“Provincial Parliament: Legislative Assembly” The Globe (24 June 1864)
By: The Globe
Citation: “Provincial Parliament: Legislative Assembly”, The Globe [Toronto] (24 June 1864).
(BY TELEGRAPH FROM OUR OWN REPORTERS.)
THE DEBATE ON THE NEW MINISTERIAL POLICY.
[CONTINUED FROM THURSDAY.]
QUEBEC, June 22.
Mr. Alex Mackenzie said that while he did not approve of coalitions in general, there were sometimes circumstances of grave difficulty which justified – indeed, demanded – that men of all parties should come together to endeavour to settle them, and he had last session declared publicly that if the Government brought down a measure to remove the sectional differences which existed in Canada, he would feel it his duty to support it. He did not suppose then that this contingency would ever [sic] But as it had not arisen, he felt [sic] to say he would carry out the pledge he had the [sic] and did so in full belief in the sincerity of hon. gentlemen opposite which was guaranteed by the [sic] of the member for South Oxford into the Government; but if they failed to carry out the solemn agreement into which they had entered, he would at once cease to give them his full support. He believed that the coalition now formed should cease as soon as the object for which it was brought about had been attained.
Mr. Cameron said he thought that in the expression of universal satisfaction at the cessation of party strife there were some points overlooked, which under other circumstances would have claimed the earnest attention of the House. He was not in favour of coalitions. He remembered how recently the member for South Oxford had denounced their immorality, and he was unable to see now the present circumstances justified him in joining the Government, and practising the immorality when, if the professions of the Liberal Party were sincere, the same measures might be carried by their assistance,) without a coalition for which they now claimed a union with the men they had so much abused. The member for South Oxford had said that his friends thought he was credulous in joining the Conservatives, but he certainly showed no credulity towards that party for upwards of 2 years [text illegible] never discover a particle of [text illegible] in any one of his opponents. How did it happen that the member for South Oxford sat in the House while virtually a Minster of the Crown? Was no constitutional question involved? In other days, in such a statement were made, there would have been an outcry from the whole Liberal party that gentleman should remain in the House for a moment after such a declaration. But things were changed already, and not word now. He (Mr. Cameron) said he was in favour a federation for Canada alone. The first would eventually make us a great nation; the second would never is [sic] beyond mere municipality. He believe the first would be carried out – when he remembered of whom the Ministry was composed – the leading spirits having already declared in favour of it. That Mr. Brown had abandoned his old hobby – representation by Population – was clear; and Mr. Brown himself had assisted in its [sic] He (Mr. Cameron) had proposed it, and now he came forward himself with a scheme of the same kind. Hon. gentlemen had said that the coalition would cease with the occasion that called it forth. But how and when could it cease? It would be years before federation could be carried out. Would all other questions have to remain in abeyance in the meantime? What is tot become of financial reform, administrative reform, equalization of revenue and expenditure, and the tariff on which such different opinions had been expressed by opposite parties? When the Bill was finally prepared, the Government would surely never attempt to carry it in the present use and without submitting it to the people. (hear hear). It was a most important constitutional change which was in contemplatics, and the people had a right to express their opinions upon it – in the only constitutional way in which they could express them – at the polls; and it might be found then as he believed it would, that the vast majority of the people of Canada were entirely averse to any federation of Canada, either of two parts or of four or six. He had not intended to address the House at any length but had been ed on by the subject. He would give the Government every opportunity of developing their measure, whatever it might be; but he would declare himself at once as in favour of a general federation, and against any scheme of federation of Upper and Lower Canada alone (Hear, hear).
Mr. Morris spoke of the critical situation into which the country was rapidly drifting. In consequence of the sectional questions that had long agitated it. He looked upon this as a sufficiently grave state of affairs to demand the earliest consideration of the patriotic men of all parties, and rejoiced that they had been at last brought together in a determined effort to remove the difficulties which existed. He believed good would result from the events. [sic] had lately taken place.
Mr. Francis Jones spoke in terms of disapprobation of what had been done [text illegible] the past week, and in opposition to the [sic] a federal union of the provinces. [text illegible] thought would be a cause of weakness [text illegible] creased dissension. He quoted form The [sic] and also from the speeches of Mr. John A. Macdonald, to show that they had bother opposed the scheme under which they now united. He (Mr. Jones) expressed himself favourable to the legislative union of the provinces, but could give no support to a proposition which, he was convinced would prove disastrous to the best interests of Canada.
