, for a certain invention for improvements in treating certain ores and alloys, and in obtaining metals and other products therefrom. —Attorney-General Macdonald.
Hon. Mr. Holton asked in what order the Government would be proceeded with?
Hon. Mr. Galt replied, that it was the intention of the Government to go on at once with the Militia items in Committee of Supply and if time permitted to pass also the remaining items in the general estimates.
On motion of Hon. Mr. Galt, the House went into Committee of Supply, Mr. Street in the chair.
The following (Militia) items were passed Adjutant-General $3,000; Deputy-Adjutant General Lower Canada, $2,400; Deputy-Adjutant General Upper Canada, $2,400; Two Assistant Adjutant-General, L.C. $3,200; Two Assistant Adjutant-Generals, U.C., $3,200; Two Deputy Assistant Adjutant-Generals, U.C., $2,400; Two Deputy Assistant Adjutant-Generals, L.C., $2,400; Superintendent Military Schools, $1,200; Military Surveyor, $1,200; Provincial Aid-de-camp, $1,840; Chief Clerk and Accountant, $2,000; Senior Clerk, $1,400; Supreindent [sic] of Stores, $1,400; Three Clerks at $1,200 each; One at $900; One at $800; One at $600; Two at $600; Messenger, $500; do $400. Total for Departmental Salaries, —$36,810.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald attacked the administration for the increase in the number of officers in the departments, and hoped that as many of these appointments were marked temporary and provisional, they would be dispensed with as soon as the exigencies of the service would [text missing].
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Hon. J.A. Macdonald said the position of the Minister of Militia was like that of the Minister of War. He was a civil officer, and had to bow to military authority on military matters. He explained the causes which led to the appointment of the Adjutant-General, upon whom the responsibility of the Department had been thrown, and he had chosen his own officers. The Adjutant-General required a certain degree of efficiency in the staff, and even the Lieut.-General commanding the forces desired that the Department should be brought up to an efficient standard. No man was recommended by him (Attorney-General) for any of those offices, the appointments had been made by the Military authorities with a due regard to the effective administration of the department.
The Attorney-General went over the names of the several appointments, explaining the necessities which had caused them, and the services performed. When the Adjutant-General came to consider the means of defence for our long exposed frontier he found there was not such a thing as a military map in the department. A Military Surveyor had therefore been appointed to examine the roads, and report upon the general features of the frontier to be defended. He could not agree with the member for Cornwall that the staff should at once be reduced to its old footing, on the ground that all danger was over.
That hon. gentleman might remember, for he was a soldier then, that after the troubles of 1837 the country was harassed with marauders for three long years, and though he (Atty.-General) would be very glad to find himself mistaken he did not think we should as yet consider ourselves altogether out of danger. As to the disposition of the forces the Attorney-General stated it should be understood that in time of war the militia are placed under the direct control of the commander of Her Majesty’s forces, and that the Adjutant-General had no orders to take form the government regarding their disposition or movements. Before sitting down he would read the following memorandum from the Adjt.-Gen. which he had no doubt would be accepted as satisfactory by the House, and would show that that gentleman had not by any means underrated the services of the Brigade Majors: —
“The Adjutant-General claims no merit personally for the efficiency of the Volunteer force, as evidenced by late events. He found that force for the most part in existence. The merit is due partly to the admirable material of which the Volunteer force is composed; partly to the zeal and efficiency of the executive officers in the different districts. As a general rule the A.G. has had great reason to be satisfied with the Brigade Majors whom he found on his arrival already appointed. But it must be evident that on any emergency greater concert and unity of action are required, for the purpose of combining military movements, than could be ensured by the agency of the Brigade Majors working each in his comparatively limited districts. Without derogating from the merit due to the Brigade Majors, therefore, the services of officers of more extended military experience are necessary to direct and combine the efforts of the Brigade Majors.
