Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (9 August 1866)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 82-83.
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THURSDAY, Aug. 9, 1866.
The SPEAKER took the chair at 3 o’clock.
Some discussion took place as to the order of proceeding with public business.
Hon. Mr. GALT moved the reception of the report of the Committee of the whole on certain resolutions respecting the currency.
Mr. CARTWRIGHT desired to ask the government certain questions.
1st. Will Government pledge themselves positively thats they will not use the power of using legal tender notes if they can obtain five millions ($5,000,000,) or so much thereof as may be requisite by sale of their Debentures?
2nd. Will Government consent not to enter into any definite arrangement with the Bank of Montreal, as to issue of legal tender notes, till the first of September?
3rd. In the event of the other Banks jointly or severally engaging to provide Government with £400,00o sterling, in exchange for Debentures, on or before the first of October, will Government agree to wait till the first of December before proceeding further with the scheme?
4th. Will Government pledge themselves to use power of induing eight millions ($8,000,000) legal tenders only in proportion to amount required, e.g. if they can realize 2 1/2 millions by the sale of Debentures, only issue four millions of legal tenders and so in pro rata?
5th. Are the 7 per cent Debentures prepared and ready for issues and if not will Government state when they will be ready?
Hon. Mr. GALT said as the Government had received no notice of the questions, he hoped his hon. friend would wait for an answer until the second sitting of the House.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON suggested that the questions be printed forthwith.
The report was then received.
Hon. Mr. GALT moved the first reading of the bill founded thereon.—Carried.
Hon. Mr. GALT moved that the House go into Committee on the bill to amend the acts respecting duties of Customs and the Tariff of Duties payable under them.
Hon. Mr. ROSE moved an amendment relating to the adoption of specific duties, &c.
Hon. Mr. HOLTON said no opportunity had yet been afforded of discussing the Trade Commission to the West Indies.
After further remarks,
Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL referring to the results of the West India Commission, and the tariff adopted by the Government, said that a gentleman from Demerara, who had visited this place a few weeks since, after the whole question of the tariff had been discussed, and been so well satisfied with the prospects of establishing direct trade with the West Indies, as to have arranged for two cargoes of staves to Demerara, and two cargoes of sugar for the return trip. He believed that greater change would yet be made with the view of offering better facilities for direct trade with those countries.
Hon. Mr. ROSE’s amendment was lost. Yeas, 22, Nays 66.
Hon. Mr. DORION moved in amendment that the increased duties on tea and molasses be struck out. He briefly addressed the House in favour of the amendment.
Hon. Mr. GALT contended that the amounts levied were not more than the exigencies of the country required. The Government did believe, from the prospect of the harvest which was uncertain in June, but which was now very favourable, that a larger revenue would be derived from customs and excise than had formerly been anticipated, but not more than would be required to meet the increased appropriations which the Government had found it necessary to ask the House to make.
The amendment was lost. Yeas, 29; Nays, 63.
Hon. Mr. ROSE moved an amendment providing that rolled iron for the manufacture of nails be subject to a duty of ten per cent.
Messrs. Rose, Dorion, Gibbs and Smith, spoke in favour of the amendment.
Hon. Mr GALT had been instructed by the Government to say that they were not prepared to make the concessions asked for by the member for Montreal Centre.
Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL defended the tariff. There was no special reason why this one article should be singled out from the free list, and placed under a merely protective duty.
Hon. M. C. CAMERON said member might have some difficulty in explaining their votes in favor of the increased duty on tea. He had voted for that because he believed it required for the purposes of revenue, but he should vote in favor of this amendment because the government, in resisting it, were needlessly injuring the interests of an important branch of industry, and that without any benefit to the revenue.
Mr. McKENZIE spoke in favor of the amendment.
Mr. PERRAULT addressed the House in favor of protection to manufactories.
The amendment was lost. Yeas 33; Nays 56.
Mr. COWAN moved an amendment that Mill and Factory machinery be placed on the list of ten per cent.
Lost. Yeas 27; Nays 58.
Hon. Mr. DORION moved and amendment to strike out the duty on flour and meal.
Lost. Yeas 21; Nays 68.
Dr. PARKER moved an amendment that a specific customs duty be levied upon wheat, equivalent to that imposing upon flour. Ruled out of order, as imposing new duties which should originate in Committee.
Mr. RYMAL moved that mowing, threshing and reaping machines be added to the free list.
