Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (4 July 1866)

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Date: 1866-07-04
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 30-31.
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Wednesday, July 4th.

The speaker to chair at 3 o’clock.

The house sat with closed doors for half an hour.

When the galleries were opened a large number of petitions were presented.

Mr. Mackenzie introduced the bills to authorised to oil companies to hold and convey certain lands.

Mr. Dufresne, (Montcalm) introduced a bill relating to water courses in lower Canada.

Hon. JH Cameron introduced a bill to erect the County of peel into a separate County.

Mr. Currier introduced a bill to incorporate the St Patrick’s orphan asylum , also an act confer upon Ottawa college the power to University degrees.

A large number of private and local bills were introduced and read a first time.

Hon. Mr. Cameron asked whether was the intention of the government to take early proceedings for the trial of the prisoners lately taken in arms invading the province, by court martial?

Hon. John A. McDonald replied that it was the intention of the government to bring the prisoners to trial at an early day, before a competent tribunal.

Mr. Dufresne (Iberville) asked whether Didaci Tasse, Esq., who was dismissed from the office of collector of Inland Revenue, for the district of Iberville, coroner of the said district, and clerk of the court of the County of Iberville, after an inquiry into his conduct, which showed him to have been guilty of fraud against the government, had lately been appointed a justice of the peace?

Hon. Mr. Cartier said the reasons which disqualified Mr. tasse say as a collector of Inland Revenue would not disqualify him as a justice of the peace, and it was necessary that a loyal man should be appointed to that office.

Mr. JBE Dorion moved his resolutions which previous notice had been given in favour of colonization and a homestead law.

Hon. J.A. MacDonald said the principle of the motion was at variance with the relations existing between debtor and creditor in this and every other civilised country. The very depths the settler had encouraged with the merchant or others might have been the means that enabled him to clear his land, and it was contrary to the principles of justice that he should be placed in a position to defy his creditors . The resolutions of the hon. member he thought were extremely revolutionary in their tendency and ought not to be entertained.

Mr. Dufresne (Montcalm) imposed the resolution as the settlers credit was based upon his property .

Hon. George Brown considered that the attorney general held views against the homestead altogether too strong. The homestead laws applied in the United States was that a certain amount of the Labour and capital of the poor man should be placed beyond the risk of ordinary daily speculation, And this was very far from being dishonest. He considered […]

  • (p. 31)

[…] that this was a very important question that would force itself upon the attention of the country, as the system now in force in the western states was considered by many as draining the country of the large amount of its population. He asked the hon. member for Drummond and Arthabaska to withdraw his resolutions, as no practical good could flow from pressing them now. He (Mr. B) believed the intention of the government to be to pass the requisite measures to give effect to confederation, and adjourn as soon as possible, and after that time this question could be dealt with in a proper manner.

Mr. Mackenzie quite concurred in the remarks of the Attorney General West. He had seen the working of the homestead law in the western states, and he believed it was no advantage to the honest man, but quite the contrary. For his (Mr. Mck’s) part he was fully prepared to oppose the resolution and the principle of a homestead law , being satisfied that the law, as it is in Canada, is far more advantageous to the country.

Mr. Dunkin would like to see a well considered measure, whereby a certain amount of real estate, being free from debt or incumbrance might be set apart for maintenance, but to pass a homestead law in favour of a man that has nothing, merely means that when he settles on his land he shall have no credit because he can give no security.

Mr. JBE Dorion addressed the house in French in favour of a homestead law.

Hon. Mr. Cartier contended that, by the present state of the law, anyone having property free from debt might devise or give it away, attaching to his such conditions as would protect it from seizure. He then explain the great difficulties against wish the early settlers and lower Canada had to contend, and the burdens they had to bear before the abolition of the Seignorial Tenure, with many advantages they now enjoyed.  He next contrasted the lower Canadian public lands with those of the state of Maine, the latter being higher in price on the former, well as to free grants in the western states, the patent cost near as much, and even more, if all incidental expenses were to be counted. He had to pay $20 for his patent, besides going to a great deal of trouble, and it was very seldom that the original occupant became the patentee. He did not say that our system of disposing of public land should not be improved, but he believes that even now, it was more favourable to the settler than the free grant system, is carried out in the western states.

Mr. Pouliot addressed the house in French.

