Province of Canada, Legislative Council, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (11 July 1866)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 40-41.
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WEDNESDAY, July 11th, 1866.
The Speaker took the chair at 3 o’clock.
Gas Explosion, &c.
Hon. Mr. Sanborn, pursuant to notice, enquired whether the government had instituted any inquiru, as to the recent explosion of gas under the Parliament Buildings, and whether any investigation ahd been made, or was intended to be made, to ascertain whether precautions had been taken to render the Parliament Buildings secure from accidents by fire or electricity, or from explosion of steam or gas.
Hon. Mr. Campbell answered with respect to the explosion of gas he had explained when notice of the injury was given how it happened, and that there was no cause to apprehend any future accident of the kind. As to danger from fire the buildings were fire proof, and could hardly suffer much from that cause. Regarding the danger from electricity it was a moot point yet among scientific men whether lighting rods afforded protection or increased the exposure, and that the means of protecting the buildings from the electric fluid was under consideration. As to the steam apparatus it was held in a separate building, and could not therefore affect the main edifice; besides all the boilers were furnished with safety-valves, so that there need be no cause for apprehension on that score.
Hon. Mr. Letellier de St. Just maintained that there was great cause to apprehend accidents from thunder, for the buildings were peculiaryly exposed, and being crowned with metallciu embellishments would be extremely likely to attract the electric fluid. He was quite sure that if Sir William Logan had been consulted he would have said it was absolutely necessary they should be protected with lightning rods.
Hon. Sir N.F. Belleau said it was generally considered that lighning rods attracted the electric fluid, but it often glanced off and did damage to the edifices they were intended to protect. The question among scientific men was whether it would not be much better to have poles with iron rods at 10 or 15 feet distance form the buildings to be protected, than to have them on the buildings themselves.
Hon. Mr. Letellier de st just said the reason why the electric fluid diverged from the conductors was, that ignorant persons fastened them into walls with iron, and these fastenings acting as conductions, drew the electricity into the very buildings the rods were intended to protect, but when the rods were properly insulated no such danger could possibly arise.
Hon. Mr. Ferrier said that one great danger to the buildings arose form the gas being allowed to come into the pipes all the time, instead of beign shut off so soon as the lights were put out. During the recent thunder storm in Montreal, the electric fluid bad struck a large building belonging to the Grand Trunk Railway at Point St. Cahrles, and run along the gas pipes, which being full of gas had burst, and set the place on fire. Through the neglect of shutting off the gas, the fire had occurred, and 450 feet of the building had been burned. If the gas had been shut off during the day there could not have been such an accumulation at the place of the recent explosion in this building. Then besides the danger from explosion, there was the immense waste which was always going on when the pressure was kept up in the day as well as in the night. He hoped the attention of the Commissioner of the Board of Works would be called to the very necessary precaution of shutting off the gas, as well to save expense as to prevent accidents.
The following bills were then read a third time and passed:
Bill to admit Hewett Bernard a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and to practice in the Courts there.
Bill to amend the Charter of the Bank of Upper Canada.
In respect to this bill, Hon. Mr. Simpson, from the Committee of Banking and COmmerce, said that it had received the most attentive consideration of the committee. The clause providing for the issue of preferential shaes had been struck out altogether, and that for the reduction of the stock had been so guarded as to make it a perfectly safe measure. The reduction could only take place at a public meeting of the stickholders, convened for the purpose, and each stockholder would have notice sixtydays before the holding of such public meeting, so that all the parties interested would have ample opportunity of being head. Then the security to the public would not be reduced, for the stockholders would still be bound, as heretofore, in the amount of double their present stock. On the whole, he had no hesitation to say that the measure was in every respect a safe one to adopt.
The motion to pass the bill was then put and carried.
Revision of Judgments of Distribution in Lower Canada.