Mr. McKellar spoke to the same effect [sic] Mr. Alexander Mackenzie had done, saying the Government had pledged themselves to introduce a measure with a view of settling additional difficulties. He in accordance with what he had formerly frequently stated, promised to give them his support, although he did not believe in coalitions except under the gravest possible circumstances.
Mr. Huntington taunted Mr. Cartier with having conceded everything to the demands of Mr. Brown after having, for years, charged the Liberal Party in Lower Canada with favouring the views of that hon. gentleman, and said that a federation of Canada would place the Protestants of Lower Canada entirely at the mercy of the French Canadians, and might probably inflict upon them the utmost injustice.
Mr. Mowat was convinced, from what had been said by the member for South Oxford, that hon. gentlemen opposite were sincere in their desire to grapple with constitutional difficulties, and he had greater hope now than ever that they would succeed in bringing about a settlement that would be satisfactory to both Upper and Lower Canada, and that would od justice to both. Parties were valuable, indeed, for the proper working of constitutional principles, but we should take care that they were not perverted to the purposes of evil, and allowed to stand in the way of good. He confessed he had something akin to a hatred of coalition, and held that it was necessary for public men to avoid even the semblance of doing wrong, but in thus avoiding that which had even the appearance of being bad, they should take care not to fall into error; and just as a coalition under ordinary circumstances was any thing but desirable, so under extraordinary and exceptional circumstances it became desirable and even necessary. He went on to say that this was not a simple question which a coalition was formed to settle; it was a grave complication and a serious question. For ten years past we had been struggling for the settlement of our constitutional difficulties, and had hitherto been unsuccessful. He thought that the opportunity was now presented of settling them. The House and the country ought to congratulate themselves upon the fact that we had now reached so near the attainment of a so great and desirable an object.
Mr. Scatcherd said that while he would support any measure the Government might bring down to settle sectional difficulties, should its details be satisfactory, he could not bid himself to support the coalition that had been formed, and which he believed to be unnecessary. He would not content to be dragged trough the mud to support a Coalition even although three gentlemen form his side of the house entered the Government. He could not [sic] with what consistency, men could join others in an Administration, who, for years, had been abused and opposed by them in the most determined manner. (Hear, hear). While therefore, he would support the measure of the Government, if it were a good one, he would continue as heretofore to oppose men in whom he had frequently voted that he had no confidence.
Mr. Cowan, in a few remarks, said he would support the Coalition, only because he believed gentlemen opposite sincere in their desire to settle the sectional difficulty, and because the circumstances were such as to demand that a Coalition should be formed for that purpose.
The first Order of the Day was then called for Messrs. Naguire and Kelly to appear at the bar to answer for their conduct at the Essex election.
Atty. Gen. Macdonald said that, from the best consideration he had given to the evidence, he did not see that any charge had been established against the parties; therefore he moved that they be discharged from custody – Carried.
Mr. Galt then moved the 2nd reading of the Bill respecting Duties of Excise.
Messrs. Holton, Brown, and Rose urged the Minister of Finance to modify the Bill so as to remove the hardship under which tobacco manufacturers laboured by its provisions. The duty had been imposed so suddenly [sic] held by them, and not upon stocks held by merchants, that they suffered great loss in fulfilling contracts previously entered into, and by the fact that they could not manufacture as cheaply as the untaxed article in the hands of merchants could be sold. Many of them, indeed were compelled to suspend busines, that throwing out of employment hundred of people in the large cities of the Province.
Mr. Galt requested hon. gentlemen to send him what information they had respecting these cases of hardship, and said he would taken them into consideration before the third reading of the Bill.
The motion was then carried and the Bill read
On motion of Mr. Galt, Bills to amend the law respecting the navigation of Canadian waters, and to revive and continue for a limited time the provision for the geological survey of the Province, were also read a second time.
On motion of Mr. Galt, the House went into committee, and, rising, reported a resolution for the appointment of a Board of Customs, Excise and Stamps.
The House then went into committee on the Bill to amend the law respecting the Pubic Accounts and the Board of Audit, and reported the Bill with an amendment.
On motion of Mr. McGee, the Bill to amend, with result to Upper Canada, the Act respecting the Bureau of Agriculture and Agricultural Societies, was read a second time. Several other Government measures, of minor importance, were also read a second time.