Mr. JBE Dorion spoke in English in reply to the attorney general West. He expressed his astonishment at the language used on this occasion by that hon. member, who last year himself assisted in carrying a bill whereby a man through the means of an assurance policy on his life might deprive his creditors of thousands of pounds for the benefit of his family. He could not therefore express his astonishment at the language used now on the proposal to protect the poor man’s family. As to the remarks of the attorney general East, he knew little about the American homestead law. The patent under that law cost but ten dollars and there were no other charges to pay. He (Mr. Dorion,) did not see why he should wait until Confederation is carried before bringing up this question. It would have a good effect on the country to bring the question before it.

The members were then called, and the house divided, when the motion was lost.

Yeas — 26. Nays — 78.

Hon. A.A. Dorion moved an address, stating that the vacancies in the offices of the collector of the customs for Montreal, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of lower Canada, and Sheriff of the district of Quebec, were injurious to the public service, and praying His Excellency to fill the same. He said the collectorship Of Montreal had been vacant now for 14 months, and he should like very much to know the reason why it had not been filled. The Chief Justiceship of lower Canada had also been vacant, and though the public had been informed that it was to have been filled up, yet no appointment has been made. The 3rd office, concerning the delay in filling which he desired information, was that of Sheriff of the district of Quebec, now vacant for about 2 months.

Hon. A.T. Galt said that the circumstances stated by the mover of the address showed that the public service had not suffered by the vacancy in the Montreal collectorship; Nevertheless it was the intention to make the appointment at an early day.

Hon. Mr. Cartier said that with regard to the Chief Justiceship of lower Canada, the government lost no time in coming to the conclusion to offer the office to the Honorable Judge Black . The correspondence took some time, and he regretted to say that honorable judge had declined to accept it. The Government then considered who should be appointed, and concluded to recommend the Hon. Judge Meredith to His Excellency. He was happy to say the judge Meredith had consented to accept, but begged a little delay on account of unfinished political business.

He (Mr. Cartier) now begged to announce that judge Meredith appointment as Chief Justice of lower Canada would be made in a few days. With regard to the vacancy in the Sheriff’s Office in the district of Quebec, he stated that by the law the deputy was acting Sheriff until a principal was appointed. The appointment, would soon be made but he did not consider himself bound to state further the particulars concerning it.

Hon. Mr. Holton said the explanations of the attorney general regarding the Chief Justiceship would he felt sure be accepted as satisfactory, and even with regard to the Sheriff of Quebec the delay had not been unreasonably long, but he wished he had given a full explanation of the reasons which have induced the government to delay for more than a year and filling up the vacant collectorship Of Montreal, an explanation which the honorable Minister of Finance had failed to give.

Hon. Mr. Galt replied stating that the argument of the hon. gentleman had entirely failed to prove that the public interest had suffered by the delay in the appointment wage, however he repeated would be made in a short time.

Hon. George Brown said, well it was proper that interest should be taken in the vacant offices and lower Canada , he would beg to call attention to the large number of vacancies an Upper Canada. There were those Other counties of Renfrew and Bruce, besides the registrarship of Huron, and he thought the government had exposed itself to the reproach of causing needless delay in filling out these offices.

Hon. J.A. MacDonald replied. The vacancy in the registrarship of Huron had been vacant but a very short time, and would be filled without delay. As to the County of Renfrew, the papers connected with its separation had only been completed on the 23rd of June, while those connected with Bruce were not yet completed, and less within the last 2 or 3 days. Let the members for Renfrew and Huron answer these were not the facts. Hon. gentleman should remember that certain conditions had to be complied with on the part of these counties before they could be set apart.

The house rose at 6 o’clock.

Evening setting.

The speaker took the chair at half past seven o’clock.

Hon. Mr. Brown moved in address for correspondence, &c. with reference to the fisheries in the Gulf of the St Lawrence. The Hon. member said the subject was one of very great importance.

Hon. J.A. MacDonald said the papers would be brought down immediately. The motion was carried.

On motion the house received the report of the Committee of the whole on Mr. Somerville resolution respecting the inspection of leather and raw hides, and a bill founded therein was introduced and read it first time.

The house went into Committee of the whole on Hon. Mr. Cameron’s bill to amend the act respecting attorneys at law. Bill reported an order to a third reading to-morrow .

Mr. Bellerose — bill respecting the building and repairing of churches; Passed through Committee and was read a second time.

Hon. Mr. Cameron — bill to amend the law of Crown and criminal procedure. Passed through Committee.

