Province of Canada, Legislative Council, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, (15 June 1866)

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Date: 1866-06-15
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1866 at 11-12.
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  • (p. 11)


FRIDAY, June 15, 1866.

Speaker took the chair at 8 o’clock.

After routine.

First readings.

Hon. Mr. Price introduced a bill to facilitate the transaction of the North Shore Turnpike Road Trustees (District of Québec). Second reading on Tuesday.

Public buildings.

Hon. Mr. Bosse moved that an humble address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, praying that His Excellency will be pleased to cause to be laid before this House a detailed statement of all the expense incurred to this day in the erection of the Parliament building, and the departmental buildings in the city of Ottawa.

Also a statement of the sums required to finish the said buildings, and furnish them completely.

Also a statement of the amount that will be required annually for warming and lighting the said buildings , and for wages and other necessary expenses for the preservation and maintenance of the said buildings.

In making this motion, the hon. member said he was not actuated by any motive of hostility to any party whatever, and simply desired to know the extent of the burden entailed upon the province by these great buildings. Exaggerated accounts of the cost had got abroad, which it was proper to contradict, but it was unquestionably proper the public should be informed of the actual facts, as far as they could be ascertained.

[A desultory debate followed, during which several members suggested additions to the motion.] Among others

Hon. Mr. Letellier de St Just desired the mover to ask the probable cost of the improvements in the acoustics of the chambers, which would enable persons in the galleries to hear the debates.

Hon. Mr. Simpson wished to add the cost of supplying water.

Another hon. member desired that the probable additional cost for levelling an embellishment of the area should also be furnished, and with the consent of the mover these additions were made, and the motion as amended was put and carried.

Harbour commissions, Montreal.

Hon. Mr. Guevremont moved, that an humble address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, praying that His Excellency will be pleased to cause to be laid before the House; 1. Copy of the minutes of proceedings of the Harbour commissioners Of Montreal at their meeting held on the 19th of January, 1866. Copy of minutes of proceedings of the said commissioners at their meeting held on the 10th of March, 1866. — carried.

Importation of livestock.

Hon. Mr. Read, moved for an address for a copy of the order in Council, by which liberty had been given for the importation of livestock from Europe, the description of the stock, the regulation under which permission was given, and to whom.

A long and animated debate took place on this motion, during which the acoustic defects of the chamber became painfully evident, as several members who spoke, were not in the least understood by the reporters. Hon. Mr. Blair especially, being almost inaudible.

Hon. Mr. Read said that an opinion had got abroad that sheep were not liable to the disease which had so seriously affected and destroyed so many cattle in Europe, and that they might therefore be safely imported, but this was a grave error, as he would proceed to show, and one which would not be too soon dissipated. In his opinion it was the special duty of Parliament to inquire whether this was not the case, and, if found to be as he represented, to use every means at its disposal to arrest the importation of sheep as well as other cattle. It was said that the pest had reached New York, and that the authorities had imperatively ordered the removal of the animals. If the disease were there, it was time we should take warning, and especially of sheep of recent importation were in the province, steps should be taken to obviate the possibility of their spreading the disease, should it develop itself among them. That sheep didn’t become infected, and were the means of spreading contagion, he would prove from evidence which he thought unexceptionable.

He would first read it extract from the reports of the British commissioners appointed to inquire into the origin and nature of the cattle plague. The commissioners say “both sheep and dogs can carry the seeds of the disease so that they should be carefully [text missing] after, lest in having access to diseased cattle they may attached to themselves portions of excrement and discharges and communicate the contagion to sound cattle. The farmer will do well to recollect that both sheep and goats take the plague in a virulent form, although they’re not perhaps quite so susceptible as horned cattle; But even when they do not take the disorder, the wool of the sheep and the hair of the goats can long retain the morbid thick matter and then transfer it to cattle.”

He would now Offer to the House some quotations from the evidence taken before the commissioners at further proof of the allegation that sheep were liable to the disease and consequently to aid in spreading it. Questions to Dr. Jones. Is it true that no positive contagion has been found in the case of miss Burdett Coutt’s animals? Answer. Not directly by contact with diseased cattle. I think that there is a way of explaining by the possibility of other animals, sheep or dogs, which had been infected beasts coming in contact with them.

Again we were compelled to conclude that the cattle had received the contagion from sheep. Dr. Jones then gives an account of sheep have been brought for several days to the cattle market without being sold, and who while there had received a contagion from diseased cattle, and then placed in a field separated from the cattle which became subsequently infected, by only a wire fence. Mr. Read answers. “It has been observed in Hungary and Austria, that the Rinderpest attacks sheep as well as cattle.”  Dr. Playfair. “It is only known that cattle can take the disease from sheep, but whether the infections matter becomes milder in its operation by passing through the sheep, not yet been ascertained.”