The House again went into Committee of Ways and Means, and reported the resolution respecting the excise on ginger and other [text illegible].
A large number of Private Bills Chiefly to incorporate mining [sic] were read a third time.
The House Adjourned at half-past 12.
Quebec, June 28.
The Speaker took the chair at three o’clock. A number of private bills were read a third time and passed.
Hon. Mr. Sanborn moved the second reading of the Bill for the protection of settlers in Lower Canada.
Hon. Mr. Moore moved the three months’ hoist, which was carried by 21 to 19.
The debate was proceeding when our report left.
Quebec June 23
The Speaker took the chair at three o’clock.
In reply to Mr. Dickson,
Atty. Gen. Macdonald said the government had no power to compel the late Registrar of Bruce to deliver over to his successor the public books and documents. The two parties were nor proceeding before the counts to have it determined who was the legal Registrar, and the Government could not interfere.
In reply to Mr. J. B. Dorion,
Mr. Chapais said the Government had not yet called for tenders for the removal of Government property from Quebec to Ottawa, but would od so in due time.
Mr. Chambers moved an address for a return respecting loans made to the Brockville and Ottawa Railway Company. – Carried.
Dr. Parker moved an address for all documents and communications to or from the Government respecting the Medical Board of Upper Canada, since the 1st of January, 1860 – Carried.
Mr. A. Dufresne moved for a return of correspondence, reports, &c. relative to obstructions in the River Richelieu. – Carried.
Mr. H. F. Mackenzie moved and address for the accounts of James Ferguson Esquire, Returning Officer for St. Clair Division. He said he wished to get the return to show the absolute necessity there was of having some new means of checking the accounts of Returning Officers. The returns he moved for would show the extraordinary manner in which such accounts are sometimes made up. He had another reason for making this motion, which he had intended to submit to the House, but he would forbear, and would state it to the Finance Minister himself.
The motion was carried.
On Mr. Brown’s motion to refer the petition of Misses Joan and Helen Gourlay to a select committee being called,
Mr. Brown said that some days agon he handed this petition to his hon. friend the Finance Minster, and asked if he had looked into the matter. Mr. Galt said, in consequence of having been so much occupied with the negotiations of the last few day, he had not been able to give the necessary attention to the petition. The question was, whether the pension voted by Parliament many years ago to Robert Gourlay, but not drawn by him, should now be paid to the ladies, his daughters. It was a matter as to which it would be necessary to consult the Law Officers of the Crown [sic] probably not one requiring the action of Parliament; for if the money wat due [text illegible]
The motion was allowed to stand.
Mr. Howland moved an address for papers respecting the improvement of navigation in Lake St. Peter, the debentures issued therefore, &c. – Carried
Mr. Wells moved an address for correspondence. Orders in Council &c., respecting the removal of Wm Jackes from the Superintendence of the York Roads, and the appointment of his successor.
Mr. Holton asked the Government why Mr. Jackes had been dismissed, and if it was true that James Cotton had been appointed superintendent of all these roads at a salary equal to that of a Judge.
Attorney-General Macdonald said these roads were to be offered to the municipalities interested at a valuation, and if they failed to [sic] at a valuation, the roads would then be offered to public competition. On looking into this matter the Government had found that there was a great deal of unnecessary expense, three men being employed by the York Roads and two on the Hamilton and Fort Dover Road, to superintend [sic] and [sic] the revenue Mr. Cotton would [sic] the whole work of these parties until the roads passed out of the hands of the Government which would be very soon. The [sic] that would be paid to Mr. Cotton had not been fixed, but it would be very moderate.
Mr. Brown said the House must, of course, be pleased, whenever any retrenchment was effected, and he had no doubt gentlemen opposite had acted with a view to attaining that end but he thought they should recognize the principle that where one Government had placed a respectable man in any office, and one who well discharged its duties, the succeeding Government ought not to make a change. Mr. Jackes was a man of the highest respectability, and exceedingly competent. Probably it was of little consequence, as the roads would soon be sold and the present machinery swept away, but he thought it important that the principle he had referred to should be observed. (Hear, hear).
Mr. Howland disputed the correctness of Attorney Gen. Macdonald’s statement, that Mr. Cotton was to do the work of five persons lately employed. He thought a more ill-judged act had never been committed by the Government than their making this change. The parties formerly in charge were men of character, in whom the country had confidence, but he did not think it wise to entrust such large revenues to the hands to which they were not committed by the Government.