Mr. Mackenzie — bill to amend and consolidate the several acts respecting the assessment of property in Upper Canada, was read a second time and referred to a Select Committee.

Mr. McKellar moved second reading of the bill to amend and consolidate the several acts respecting the municipal institutions of Upper Canada; Carried, and bill referred to the Committee on the Assessment Law.

Mr. Bourassa — bill on weights and measures, Was read a second time, and refered to the Committee on banking and Commerce.

Mr. Geoffrion moved the second reading of the bill to amend a municipal act of lower Canada — carried and referred to Select Committee, after a long debate.

Mr. Archambeault moved the second reading of the bill to amend section 9 of chap. 6 of the consolidated statutes of lower Canada, respecting Tavern keepers and the sale of intoxicating liquors. — Carried.

Mr. Mackenzie moved the second reading of the bill to regulate the means of egress from public buildings, the provision being to compel the doors of all churches, theaters and places of public assembly, to open from the inside. — Carried and referred to a Select Committee.

The Mr. DeNiverville moved the second reading of the bill to amend cap. 70 of the consolidated statutes for lower Canada, intituled An Act respecting joint stock companies for the construction of roads and certain other works. — Carried and bill referred to a Select Committee.

Col. Haultain moved the second reading of the bill to continue, for a limited time, the act entitled , “an act to authorize the employment of military pensioners, and others, as a local police force, ” and for other purposes. Allowed to stand.

Col. Haultain moved the second reading of the act to amend the act respecting the granting of charters of incorporation to manufacturing, mining at other companies. — Carried, and referred to Committee on banking and Commerce.

Mr. Taschereau moved the second reading of the bill to amend the act to authorise the granting of charters of incorporation to manufacturing, mining and other companies. — carried.

Mr. Dufresne (Iberville) moved the second reading of the bill relating to the expenses of sales en justice in lower Canada. — carried.

Mr. Taschereau moved the second reading of the bill to amend the lower Canada game laws. — carried.

Hon. Mr. Cameron moved the second reading of the bill to amend the common law procedure act of Upper Canada.

Mr. Scatcherd said that one might imagine that the law of Upper Canada was in a very deplorable condition, when the hon. member for peel had no less than 5 bills on the notice papers to amend it. Other members had also introduced bills on similar subjects, the total number being 13. He had the same objections to these bills as was urged against the assessment tax introduced last Session; they should be consolidated , and as the common law procedure act of Upper Canada belonged to that section of the province, its amendment should be deferred until after Confederation.

Hon. J.A. MacDonald stated that the bill of the hon. member for peel had been read a second time last Session and referred to a Committee, though it was not passed on account of the brief duration of the Session. He descended from the proposition of the hon. member that because the measure referred exclusively to Upper Canada it should not be dealt with by this house.

Hon. J.S. MacDonald attacked provisions of the bill, contending that the amendment sought for to give sheriff’s poundage on the amount of execution whether realised or not out of the goods or lands seized, as unjust and a most improper pampering of a class officials who if they were not satisfied ought to resign.

Hon. J.H. Cameron stated that the first Clause to which the member for Cornwall referred had been amended at his own suggestion, And then all the provisions which he had objected were introduced by the special Committee last Session. He (Mr. C.) held in his hand the original draft of the bill which he had introduced, and it did not contain a single clause which the member for Cornwall had taken exception.

Mr. McGill strongly opposed the bill, urging as an illustration of its effect, that had it been enforced when Hamilton was in financial difficulty, that city would have had to pay the Sheriff $6000, instead of $3000 under the present state of the law.

Mr. Cameron said the member for Hamilton was evidently not aware, that before the consolidation of the statutes, the law allowed sheriffs to charge poundage precisely in the same way as provided for by this bill. But in consolidating the statutes, this point had been overlooked, and it was to remedy this omission and restore to sheriffs the same privileges they formerly enjoyed.

Hon. Mr. Mackenzie opposed the bill, contending that its effects would be to largely increase the amount of fees to be paid to sheriffs under certain executions.

After further discussion, the speaker decided that it was not competent for the house to deal with the 5th Session — that relating to sheriffs; It was consequently struck off the bill a second time.

Hon. Mr. Cameron moved the second reading of the bill to amend the law of relating to Crown debtors in Upper Canada — carried after debate, and the house adjourned at ten minutes to twelve o’clock. 

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