Lost. Yeas 26; Nays 62.
Hon. Mr. DORION moved to strike out the increased duties from 4 to 6 per cents on crude Petroleum.
Lost. Yeas 17; Nays 65.
Mr. WALSH moved that the export duty on saw logs and shingle bolts shall not take effect until the first day of November next.
Lost on division.
The House then went into Committee on the bill, Mr. Shanly in the chair. At 6 o’clock the Committee rose, reported progress, and asked leave to sit again.
The SPEAKER took the chair at 7 1/2 o’clock.
Hon. J. A. MACDONALD moved that tomorrow the House do meet at ten o’clock, a.m., and sit until one p.m., and that after routine proceedings, public bills shall be proceeded with first, and secondly, private bills.—Carried.
Hon. J. A. MACDONALD presented the report of the Committee to which was referred the Act to amend the Medical Act of Upper Canada. Committee reported the same.
The House resumed in Committee of the Whole on the tariff, and reported the same.
Report received and bill read a third time and passed.
Hon. Mr. GALT moved the second reading of the bill to provide for the issue of Provincial notes.
Hon. Mr. GLAT replied to Mr. Cartwright’s questions published above. To the first, he repeated the declaration which the Government had already made, that if the debentures realized the amount required to meet the demands upon the country, the issue of notes would not be resorted to.
To the second question, he replied that the Government must decline to enter into any specific agreement of the kind. They reserved to themselves the right to determine the period when these arrangements be carried out, but very likely it might not be before the time mentioned.
To the third question, he said no such proposal had been made by the banks to the Government, and in any case, the Government could not enter into any such agreement.
To the fourth question, he replied that the Government could not undertake to enter into arrangements of that kind without abdicating their responsibility as a Government. It was not consistent with the public interest that the Government should give any pledges of the kind. To the 5th question, he answered that the Government were preparing, and, he presumed, would issue to-morrow their proposals for the Debentures; and these will provide that parties may make deposits for the purchase of Debentures at any of the agencies of the Bank of Montreal. These were the […]
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[…] answers which the Government had instructed him to give, and he could not make any more explicity declarations upon the point. It would be the duty of the House to rely upon the Government, using their best judgment in the carrying out of these measures.
The bill was then read a second time.
Hon. Mr. Galt then moved that the House go into Committee of the Whole on the bill.
Hon. Mr. Brown moved an amendment that it be an instruction to the Committee to strike out the clauses providing for the issue of a Provincial Currency, and to provide instead thereof that the government be authroised to borrow the mount of money required by the issue of Debentures for any length of time, and at any rate of interest the government may see fit.
He said not a word was needed to show the proprierty of his amendment.It had been made very evident that the government could raise the money required without seizing on the currency of the country, and it was simply to prevent the putting of the bank of issue schemem into force that he moved his amendment. It would be a most dangerous thing to disturb the currency at this juncture, and deprive the country of the means of moving off the procduce of the coming harves.t
Hon. J.A. Macdonald said after the discussion which had taken place upon this question, he would not now attempt to discuss the motion of the hon. member for South Oxford. He would merely say that it struck at the vital principle of the Government proposal. It was therefore a vote of want of confidence.
Mr. Street dissented from the proposition laid down by the Atty.-General West. He denied that his voting for this motion should be taken as a declaration of his want of confidence in the general policy of the Government. He was opposed to the proposition which the Government had made, and would therefore vote for the motion of the member for South Oxford without meaning to desert his friends.
Hon. Mr. Macdougall said his hon. friend must see that if the motion of the hon. member for South Oxford carried, the Government of the country must pass into the hands of hon. gentlemen opposite. The Government had considered the question in all its bearings, and they had deliberately come to the conclusion that the proposition they had submitted was absolutely necessary in the interests of the country. The hon. member for South OXord knew too much about questions of the kind to believe that the mere placing of a discretionary power, in the hands o the Government, to issue $8,000,000 of Provncial notes, was equivalent to the establishment of a Bank of Issue. The proposition before the House would not bear any such construction.
Mr. Dunkin would vote against the amendment, because he entirely disapproved of it. He believed the propostion as now modified, was a very sound one, and the only thing he regretted was that too much effort was to be made to borrow the money on debentures. He prefrred altogether the issue of Provincial notes as the most legitimate, and the most advantageous mode of raising the money required He considered it the duty of the Government to be supplied with more money than they might think they really wanted. He should vote with the Government, because he believed in the soundness of the policy, without reference to confidence or non-confidence.