Hon. Mr. Bureau moved for the second reading of this bill, and in doing so said, that in the present state of the law it was not possible to correct certain errors which frequently occurred. Properties weresold by the Sheriff, part of the proceds of which might rightfully belong to absent parties, who lost their right to partake in the distribution. In Lower Canada the practice did not obtain to register receipts on account of mortgages, the people believing that the possession of such receipts kept them safe. When the property passed into other hands the Sheriff was obliged to produce proof of the mortgages, and when the sale took place, said mortgages were homologated as they appeared on the Registrar’s books, while in fact moneys might and had often been paid in reduction of such mortgages, the receipient keeping the money, and at the same time retaining a right to the unreduced figure of the mortgage.
He desired by this bill so to amend the law that a production of proof of payment on account the claims should be allowed. Upon the distribution of the proceeds of sale dishonest creditors had gone and got paid sums which they had already received from the debtor, and this he considered so flafrant an offence that he would be glad to have it treated as felony. He had not made it to bear that character in the bill, but would be quite willing that it should if the House would agree with him. But as the Civil Procedure Bill for Lower Canada was now before Parliament, if the Government would undertake to amend its provisions, in the sense of the bill he was now presenting, he would be quite willing to withdraw it.
Hon. Sir N.F. Belleau said that no doubt there had been cases of injustice practiced, such as the hon. member had described, and the Government had felt the necessity of correcting the abuses. He would now inform the hon. member that the committee named to revise the Code of Civil Procedure in the other branch of the Legislature had introduced amendments to article 751, which exactly met the requirements, as the hon. member could easily ascertain. He thought that under the circumstances the hon. member would be willing to defer the further progress of his measure until next week, when probably the Civil Procedure bull itself as amended would be brought under the consideration of the House.
Hon. LeTellier de St. Just said that in a matter of such importance as the Code of Civil Procedure he thought the Government might very well have recommended the formation of a Joint Committee of legal men from both Chambers, when those representing this House could have reported upon the progress of the measure in a regular manner, instead of leaving the House to derive its information in the informal way now adopted. The members of this House upon such a Committee would have had authority to make suggestions and to cause their influence to be felt, but as that course had not been pursued, and this House could not possibly have the necessary time to devote to the measure when it was submitted, there would be no alternative but throwing the whole responsibility of the bill upon the Government.
Hon. Mr. Sanborn said it was very desirable that the amendments proposed by his hon. friend (Bureau) should be reached in some way, but be doubted if his bill would altogether meet the requirements of the case. The returns of Registrars shewed debts outstanding which had been paid 20 or 30 years ago, and as the law stood no relief could be afforded, and the claims were in danger of being lost. There should e some means of calling upon parties to make proof of claim. He had taken the trouble to read the whole Code of Civil Procedure through and had found no provision or remedy for this state of things. He was not personally aware that the amendment spoken of had been made, but he had taken some interest in the measure and madge suggestions to members of the Committee.
Indeed he had been asked to attend the Committee, but as he could not speak there as a matter of right, but on sufferance, he ahd not thought it his duty to go. When the Code was brought in he had asked why it had not been submitted to the House for consideration, but he had got such a curt answer that he had not pressed the subject. He would now advert to a matter concerning which he had openly stated his opinion at a former session, and it was that the Houses did not take up or perform its duties properly. In fact, instead of taking its proper share in the Legislation of the country it seemed content to pass through the most important business with as much rapidity as possible.
Nod oubt there were members competent in deal with any and every subject which came before the House. In the matter now in question there were gentlemen representing the country parts, who had all the necessary experience to guide them in arriving at safe conclusions, but he repeated it, the House did not do justice to itself or to the country; in other words it did not fulfil its duties as it ought to do. The Government had refused to take action in regard to the Code of Civil Procedure, either by Joint Committee or by a Committee of the House, and the thing was allowed to pass. Here was a wrong demanding a remedy and there were many others like it. The Code had been sent to the Judges months ago, but was only presented to the members of this House since the commencement of the session, which he thought anything but proper.