Just as in every regiment, in order to secure unity of action, the authority of the Subalterns of a Company is centralizd in the Captain; the authority of the Captains in the Majors, and the authority of the Majors in the Lieut.-Col.’ so, on a larger scale, the authority of two or more Brigade Majors requires to be centralized in one district Executive Staff Officer. It was in this view that the Assistant and Deputy A.A.G.’s were appointed. The A.G. claims the credit of having recommended these appointments and he confidently appeals to the representatives of the different districts in both Houses of Parliament, to [text missing] testimony to the efficiency and zeal with which the duties of these appointments have been performed.
Mr. Rankin next addressed the House, and was followed by
Hon. J.S. Macdonald, who spoke at considerable length, referring to the establishment of the Military Schools, the appointment of Brigade Majors the organization of some 15,000 Volunteers under his Government, &c., &c.
Col. Haultain said the country would no doubt congratulate itself that the member for Cornwall was not Minister of Militia, for it was evident he knew very little about military matters. There were several duties which had to be performed by the Staff, not properly pertaining to the Adjutant-General’s department, and it was because of the absence of classification that it appeared so large. As to reducing the Staff at the present time, he reminded the House that that it should properly be the last thing to take place in the general plan of placing our military organization on a smaller footing, and he considered the reputation and ability of the Adjutant-General ought to satisfy the House that the Milita department would be well administered.
Mr. Smith (Toronto) did not consider the Adjutant-General’s office an easy one, or his Staff too large. He thought the Brigade Major salary altogether too small, and would be glad to vote for its increase. The Assistant Adjutant-Generals might be well employed in perfecting our Volunteer force, which was at present in a very inefficient state.
The speaker took the chair at half-past seven o’clock.
When the orders were called,
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said there was great anxiety on both sides of the House to adjourn as soon as possible. It was understood that besides passing the ordinary supplies, this Session was held chiefly to dispose of the measures relating to the proposed scheme of Confederation. Yet to this day these measures have not been preceded with, and here they were going on night after night.
John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] said that it was understood with regard to the Local Constitutions that the resolution should be laid before the House, and that the country should have a reasonable time to consider them before they were finally disposed of. There had been some delay in the preparation of the bill to amend the election law, a very important measure, but he had himself been pressed for time by other matters, and had not been able to give that degree of attention to which it deserved before submitting it to the House. It would, however, with the other measures of the government be preceded with, and the House would have an early opportunity of considering it.
Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said the house had not been fairly dealt with, but the delay could not be charged up on his side of the House.
John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] also attacked the government for the delay of public business. The explanation of the Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald] regarding the distribution of the resolutions providing for the Local Constitutions, that the country might have time to consider them, only proved that they should have been introduced at the beginning of the Session.
The House then went again into Committee and resumed the debate on Departmental Salaries.
After a brief discussion the several items were agreed to.
In reply to Mr. Dunkin,
Hon. J.A. Macdonald stated that telegraph lines might be extended to exposed points, from the incidental militia expenses, without a special vote for that purpose.
Col. Haultain hoped that no time would be lost in arming our Volunteers with breach loaders (Hear, hear.)
Mr. D.A. McDonald contended that the British Government ought to furnish the Canadians with arms. If the people here had to supply both men and arms for the defence of the country, it would create had feeling.
Mr. Ford Jones said it was too late in the day now to ask the Government of Great Britain to supply us with arms. Far better that we should see that our Volunteers were properly provided when they entered the field. Better 10,000 men well supplied than double the number poorly equipped.
The following items were then passed:
Contingent expenses for stationery, printing, inspecting and repairing arms, transport of all government stores, and all other incidental expenses of the militia, $56,000; compensation for accidents or injuries on drill, $2,000; ball and blank ammunitions, $30,000.
Mr. Cartwright, on the item of Military Schools $100,000, addressed the House at considerable length on the general organization of the Militia. After reviewing the several systems suggested for its improvement, he argued in favor of training a certain number of men each year for six months successively, which would give them a degree of efficiency that could not be acquired through a few days, annual drill. He regretted that he had not been allowed the Committee on this subject he had asked for last session, as he felt that he would have been able to prove, even to the satisfaction of the member for Cornwall, that the plan for which he contended was the one which would best meet the requirementsof the country. He desired to see some definite arrangemets made with the English government on the question of defence, though he expected, especially after Confederation, that England would deal liberally with us. He regretted that there was not more consideration given to the subject by this House.