Mr. M.C. Cameron had listened carefully to the whole discussion, and had not yet heard an argument to convince him that the proposition was not a good one, in the present requirements o fht ecountry. The opposition appeared to him to come from the banks, and he said it was unfortunate on this occasion that that interest was so largely represented on the floor of this House. The member for South Oxford might also, for reasons of his own, desire to place the Government in a false position, but even he had to admit that the Government were offering the country a good security: it was no shinplaster scheme. He regretted that the Finance Minister should have offered to pay seven per cent. on the proporsed debentures, because he believed that the banks would have been compelled to jave taken these debentures at that rate, which he considered a reasonable one. The banks had not always worked to the interest of the trade of the country, as the Bank of Montreal was not the only one which had shut down at unseasonable times, though it had achieved an unenviable notoriety in that respect. He should vote against the amendment, but disapproved of making the vote on of confidence, as some members might have reasons for voting against the Government proposition, without desiring to withdraw their confidence.
Dr. Parker contended that it was not wise to change the currency of the country at this time. He did not think the case made out that this was the only way to save the credit of the country. He argued that it was a wrong principle to disturb the whole banking system of the country, without first having referred the question to a committee, to be thoroughly and carefully investigated.
Hon. Mr. Howland replied to the previous speaker, and also to the member for South Oxford; that hon. gentleman had been a prominent member of the Government for some time, and yet, during that time, had never made any proposition to relieve the country of these liabilities.
He (Mr. Howland) also held that the Attorney-General West had placed the question fairly before the House. It could not be otherwise than a question of confidence, because, if this House should now say to the Government that it would not place in their hands the means which they had deemed to be necessary for carrying on the Government, it was clearly a declaration that the Government had lost the confidence of this House.
Mr. Gibbs said it was very evident that the government had fullydetermined upon issuing their Provincial notrs, for they had put forward that scheme in a way which was calculated to defeat the sale of Debentures. He exceedingly regretted that the Attorney-General West had made the question one of confidence, but he would on this occasion follow the example of the member for Weklland. The government had allowed the tariff to be modified in many particulas, and he he thought they should have consented to abandon the proposal for the issue of Provincial notes, and raised the money on Debentures, even if they paid 8 per cent interest.
Mr. Cartwright said the Government had proposed to confiscate five-ninths of the circulation of all the banks of the country except the bank of Montreal. They had unfairly discriminated in favor of that instuttiion, and in a particular manner against the banks of Upper Canada, as well as the commercial interest which so largely depended upon the circulation of the banks. He said it was unjust to him and others in a similar position to make the vote one of confidence or non-confidence. He ahd confidence in the gentlemen composing the government and in their general policy, but he confessed his want of confidence in this scheme, and his intention of voting for the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Howland said it should be known by this House that the banks held about $29,000,000 of deposits, upon one-half which they did not pay one cent. of interest. They have a circulation of $11,000,000 on which they realized a very large profit, and to meet all that they had only specie to the amount of $6,000,000. It did not become those who represented these institutions to put forward their interests against the interests of the country at large. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. McKenzie regretted the declaration of the Attorney-General West, which would prevent a free expression of opinion on a question which ought to be discussed and voted on with a complete absence of party feeling. He would have great pleasure in voting against the Government scheme, as he considered it a dangerous one to the interests of the country.
Hon. Mr. Dorion spoke in favor of the amendment of the member for South Oxford.
Hon. Mr. Cartier replied to Mr. Dorion.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald was determined in as far as his vote would do so, to give the Government the means of paying the floating debt of the country, either by debentures or by the issue of Provincial currency. He was ashamed to hear any one get up to oppose the proposition that we should borrow from ourselves, instead of being compelled to beg our loans from England. He accepted the proposition of the Government because he believed it was for the best interests of the country, and because had no faith in the predictions of hon. gentlemen, who said it was going to bring ruin and disaster.
But what did surprise him was that the member for South Ontario (Gibbs), the member for Welland (Street), and the member for Lennox and Addington (Cartwright) who accused the Government of having brough in a scheme to ruin the country, still desired to continue their confidence in that Government. If these gentlemen were really convinced that the Government were endeavoring to ruin the country surely they ought to withdraw their confidence. But thtese gentlemen cared more for the interests of the banks than they did for the countyr; they said that by this scheme the country was to get a large share of the profits, which they now divided among themselves. He then moved in amendment to the amendment, that the Committee be instructed to strike out the clause in the bill abolishing the penalty for usury as against the banks.
