Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates [Ministerial Explanations], 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (20 June 1864)

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Date: 1864-06-20
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 202.
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MONDAY, June 20th, 1864.

The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.

After the presentation and reading of petitions and other routine business—


Mr. J. S. SMITH moved that the Hamilton City Election Committee have leave to adjourn until Saturday, July 2nd.—Carried.

Ministerial Explanations

When the Orders of the Day were called—

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West] rose and said—Immediately after the adjournment on Friday last, a conference was held between three members of the Government and the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown) for the purpose of establishing a basis on which future Governmental action might be had. We had also several meetings on Saturday, and two meetings to day. I am enabled to state that although grave questions—the gravest questions—have arisen, and although the difficulties are very great that surround any attempt at a solution of the questions which it is hoped will settle the sectional feelings between the two sections of the Province, yet we have made considerable—I may say great—progress, and such progress that I believe we shall be able to arrive—and have every reason to hope we shall be able to arrive at a basis on which both parties can agree. The subject is so complex in its nature—there are so many questions to be settled—that we have not been able yet to arrive at a conclusion which can be presented to the House; and we are therefore compelled to ask it to adjourn until to-morrow.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he was willing to express the same view in reference to this matte as he had done the other day. The difficulties connected with this question demanded that the Government of the day should have ample time to consider it in all its bearings; but he repeated, at the same time, that he would like the hon. Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald] to state whether any basis had been agreed upon, or a proposition for reconstruction, or proposals to that effect had taken place. However, if that hon. gentleman informed the House that matters were in such a stage—that prudence prevented further disclosures, he (Mr. Macdonald) would be satisfied with that, as far as he was concerned. The subject under consideration was of such very great importance that Ministers should be allowed another day, and as far as he was concerned, he should not grudge them the delay asked for.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Arthur Rankin [Essex] would like to hear something on this matter from the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown].

George Brown [Oxford South]—It is my duty to endorse what has fallen from the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. J.A. Macdonald); and I will take this opportunity of saying to my friends of this House, with whom I have not had an opportunity fully to consult, that when the basis shall be arrived at I will communicate it to them.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Arthur Rankin [Essex] hoped that when those gentlemen had arrived at a basis satisfactory to themselves, they would give the House an opportunity to consider whether it was desirable or not to accede to the propositions agreed upon. He trusted that the parties negotiating would be as considerate in dealing with the House as it had been with them; and he hoped that the hon. gentlemen now in communication would meet each other in such a spirit as to give, at least, a guarantee of the patriotism of their intentions. He had no doubt that it was practicable to form a Ministry out of this House that would meet the views of the country and command a majority in Parliament. He therefore felt it to be right to say that in the event of the present negotiations falling, he was not prepared to admit that other negotiations might not be attempted and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

The House then, at half-past three p.m, adjourned on motion of John A, Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West].

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