The item was carried.
The following items were also carried: —Two storekeepers at $600 each; seven storekeepers at $300 each; rent of armouries and public buildings, care of arms, pay of Sargeant-Majors of field batteries, caretakers and storemen of armouries, including fuel and light for the several buildings, $46,700—total for public armouries, $53,000; clothing and equipment of force and great coats, $281,000; sixteen Brigade Majors, horse allowances and travelling expenses, $19,000; efficient volunteer corps under sec. 18 of the Volunteer Militia Act, $5,000; drill sheds and armouries, &c., rifle ranges, $110,000. On the item “Amount due Imperial Government” for stores, $45,000.
Mr. D.A. Macdonald asked for explanations.
Hon. J.A. Macdonald replied that the amount had to be placed in the estimates, though it was not expected that it would have to be paid by the country. When our volunteers were required suddenly to take the field there were many things needed for their equipment, which had to be supplied from the Imperial stores in this country. These had, of course, been charged to the Province by the military authorities here, but they expected to adjust the account with the Imperial Government. The Attorney-General then read a memorandum from the Adjutant-General, recommending that a requisition be made upon the Imperial Government for arms, &c.
In reply to Mr. D. Ford Jones,
Hon. J.A. Macdonald said if the Imperial Government adopted the breech-loading arm, it would as a matter of course to our Volunteers in the usual way. He believed the feeling was now general in favor of the breech-loader, and it would in all probability he adopted.
The item was carried, as were also the following:
Rent of an office for Brigade Major Macpherson, at Montreal, from Nov. 1862 to 31st Dec. 1864, at $200 per annum, —$420; Arrears of Drill Shed rent due Captain McMaster, at Toronto, $400.
On the item “Buildings for Magazines of Arms and Military Stores at London, Toronto, and Kingston, —$20,000.
Mr. Magill, with all due deference to military authorities, did not see why Hamilton should be excluded from this list. He believed that the most important military points were at one time considered to be Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, Toronto and Hamilton. He thought the importance of its position, as well as its well known military enthusiasm, entitled it to be considered as well as the other cities named.
The remaining items, —Compensation to pensioners, in lieu of land, —$16,000, and for General Militia Service, $734,3000, were then agreed to and the committee rose.
On motion of Hon. Mr. Galt, the two previous reports of committee of supply were received, and concurrence taken thereon.
On the motion for concurrence in the item $22,500 for slides and booms, a long debate ensued, in which the old ground debated in committee was again gone over.
Hon. Mr. Holton said these public works on the Black River were either local or general. If locakl, they should be acquired by the local governments, if general, by the future Confederation. In either case the present government ought not to assume them. He therefore moved, seconded by the Hon. Mr. Thibaudeau, that the item be reduced to $10,000.
Hon. Mr. Chapais replied these were the only public works of the kind in the hands of private parties, and it was desirable that they should be assumed by the government for the advantage of the lumbering interest.
Hon. Mr. Brown opposed concurrence, and hoped the government would abandon the proposed purchase of these works.
Hon. Mr. Macdougall said the Commissioner of Public Works had come to the conclusion that it was in the interest of the public service that these works should be assumed by the country. The amount of money was a very small one, compared with other sums placed in their hands for the service of the country, and the great trade of Central Canada was deeply interested in the arrangement being carried out. The Government had the confidence of the House in the administration of the affairs of the country, and nobody could suppose that they had any anxiety to secure Mr. Poupore’s vote by this purchase. They acted only in the interests of the public service in seeking this appropriation, and on these grounds appealed to the support of the House. If the member for Chateauguay, or the member for South Oxford, again desired to test their strength they were of course ag liberty to do so.
Mr. McKenzie said the public service could not be affected by the purchase this year, as not a stick of timber would pass down this season.
Mr. Powell said thatrepairs were needed which could only be done when the water was low.