The hon. member gave a large number of other instances some proving directly that the disease had been communicated cattle by sheep, but we have not room for them.

Hon. Mr. Aikins desired to know what the hon. member was at? There was no motion as yet before the House. (The motion credited to the hon. Mr. Reed [sic] above had not yet been made.)

Hon. Mr. Read had a motion to make, and said it had been understood, when he postponed on two previous days inquiry we have proposed to make that he would be at Liberty to bring it up in the form of a motion for an address (which he now did.) In his opinion the subject was one of vast importance to the country, and as he understood that there were now sheep in quarantine, which has been imported theis spring, it behooved the Government to take such action in the matter as would effectually prevent the disastrous consequences to our cattle which otherwise might follow.

Hon. Mr. Ferguson Blair said the hon. member was entitled to thanks for drawing the attention of the House to this very important subject. He himself (Mr. Blair) was personally interested in agriculture, and no one could feel more than he did the necessity of using every precaution to prevent the introduction of the cattle disease in Canada . — There was not the remotest objection to bringing down all the papers the motion asks for, but as the hon. member seem to apprehend danger from the importation of the sheep to which he had referred, he would explain all that had passed.

Last year statute was passed by the legislature, and subsequently proclaimed; but an exception had been made since. The gentleman at the west, who takes great pride in breeding fine sheep, had made arrangements for the purchase of a lot of very superior breed, and , in fact, had ordered his before the proclamation was made. They came out last spring, and he applied for permission to land them, and after much consideration the Government had consented to let them be disembarked, but detained and kept separate, and would not be released until after rigorous examination. They were found perfectly sound, so that he apprehended no danger whatever from their permission granted. If the cattle disease was in New York, the danger from that quarter was much more to be feared, and factual precautions would have to be taken to prevent it spreading to Canada — the disease might, however, be communicated by clothing as well as by the contact with sheep or any other animals.

Hon. Mr. Christie said he was quite aware the disease might be communicated by the clothing of persons, but that was an evil we could not guard against, for we could prevent their coming but that was no argument for permitting that danger which we could control by enforcing the laws of the land. We were bound to do all that was in our power to avert the evil. One mode of introduction we could not prevent, the other we could, and , if we could, we ought to do it.

He would not now go into the communication of the disease by the wool of sheep, but it would confine himself to remarking upon the measures which had been taken last year to prevent the contagion from reaching this country. A statute introduced by himself was passed last Session, expressly prohibiting the importation of animals from infected countries, and he assured the House he did not, at the time, contemplate the possibility after the law had been put in [text too dark] by the Governor in Council, in allowing of an exception in favour of any one person. By the act it was lawful for the Government to prevent the importation of cattle, but it gave them no dispensing power. The prohibition was to apply to some port or ports, but did not apply to the United States, as there was no disease there at the time. The proclamation, as made, agreed with the law.

(Here the hon. member quoted from the act, to the effect that animals imported from Europe might be destroyed.)

The action applied to the whole public, and admitted of no exceptions, and if any exceptions was to be made it should also have applied generally, not to individuals. The clause (5th) provided that any order or regulation should be published twice in the Canada Gazette, or for 14 days. Now, had the dispensation in favour of the gentleman, who had important the sheep this spring, been so published? It had not, and in his opinion the order or dispensation was of no force. The hon. president of the council had claimed under the proclamation the Government had retained discretionary power wish they had exercised in this case, but he hoped that hon. minister was not prepared to carry the prerogative so far as to claim that they could override the law. The power conveyed in the act was not permissive but prohibitory, any orders in council under it were to be general not ex parte.

He (Mr. Christie) had been informed of two importations of sheep, one of which the Government would not permit to be landed, the other allowed, though the sheep had not come up yet. It was the most serious thing that the whole stock of the country should be hazarded to serve one individual and he too a member of Parliament.

He (Mr. Christie) was president of the Upper Canada board of agriculture and was bound from this his official relation to the interests he was Speaking of to do all he could to prevent the cattle Disease from coming into the province. If a privilege were given to one person (the importation of animals) how could it be denied to others? He had now a work before him, the latest on the subject is, the “Reports of professor text illegible on the cattle plague,” and he would read some extracts to show the inadequacy of quarantine to prevent the introduction of the disease, and to prove that sheep are liable to the Rinderpest. The professor at page 136 speaks thus:

“No man has had greater experience on the subject than professor Tessen, and , in forms that could not be mistaken , he said at Vienna, last August, that, from his observations, text legible cattle may be so mildly affected with Rinderpests that no text legible, however grade his text illegible an ability, could recognise it. He added quarantine never can, therefore, afford entire protection. ”

At age 359 he says: — “among 65 sheepling, bought at Colchester market on Saturday 3 showed sickness and scouring, and were dead next morning. In 10 days 32 were dead. The symptoms were cough drooping ears , loss of appetite, discharge from the nose, bad breath, and diarrhea. All the rest were killed by the owner’s desire, 27 burried, and 36 sent to London market. The owner, Mr. Gibbs, placed the sheep in a pasture separated from that of a Mr. Ravenstock by a River , and from that of Mr. Augur’s by a ditch. The cow of the former were seized in 10 days and those of the latter in 11. There was no other visible means of contamination. I have seen other similar cases.”