Atty. Gen. Macdonald – The hon. gentleman may have his own opinion about the respectability of parties and I have mine, and besides this, Mr. Cotton has given security while, contrary to law, the parties formerly in charge gave no security.
Mr. Francis Jones expressed his dissatisfaction with the management of these roads under the late Government, and his approval of the change now made.
Mr. Holton vindicated the policy of the late Government in this matter, and its results.
Mr. Thos Ferguson defended Mr. James Cotton against Mr. Howland’s remarks, and attacked Mr. Howland about the dismissal of Mr. Cotton’s brother from the Port Credit Collectorship.
Mr. Price moved an address for the report of Mr. Billarge on the Mal Bale and Grand Bay road – Carried.
Mr. Rose moved an address for the despatches &c. on the subject of providing barrack accommodations for Her Majesty’s forces now stationed in this Province.
Attorney General Macdonald said that over any correspondence between the Imperial War Department and the Commander of the Forces in this country, this Government had no control, and there had been no communication that he was aware of between the Secretary of State or military authorities, and the Canadian Government, respecting the want of proper barrack accommodation in Montreal or elsewhere. When the ordinance property was handed over to the Province as a part of the measure for its undertaking its own defence, the barracks in different parts of the country became Provincial property, but the moment the troops came out to our defence, the Province at once delivered over to them this property, which, of course was the least we could do under the circumstances. The Government fully concurred with the sentiments expressed the other day by the members for Lambton and Cornwall, that it would be a great misfortune if the Guards were withdrawn from Montreal on account of the want of proper barrack accommodation, as it appeared might be the case from the remarks lately made in the House of Commons. Concurring, as they did in those sentiments they had passed an Order in Council and sent it home, stating that the want of sufficient barrack accommodation at Montreal had never been communicated to the Government in any way, until their attention was called to remarks made in the House of Commons, and at the same time pointing out strongly the inexpediency of removing the troops from Canada, when this continent was in so agitated a state, and stating that the Government would take the responsibility of submitting to Parliament next session a measure for meeting the extra expenses necessary to provide sufficient barrack accommodation whenever required.
After remarks by Messrs. Francis Jones, A. A. Dorion, McGee, A. Mackenzie, and other members, the motion was withdrawn.
Mr. H. F. Mackenzie moved the adoption of the 5th report of the Contingencies Committee, proposing new arrangements as the number and salaries of the officers of the House.
After some discussion,
Mr. Denis objected to the report being adopted until printed in French.
The motion was then postponed
Mr. Thos Ferguson moved the adoption of the report of the Committee on reporting the debates.
Messrs. A. Mackenzie and McKellar spoke against the scheme.
The motion was under discussion when the Speaker left the chair at 6 o’clock.
After the recess.
Mr. Brown said that last evening questions were put to the Attorney General West and the Attorney General East as to what was meant yb the words in the document that read, “Local matters being committed to local bodies and matters common to all to a general legislature, constituted on the well-understood principles of a Federal Government.” One would have supposed that these words were clear enough, and he had really thought that the questions were scarcely necessary; but the answers given were clear and distinct, obviating the possibility of any mistake. In consequence, however, of some discussion which had taken place in the other House, some members had got the idea that there was some mystery still attaching to those words; and he was sure the gentlemen on the Treasury Benches would be glad of the opportunity of stating beyond all sort of doubt what the meaning was.
Atty. Gen. Macdonald said he thought it [sic] have been very well understood, and especially by the statement who spoke about it yesterday, what was meant by the Federal principle. He believed it had been represented very industriously, and he thought very unfairly, that there was a discrepancy between the statements made in the Upper and the Lower House. There was no such discrepancy. In the Upper House, however, their respected leader and Premier, Sir E. P. Tache, stated that [sic] the record which was the basis of the arrangement between the government and the member for South Oxford, and he would not be drawn into a discussion upon it one way or the other, or express any individual opinion as to the details. He (Atty. Gen. Macdonald) could not do better than quote what he stated yesterday, as being what he understood and what all the parties to the arrangement understood, by the words in question. The principle was that there should be local Legislatures, having regard to local interests, and a general Legislature, having control of the general interests common to the whole people of Canada. As to the formation of the of local Legislatures – whether they should consist of one branch or of two, whether there should be a Govern or for each or one Governor should preside over the whole &c. – no details had been entered into. As for the general Legislature, it was agreed that it should be constituted on the well understood priciples of a Federal Government. What these are was well understood by a reference to the constitution of all Federal Government in ancient and modern times. He was not so conversant, perhaps, with the history of Federations as the member for North Leeds. (Laughter). But confining ourselves to modern instances we found that the Federal principle meant that in one branch the different states should have their separate interests represented on the principle of equality, while the popular branch must have a popular basis, and the principle of numbers must of course prevail in the popular branch.