Mr. McKenzie continued to argue that it was the need of these repairs which harried on the purchase. This made the case still worse in his view.
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Hon. Mr. Chapais said the dilapidated state of these works was the very reason that led him to undertake their purchase. He would not assume the responsibility of stopping the whole lumber trade of the country by delaying repairs on these works, and he could not of course proceed with them until they had been acquired by the government.
Mr. Dunkin said if the works had been in good repair there might have been reason or delay, but they required immediate attention in the interests of the trade; it was better that the thing should be done at once.
Mr. Powell said, though the works were not in good repair, the slides were there, and it was these which were to be purchased. The sheeting required repair, and if not attended to immediately the lumber trade of next year would be stopped. This was the responsibility which those would incur who would vote for the amendment.
Mr. Dunkin resumed his remarks, saying that the accident of the slides being the property of a member of this House ought not to prevent their being acquired by the Government.
Mr. Morris supported the appropriation, and opposed the amendment.
The members were called in, and the House divided, when the amendment was lost. —Yeas, 32. Nays, 59.
YEARS, —Messrs. Biggar, Bowman, Brown, Burwell, Caron, Coupal, Dorion, (Hochelaga,) Fortier, Gagnon, Holton, Houde, Haultain, Joly, Laframboise, Lajoie, Macdonald, (Cornwall,) Mackenzie, (Lambton,) McGivern, McKellar, O’Halloran, Oliver, Paquet, Parker, Perrault, Ross, (Prince Edward,) Rymal, Scatcherd, Scoble, Stirton, Thibaudeau, Wells, Wright, (East York, —32.
NAYS, —Messrs. Archambeault, Ault, Beaubin, Bell, Blanchet, Bown, Brousseau, Cameron, (North Ontario,) Cartier, (Attorney-General,) Cauchon, Chapais, Cockburn, Cornellier, Cowan, De Boucherville, Denis, De Niverville, Dickson, Duckett, Dufresne, (Montcalm,) Dunkin, Ferguson, (Frontenac,) Galt, Gaucher, Gaudet, Gibbs, Harwood, Higginson, Howland, Huot, Irvine, Jones, (N. Leeds and Grenville,) Jones, (South Leeds,) Knight, Macdonad, (Toronto West), MacFarlane, McConkey, McDougall, McIntyre, McMonies, Morris, Morrison, Pinsonneault, Pope, Powell, Rankin, Raymond, Robitaille, Ross, (Champlain,) Ross (Dundas,) Shanly, Smith, (Toronto East,) Somerville, Tremblay, Walsh, Webb, Willson, Wright (Ottawa County—59.
The item was carried on the same division:
On the item of $500,000 towards the completion of the Public Buildings,
Mr. Perrault moved in amendment, that it be reduced to $300,000. He would have liked to bring it down to a less amount, but he believed that sum was already contracted for, or actually necessary. He went over the details, which he contended could be well dispensed with, and if this House could occupy these buildings, why could not the Confederate Parliament? He believed that Canada had already expended enough, and that the new members coming into to share in the use of these buildings should also help to pay for them.
Col. Haultain said if the hon. member would propose a reduction of $100,000 he would support him, but he did not think that the item would bear to be reduced by $200,000.
Mr. McKenzie entered into a lengthy discussion of the details, some of the items in which he contended might very properly be postponed. He next entered upon particulars of the estimates for work already done in fitting up several portions of the House. The fitting up of the Library was put down at $4,000, while one third the amount ought to have paid for it; the platform on which the Speaker’s [text missing] worth some $20 or $25, was entered at $135, and so on. These estimates he said were most extraordinary, and it was the [text missing] of the Commissioner to institute a searching investigation into them. Upon a full consideration of the subject, he thought $180,000 might be struck off. It was, he believed, a general understanding, as the Confederate Parliament would meet in this country, that we should furnish the building, and to this he had no objection, but he was convinced that [text missing] was no necessity for many of these items being immediately expended, and he trusted the Government would consent to deduct $150,000 or $180,000 from the appropriation.