At page 480 he stays, “Dr. Roll did not believe that the cattle plague contagion, was often communicated by Saturday night, as those animals rarely come into contract with cattle. Text missing was text missing sufficient to infect them, and this always takes place on the frontier. It was very different with sheep.”

And again at 481 ” the propagation of the cattle disease by means of sheep and goats, had hitherto been overlooked . This fact was also not so new as it may seem, for much earlier disease had broken out among sheep in places where and at times, in which the cattle plague had been prevalent. It was, however, quite clear that in such cases, the most stringent regulations with regard to sheep should be enforced.”

At page 598 he adds, ” Mr. Elambal says, it has been doubted that the disease may appear after a quarantine of twenty-one days duration. During the year 1861, in September, I was ordered, on account of Rinderpest, to the text illegible committal, on the borders of Transylvania. A drove of 400 fat oxin, which had passed the Moldovean frontier towards Transylvania, had, on the 3rd day after, its arrival Transylvania, one death, and , in all, more than 200 dead. This is my experience. ”

The hon. member reiterated his dissatisfaction with the discretionary power assumed by the Government which however he attributed to a mistake, but he implored them in the most solemn manner not to expose the very large […]

  • (p. 12)

[…] stocks of cattle and sheep in the province to contamination for the mirror purpose of obliging one person.

A desultory and somewhat sharp debate followed , in which several members took part, some contending the Government had exercised a proper discretion; Others thinking it indispensable that the sheep still held in quarantine should be destroyed.

Hon. Mr. Simpson said he had imported sheep himself, and felt strongly on the subject. There was not less than 2- and – a – half millions of sheep in the province , and it would be a most dreadful calamity if the disease should get among them or among the larger cattle. Rather than run the risk he would willingly contribute his mite [sic] to make up the value of the animals, so then they, might be prevented from coming into the country. — there was a principle at stake which not to be overlooked, for if it was in one case it might in others, and should be at all. Our sheep are worth for their wool alone $1.80 a head, and a mortality among them would occasion immense loss. Within 4 or 5 years we had sold the American some 17 or 18 millions worth of animals and wool, and in fact they were one of our staple sources of wealth. This should teach us to be careful how we incurred danger from the introduction of disease.

Hon. Mr. Letellier de St. Just Thought it would be better for the province to pay the value of the sheep in question than to run the risk spoken of.

Hon. Mr. Moore asked if permission had been given to import the sheep, or merely to land them after they had arrived.

Hon. Mr. Blair — the permission was given before the issue of the proclamation. — they had long been purchased.

Hon. Mr. Moore — then the Government were not to blame.

Hon. Mr. Skead thought it would be better to leave the sheep in quarantine until the fall, and to watch if any disease developed itself. If not it would then be quite safe to deliver them to the owner.

Hon. Mr. Perry said there had been a great deal of irregular discussion as the motion did not relate to the prevention of cattle disease but to the production of certain papers, when they came down it would be quite time enough to discuss what should be done with the sheep in question period (question, question.)

The motion was then put and carried.


Narcisse F. Belleau [Canada East, appointed 1852, Premier and Receiver General] said that yesterday the Government had expected to state the causes for the retirement from the Government of honorable George Brown but had been prevented for the reason assigned. He was now preparing to give them and they would be short. It is generally known all over the country that Mr. Brown resigned upon a question regarding the renewal of the reciprocity treaty with the United States. The best way to make known to the House the policy of the Government on the subject at the time was to read the minute in council on which the gentleman had resigned. It was as follows.

Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Executive Council, approved by His Excellency the Administrator of the Government, on the 22nd December, 1865.

 The Committee have had under consideration the memorandum dated 18th December, 1865, from the hon. the Minister of Finance, submitting for the consideration of your Excellency in council, that it appears from the report to Congress of the secretary of the Treasury of the United States, as well as from information obtained by him, the Minister of Finance, and recent conversations had at Washington with the Secretary of State, and the secretary of the Treasury of the United States, that the American Government are not disposed to submit to Congress any proposal for the renewal of the reciprocity treaty, but consider that commercial relations between the United States and the British North American provinces, should form the subject of concerted legislation.

