Province of Canada, Legislative Council, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (31 August 1865)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Montreal Herald
Citation: “Latest from Quebec. Special Parliamentary Report” Montreal Herald (1 September 1865).
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LATEST FROM QUEBEC.
Special Parliamentary Report.
(Reported for the Montreal Herald)
QUEBEC, Aug. 31.
David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864] on moving his resolutions affirming that the Crown Lands of the Province should be thrown open to actual settlers as free grants, contrasted the policy of the United States on offering their lands as free grants with policy heretofore pursued in Canada. He quoted largely from the immigration returns of both countries showing that since 1832 the United States have received some four million seven hundred thousand immigrants, against seven hundred thousand who came by the St. Lawrence. Much of the large balance against us he thought, might be fairly attributed to the difference in our respective land policies, and thought it was time we should take some steps to attract immigration and prevent the exodus which was taking place from the Province. Giving lands free to actual settlers would in his opinion, have a very good effect in the desired direction.
George Alexander [Gore, elected 1858] seconded the resolutions. He fully concurred in the views of the mover that some energetic steps were necessary to restore the current of immigration, and thought the Government would gain more in the increased consumption of dutiable goods and the production of agricultural products, than they would lose by giving the lands free.
Donald McDonald [Tecumseth, elected 1858] said the difficulty which political economists had generally to contend with had been to provide for their redundant populations. Ours were exactly the reverse. Our resources were far in advance of our population. We had land in abundance and wanted people to inhabit and cultivate it. Let the lands be given free to actual settlers with only such restrictions as would ensure residence and cultivation ; he had no fear of the result. He believed it would add so largely to the Agricultural resources and population of the country that the amount lost by not charging the price for the lands would be amply made good to Government and country.
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] did not concur with the views of the mover. The House must count the cost of such a sweeping measure. The lands in Nipissing District were already offered at one shilling per acre. He was himself in favour of giving the lands in the central portions of the Upper Province to actual settlers at a reduced price, reserving the timber dues and doing away with the system of settlers, licenses. The amount of arrears due on Crown Lands was very large, amounting to some nine million dollars in the north part of the Province; The collection of these arrears would he seriously jeopardized by the proposed measures. He trusted the hon. gentleman would not press the motion.
The debate on motion of John Ross, [Canada West, appointed 1848] adjourned till Monday.