Province of Canada, Legislative Council, Scrapbook Debates [Opening of Parliament!], 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (19 February 1864)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 1.
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OPENING OF PARLIAMENT!
Friday, 19th February, 1864
In accordance with the proclamation to that effect, His Excellency the Governor General [Viscount Monck] proceeded in state to the Legislative Council Chamber, accompanied by his staff.
On account of the severity of the weather, His Excellency [Viscount Monck] was pleased to dispense with the attendance of the troops who usually line the streets, and was merely accompanied by his guard of honor.
The Speaker of the Council entered the House a few minutes before three o’clock, and precisely at three o’clock His Excellency [Viscount Monck] was announced. Having taken his seat on the Throne, the Speaker despatched the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to summon the Legislative Assembly. In a few minutes the Speaker of that House appeared at the bar, followed by a large number of members.
His Excellency [Viscount Monck] then delivered the following speech, in English and French: Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council, Gentlemen of the Legislative Assembly, I am happy again to meet you in Parliament, and I feel confident that during the Session now commenced your best attention will be bestowed on legislation for the public welfare.
I have taken steps for carrying into effect the Acts passed during last Session for the organization of the Militia Force of the Province, and I will continue my best efforts for the attainment of so important an object.
The period is approaching when, by the conditions of the Treaty of Reciprocity between Her Majesty and the United States of America, the notice for the determination of its provisions may be given at the option of either party. I have no failed to give my best attention to the subject of this Treaty, and of the great interests affected by it.
Your attention will be invited to measures design, by the improvement of our existing system of inland water communication, to attract the channel of the St. Lawrence a larger share than we have heretofore enjoyed of the great and rapidly growing commerce of the Western Lakes.
You will also be invited to consider the expediency of providing for such improvements of the Canals constructed to obviate the natural impediments to the navigation of the Ottawa River as will, it is believed, without involving a heavy outlay, greatly accelerate the development of the extensive and valuable territory drained by that noble stream and its tributaries.
Unforeseen obstacles have retarded the survey of the route of the proposed Railway between this Province and the Sister Colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Arrangements are, however, now in progress which, I trust, will soon lead to the execution of this preliminary work, the result of which will enable all parties to form a more satisfactory estimate than is possible at present of the expense and practicability of the proposed undertaking.
The condition of the vast region lying to the north-west of the settled portions of the Province is daily becoming a question of greater interest.
I have considered it advisable to open a correspondence with the Imperial Government, with a view to arrive at a precise definition of the Geographical Boundaries of Canada in that direction.
Such a definition of Boundary is a desirable preliminary to further proceedings with respect to the vast tracts of land in that quarter belonging to Canada, but not yet brought under the action of our political and municipal system.
The construction of the Public Buildings at Ottawa, since the resumption of work last spring, has been prosecuted with so much diligence as to justify me in announcing to the Officers of the Civil Service the intended early removal thither of the Seat of Government in pursuance of Her Majesty’s selection of that city as the future capital of Canada.
The discoveries of gold and other valuable ores within the Province which have recently been made, and which have attracted very general attention, appear to call of legislation both as regards the more systematic and perfect development of our mineral wealth, and the rights as well of the public as of private individuals connected with it.
I would also suggest to you the expediency of making legislative provision for ensuring a more efficient system of investigation into cases of shipwrecks occurring on or near the sea coasts of the Province, as well as similar disasters which, though occurring elsewhere, may, from the nature of the attending circumstances seem calculated to affect the reputation of our marine service.
A fresh contract for our Ocean Mail Steamship Service has been entered into on terms which will be submitted for your consideration, and will, I believe, be found to combine efficiency, economy and safety.
I would further invite your attention to the state of the existing laws relative to Parliamentary elections, to Bankrupt and Insolvent Debtors —to the Administration of Justice —to the encouragement of Agriculture and of the Fisheries —to the registration of titles to real estate and to the granting of Patents for intentions.
Gentlemen of the Legislative Assembly, The Public Accounts for the past year will be laid before you, as also estimates for the supplies required for the current year.
These estimates will be found to have been prepared with a careful attention to economy.
I rejoice that I am enabled to inform you that the Revenue of the past year considerably exceeded the estimate submitted to you last Session, whilst the aggregate expenditure for the Public Service of the year was less than the estimated amount.
Notwithstanding these gratifying results, however, there was a large excess of expenditure over income, and as the revenue derivable from existing sources is, clearly inadequate to meet the unavoidable annual charges on the Public Treasury, measures will be submitted for your consideration calculated to equalize the annual income with the annual expenditure of the country.
Honorable Gentlemen and Gentlemen, I commit the affairs of the Province to your patriotic and disinterested consideration —earnestly hoping that under the favor of Divine Providence your deliberations during this Session may be productive of results conducive to the prosperity of Canada and the happiness of her people.
His Excellency [Viscount Monck] and the members of the Assembly having retired, the usual mode of initiating the business of the House —the reading of prayers by the Chaplain —was observed.