Hon. Mr. Holton would vote for the amendment of the member for Cornwall, as a protest against the way the Government had taken of disposing of the important question of interest, without consideration and without due notice.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald’s amendment was lost. Yeas, 34. Nays, 78.
The House divided on the Hon. Mr. Brown’s amendment, which was lost. Yeas, 39, Nays 70.
YEAS: —Messrs. Bourassa, Brown, Burwell, Caron, Cartwright, Chambers, Dorion, (Drummond and Arthabaska), Dorion, (Hochelaga,) Dufresne, (Iberville.), Fortier, Geoffrion, Gibbs, Haultain, Holton, Houde, Laframboise, Lajoie, MacFarlane, MacKenzie, (Lambton,) McGiverin, McKellar, Munro, Paquet, Parker, Perrault, Pouliot, Ross, (Prince Edward,) Rymal, Smith, (Toronto East,) Street, Thompson Wells. —32.
NAYS: —Messrs. Alleyn, Archambeault, Ault, Bell, Bellerose, Biggar, Blanchet, Bowman, Bown, Brousseau, Cameron, (North Ontario,) Cameron, (Peel,) Carling, Cartier, (Attorney-General,) Cauchon, Chapais, Cockburn, Cowan, Currier, DeBoucherville, Dickson, Duckett, Dufresne, (Montcalm,) Dunkin, Ferguson, (Frontenac,) Ferguson, (South Simcoe,) Galt, Gaucher, Gaudet, Harwood, Higginson, Howland, Huot, Jones, (North Leeds and Grenville,) Jones, (South Leeds,) Langevin, LeBoutillier, Macdonald, (Attorney-General,) Macdonald, (Cornwall,) Magill, McConkey, McDougall, McGee, McIntyre, McMonies, Morris, Morrison, Oliver, Pinsonneault, Pope, Poulin, Powell, Rankin, Raymond, Robitaille, Rose, Ross, (Dundas,) Scatcherd, Scoble, Shanly, Somerville, Stirton, Taschereau, Tremblay, Wallbridge, (North Hastings,) Walsh, White, Wright, (Ottawa County,) Wright, East York).—70.
The House then went into Committee on the bill. —Mr. Shanly in the Chair.
The Committee rose and reported the bill; report received.
On the motion for the third reading of the bill,
Mr. Bourassa moved that the bill be recommitted for the purpose of expunging the 5th clause, abolishing the penalty against banks for usury.
Lost. Yeas 18; Nays 69.
The bill was then read a third time and passed.
Hon. Mr. Galt then moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.
Hon. J.S. Macdonald moved in amendment that an address be presented to His Excellency, asking His Excellency to recommend an appropriation of $500 to purchase a bust of the late Hon. Robert Baldwin.
After explanations, the motion was withdraw [sic] with the understanding that the Government should take the matter into consideration.
The House then went into Committee ofsupply and passed all the items in the suppementary [sic] estimates, discussion being reserved until concurrence to-morrow.
The bill respecting the Bar of Lower Canada, (Attorney-General Cartier), passed through Committee.
The following bills passed through Committee, and were read a third time:
To amend the Act incorporating the Bank of Northumberland. —Mr. Sol.-Gen. Cockburn.
To amend the 29th Vic., Chap. 7, respecting works connected wth the Defence of the Province. —Hon. Mr. Atty.-Gen. Cartier.
To confirm the title of lands held in trust for certain of the Indians resident in this Province (from Legislative Council). —Hon. Mr. Sol.-Gen. Cockburn.
An Act to amend the Act incorporating Belleville Seminary, and to confer on the same University powers, in so far as regards degrees in arts (from Legislative Council.) —Mr. Macdougall.
To amend the charter of the Bank of Canada (from Legislative Council.) —Hon. Mr. Sol. Gen. Cockburn.
To incorporate the Fenelon Falls, Minden, Haliburton, and Northern Lakes Steam Navigation Company. —Hon. Mr. Sol.-Gen. Cockburn.
Bill for the protection of sheep in Upper Canada, and to impose a tax on dogs.
The House adjourned at 2:25 a.m.