Hon. Sir N.F. Belleau said the hon. member (Sanborn) was wholly unjustifiable in making such remarks, for he himself (Mr. Belleau) had conducted the measure last session, and had made these offers to the House,—1st, to refer it to a Committee of the Whole, or 2nd, if thought better, to a Special Committee. What more he could do he did not see. The hon. member was in the House at the time, and had preferred leaving it to be dealt with by the other House. Having chosen to decline the duty it was hardly fair of him now to assail the Government for not giving him the opportunity of doing it. Then another hon. member (Le Tellier) objected to the information about the amendment, as informed, but he would ask what more formal or direct information could the member of a Joint Committee give than he had given?
Hon. Mr. LeTellier de St. Just said that the members of a Committee could not only have given information from their own personal knowledge, but could have assisted in perfecting the measure, a thing which this House could not now do. As to the offer of last session, it was made after the subsidies were passed, and when the members were all anxious to go home. He (Mr. Le Tellier) had then said it was quite too late to undertake such a work; in fact it was quite presumptuous to attempt to revise the whole Civil Procedure in a few days, and it was not fair to reproach them now with having refused the duty.
Hon. Sir N.F. Belleau.—The hon. member had found it necessary to change his ground. His first complaint was about the informality of the information given, and when he discovered this to be untenable he complained that the members had not had the advantage of stating their opinions. The amendment propoed to article s751 was now before him, and the hon. member could read it if he chose.
Hon. Mr. LeTellier de St. Just had not expressed doubt as to the fact of the amendment, but as to its being communicated in an informal and irregular manner. Why should not this House have the opportunity of pronouncing upon this important measure, as well as the other.
Hon. Sir N.F. Belleau—The House would, no doubt, have ample opportunity to do so yet.
Hon. Mr. Bureau said he was now quite satisfied that the necessary amendments would be introduced in the Code of Civil Procedure. He had put himself in communication with one of the codifiers, and there were other important alterations made besides those named by the hon. Premier (Mr. Belleau). He would now read the amendments to article 751.—
“In default of the party so collocated to make a declaration of what he has previously received from all parties interested in the case, and of the production of authentic acquittances, the Judge may order a distribution of the amount of said collocation to whomsoever it may appertain. 2nd. If no acquittances can be produced, the pparty so collocated may be cited to appear upon a simple demand (requete) before the court, or before a judge, and then the provisions of article 741 will apply. 3rd. If the party socollocated has no known domicile in Lower Canada, or if he be deceased and his legal representatives be doubtful upona certificate to that effect, the Judge may order that such person, or his legal representatives, be summoned in the manner provide by article 61.”
With these amendments adopted, he (Mr. Bureau) would have no hesitation in withdrawing his bill, or he would be wiling to send it to a Special Committee fo Hon. Messrs. Belleau, Bosse, and other eminent legal area of the House.
After a few words more of a conversationa character, it was agreed to let the matter stand over until next Tuesday.
Hon. Mr. Flint moved that the House do now resolve itself into a Committee of the whole upon the Belleville Cemetry bill.—Carried. Hon. Mr. Dickson in the chair.
The bill was gone through and reported with some vertal [sic] amendmentds. The amendments were concurred in, and the bill was read a third time and passed.
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Report of Committees.
Hon. Mr. Allan, from the Private Bill Committee reported the bill to repeal the act, chapter 68, Consolidated Statutes, legalizing certain expenses of the city of Toronto, and to enable them to recover certain taxes and charges.
The Speaker announced the following messages with bills from the Legislative Assembly, which were read a first time:—Bill to incorporate the Montreal Club; Bill to enable the Trustees of St. Paul’s Church, Montreal, to sell said church and site, and to buy another site and build another church; Bill to divide the township of Wawatrosh into two distinct municipalities; Bill to confirm the will of Robert Jackson, of Scarborough; Bill to incorporate the College of St. Jerome, Berlin; Bill to attach part of the township of Aylmer, to the parish of St. Vital, county Beauce; Bill to attach part of the township of Broughton to the parish of St. Frederick, same country.
The House then adjourned.