Province of Canada, Legislative Council, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (8 March 1864)

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Date: 1864-03-08
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 73.
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Government Measures

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858] said that some time ago he had inquired from the Hon. Provincial Secretary [A.J. Fergusson Blair], whether it was probable that some of the measures of the Government promised in His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] Speech from the Throne would be introduced through this hon. House, and the answer of the hon. member, as he understood it, was to the effect that some of those measures would probably be so introduced. The hon. member had now submitted a Bill relating to the regulation of the office hours of Clerks of the County Courts in Upper Canada, and he [Mr. Campbell] wished to ask whether that was one of the Government measures promised? Whether it might be regarded as an instalment of those promised? No doubt the Bill was of importance, but he hardly thought the hon. member had reference to such Bills when he led the House to anticipate that some of the great measures of the Government would be introduced here. The House was kept comparatively unoccupied during several of the first weeks of each session awaiting the action of the other branch, and he thought the convenience of the Legislature and the interests of the country would be served if the Government availed itself of the talents of its members is dealing with some of the measures promised. He knew there were Bills like those imposing taxation and dealing with finance which in the nature of the case must originate in the other House; there were measures also relating to constitutional questions, and which might be used as tests of the confidence of that House in the Government which had to be dealt with there, but then there were others which might very properly commence in this branch. The hon. member here quoted from His Excellency’s Speech [Viscount Monck] to shew that there were measures of pure law, as he might call them, which could be treated in this House with the requisite ability, as there were hon. members in it every way as well qualified to do to as any in the other branch, and he trusted the Hon. Provincial Secretary [A.J. Fergusson Blair] would see the propriety of occupying the time of the House meanwhile with other than strictly private Bills.

A.J. Fergusson Blair [Brock, elected 1860, Provincial Secretary] said his hon. friend had certainly remarked on a certain occasion that it would subserve the convenience of the House if some of the Government measures were introduced in it, when he [Mr. Blair] had acquiesced in the remark, but he certainly did not think he had made any promise or pledge on the subject. With regard to the Bill he had submitted, it was not a public measure at all. It had been sent to from Upper Canada, and he had introduced it, as any other member would. It would, no doubt, be desirable that the time of the House should be better occupied, but the inconvenience complained of had always existed at the beginning of the sessions, and he feared it would continue to be so in future. The Government were not only responsible for their measures, but for carrying them through, and the time, and place, and persons by whom they were to be introduced and cared for, must be left to them to choose. He had, no doubt, the hon. member would be quite ready to give his help in the perfecting of such measures, but then he was not responsible for his advice, and probably if their petitions were reversed, he would not think it so desirable that he [Mr. Blair] should be so pressing.—[Just at this point the hon. member was not very audible.] He thought it probable, however, that some of the measures foreshadowed in His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] Speech would be introduced in this House, and meanwhile, the hon. member must try to exercise patience.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

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