Hon. Mr. Chapais explained that many of the items referred to, by the member for Lambton, had been incurred in preparing the building for the reception of Parliament. He had the fullest confidence in the gentleman who superintend the works, and he had taken the [text missing] as he had furnished them.
Mr. Dunkin said as he understood the [text missing], there was only a sum of $150,000 [text missing] which the House could deal, and as he [text missing] how a [text missing] of $200,000 could [text missing] made with that sum, he must vote against [text missing].
Hon. Mr. Holton twitted the member for Brome for supporting the Government.
Mr. Dunkin replied, denying the member for Chateauguay’s right to call his course in question. He had always been a conservative, and had held firmly to the political opinions with which he started in life.
Mr. Jones (North Leeds) said that the government of which the member for Chateauguay was a member had incurred a good deal of responsibility in the extravagances perpetrated on these buildings. After appointing a Commission which cost the country $22,000, and condemned architects and contractors and all concerned. That government relet [sic] the work to same contractors at a higher figure, and re-appointed one of the delinquents. They had also referred the matters in dispute between the government and contractors to arbitration.
Mr. McKenzie moved in amendment that the appropriation be reduced to be reduced to $400,000. He did not think that $200,000 could well be taken off, but he did believe that at all events $100,000 might well be saved.
Hon. M.C. Cameron spoke against both motions. He thought it the proper policy to place our “magnificent folly” in the best position, and not expose its nakedness by leaving it unfinished. It was not be cheesing or paring now that any good could be effected, for by delaying the expenditure how it might be greater at another time; no doubt there were some who would like to see the appropriation defeated for the purpose of destroying Ottawa as the future Capital, but with such he had no sympathy.
After further debate the members were called in, and the House divided on Mr. McKenzie’s amendment, which was lost. Yeas 36; Nays 54.
YEAS. —Messrs. Bowman, Brown, Caron, Coupal, Cowan, Dorion (Drummond and Arthabaska), Dorion (Hochelaga), Dufresne (Iberville), Fortier, Gagnon, Haultain, Holton, Houde, Laframbois [sic], Lajoie, Macdonald (Glengarry), MacFarlane, Mackenzie (Lambton), Magill, McGiverin, McKellar, O’Halloran, Oliver, Paquet, Parker, Perrault, Pinsonneault, Pouliot, Ross (Prince Edward), Rymal, Scatcherd, Stirton, Thibeaudeau, Tremblay, Wells, Wright (East York). —36.
NAYS. —Messrs. Archambeault, Ault, Bell, Bellerose, Biggar, Blanchet, Bown, Brousseau, Burwell, Cameron (North Ontaria [sic],) Carling, Cartier (Attorney-General), Cauchon, Chapais, Cockburn, Cornellier, Currier, De Boucherville, Denis, De Niverville, Dickson, Duckett, Dufresne, (Montcalm), Dunkin, Ferguson (Frontenac), Galt, Gaucher, Gibbs, Harwood, Higginson, Howland, Huot, Jones (North Leeds and Grenville), Jones (South Leeds), McConkey, McDougall, McGee, McMonies, Morris, Pope, Poupore, Powell, Rankin, Raymond, Robitaille, Ross (Champlain), Ross (Dundas), Shanly, Smith (Toronto East), Somerville, Walsh, Webb, Wilson, Wright (Ottawa County) —54.
Mr. Perrault’s amendment was then declared lost on division, and the item was concurred in.
Several other items were then concurred in.
Hon. Mr. Holton, seconded by Hon. Mr. Dorion, moved that the appropriation for Detective and Secret Service be reduced to $50,000. Lost. Yeas 26; Nays 60.
The remaining items wereconcurred in, and on motion of Hon. Mr. Galt the House went into Committee of Ways and Means, to consider two resolutions, which were necessary before proceeding with the excise and tariff bills.
The resolutions were reported, and the House adjourned at a quarter past one o’clock.
[CORRECTION. —Among the “third readings” in our report of Monday’s proceedings, we omitted to mention the Act “To incorporate the Globe Printing Company.”]