That under these circumstances he submits that in as much as the treaty will expire on the 17th March next, there is no reasonable probability that the Congress of the United States will, before that date, decide in any way upon their policy in this respect, while it is manifest that no corresponding legislation could possibly take place in each of the British provinces; that it is therefore evident that unless some understanding be arrived at with the American Government, for a temporary continuance of existing arrangements, then trade between the two countries must be subject to serious disturbance, by the expiry of the treaty on the 17th March.

That the proposal of the Secretary of the Treasury to substitute legislation in lieu of the Treaty, can only apply to those portions of the treaty which referred to commercial subjects. That the national rights involved in the engagements relative to the fisheries, and to the navigation of the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence, cannot, he believes, be dealt with otherwise than by treaty or convention between Great Britain and the United States.

That the subjects embraced in the reciprocity treaty are two- fold. That those relating to Trade and Commerce can, if it be so determined, be reserved for the action of the respective legislatures—each country pursuing the policy that is most in accordance with its own interests, well those relating to international engagements must either be continued by treaty, or each nation will revert to its position prior to the execution of the reciprocity treaty.

That as the latter class subjects has not been referred to by the secretary of the Treasury, it is possible it has not received full attention in the decision that would appear to have been arrived up for the aggregation of the treaty, as it can scarcely be supposed that the United States desire to reproduce the state of things which was happily put an end to buy the execution of the treaty.

That the concessions which were considered to be made by Great Britain in relation to the fisheries question were, however, so intimately blended with the commercial advantages alleged to have been granted by the United States, that does not, at this moment, appear possible to consent to the concessions by Great Britain being continued and made permanent in favour of the United States by a new treaty , while the latter country determines to retain within its own control, all the subjects by which equivalents were considered to have been given to the British Provinces.

That if the objections by the United States to a renewal of the commercial treaty rest upon its being an unconstitutional act on their part, and no longer becomes a subject of discussion, and some other course must be devised for the division of the subject, dealing with national rights by treaty and with commercial relations by legislation, and he offers, as his opinion, that no insuperable difficulty need be apprehended in this course, if the subject be approached in a spirit of mutual desire to perfect and to perpetuate the friendly intercourse and trade between the two countries — but that is manifestly impracticable within the time limited for the termination of the treaty to give the required consideration to the subject, and to settle all the various details connected with it, and that it is therefore very much to be apprehended that the whole engagements of the treaty will end on the 17th of March, in less the Government of the United States acquiesce in their temporary continuance with a view to negotiations.

But in case it should be ultimately found necessary to deal with the question of trade by legislation it must be apparent to the United States Government that extreme difficulty must be experienced and bring into harmony the views of so many different legislatures, and much time will be required for the purpose. That in view, therefore, of the proposed Confederation of the British North American provinces probably taking place at an early day it would appear most desirable to defer, if possible, any legislation arrangements with the United States to the legislature of the Confederated Provinces, especially as the earliest duty of that body will be to revise and assimilate the existing separate systems of finance and trade Now existing in each — thus affording the most favorable opportunity for the consideration of any proposals of the American Government relating to trade and revenue.

He, the Minister of Finance, therefore recommends that communication be had with her majesty’s representative at Washington; For the purpose of submitting to the Government of the United States a proposal for the continuance of the existing treaty for such period as may be agreed upon for the purpose of negotiation, and that two members of the council be instructed to put themselves in communication with His Excellency and (subjects to his concurrence) with the authorities at Washington on this subject.

The Minister of Finance further recommends that the action proposed to be taken for the purpose of obtaining delay in the aggregation of the treaty be communicated by your Excellency to the Lieutenant governors of the maritime provinces, and that they be requested to inform their respective Governments that it is not the intention of the Canadian Government to depart from The course proposed by the Confederate council on commercial treaties, or act in any manner separately or distinctly from the other provinces in the ultimate discussion and decision of the various questions involved, but solely in view of the vast interests in Canada, affected by the possible termination of the treaty, to use every exertion, in the mean time, to obtain delay, with the intention, here after, of considering, in connection with the Sister Provinces, any suggestions that may be made on the part of the United States, in relation to the future commercial intercourse between the two countries, and that the maritime provinces be invited to send representatives to Washington, for the same purpose, and be informed that it is proposed to hold a meeting of the Confederate council on commercial treaties at Ottawa, so soon as the position of the question would warrant it, founded upon the information to be received from Washington, as to the probable extension or final abrogation of the reciprocity treaty.


W.H. LEE, C.E.C.

At this stage Mr. Brown, after a long and earnest discussion, said he could not concur in the policy indicated, and if the council adopted it he would be obliged to take other steps. The question, however, was put and unanimously carried, the provincial secretary alone being absent. Upon the declaration that it was past, Mr. Brown rose and said he could not sign it and would resign. Before giving his resignation that hon. gentleman had stated, however, that he would support the policy of Confederation, and, as far as possible, the general measures of the Government. These were the sensible facts, and it was now for the country to judge them.

The House then adjourned.

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