They were not at all committed to universal suffrage, or anything that would interfere with lass interests, property being protected as in England, where there was not merely the principle of numbers, but that all classes and their rights of property should be represented. The statement he made yesterday was as follows, and his colleagues in this and the other Chamber were perfectly in accord with him. He proceeded to read the following report from the Chronicle of his remarks yesterday, as giving correctly what he then stated: – “The memorandum read conveyed the express understanding that while as to local matters the local Legislature of each section or province shall alone have jurisdiction, there shall be a central Legislature, the constitution of which shall be based upon the well understood Federal principle. The member for Hochelaga did not require to be informed what that Federal principle was. As rewards the upper branch of Legislature it meant equality, and as to the lower branch, meant representation based on population – (hear, hear) – but while this was the case, neither member for South Oxford nor any member of the Government understood that representation based on population was to be understood as implying universal suffrage, but that in the lower branch of the Legislature there shall be a representation based on population, with such checks and modifications as regards property as obtained in reference to this House at present. Property and population would be kept in view in the settlement of the representative question (hear, hear). He had only [text illegible] had arisen and the story which had got abroad that a difference existed, he had consulted his colleagues, and they had authorized him to make the statement he had now made (Hear, hear).
Mr. Dorion – Are we to understand that as the unanimous opinion of the members of the Cabinet?
Attorney-General Macdonald – Of course.
Mr. Brown said the statement now made by the Attorney-General West was in perfect consistency with his whole conduct since the commencement of the negotiations. Hon. gentlemen must see how easily a slight apparent disagreement might have occurred, from the fact that the negotiations were chiefly conducted between the three hon. gentlemen sitting opposite and himself, the hon. gentlemen who spoke in the other House not having been present in the first place. Under these circumstances it was quite natural that Sir Etienne Tache should have said “I stick to the record – take out of the words what is their fair and proper meaning.”
Mr. Dorion said he was glad a clear explanation had not been given, because all day the name of one Minister and another had been invoked as having stated publicly that he was against the meaning now explained. He was proceeding to refer to Col. Tache’s remarks in the other House, when,
Mr. Turcotte rose to a question of order. He thought the discussion was irregular as there was no motion before the chair.
Mr. Dorion said he had only wished to have it clearly understood that it was now asserted and admitted as the unanimous opinion of the members of the Cabinet, that in the lower branch of the general Legislature representation should be according to population.
Mr. Turcotte again interrupted him, pressing the question of order.
Messrs. Dorion and Holton contended that in an important matter of this sort, where it was desirable that Ministerial explanations should be explicit as possible, the rule of order invoked did not apply.
The Speaker decided that the discussion was not strictly regular.
Mr. Dorion, to make the discussion regular, moved that the House do now adjourn, and proceeded to say that the names of two Ministers had been mentioned to him as having stated that they did not concur in the explanation given yesterday, and that the basis did not mean representation by population in the popular branch. He was glad, however to have heard now the frank explanations of the Attorney General West. He could not say so much for the explanations given in the other House. There the answer had to be dragged out, and when at last they were driven to give a direct answer all they would say was “read the document”. But after what had been stated tonight, he wished it to be well understood that the Premier, Mr. Cartier, Mr. Chapais, and Mr. Langevin all agreed to the principle that in the lower branch of the federal legislature, representation should be based on population. After this surely they would hear no more at the hustings of the member of Hochelaga being desirous of putting his countrymen under the feet of the British population.
Mr. Cartier said that Mr. Dorion stated that he accepted the declaration of the Attorney General West that in one branch of the general legislature the population basis had to be adopted, but he should also remember his hon. friend’s statement, that class interests and property should also be represented as in England.
Mr. Turcotte spoke briefly in French, pointing out that to the local Legislatures would be committed the protection of the interests of religion and of all local interests and institutions, and contending that the administration of the Federal principle did not involve what he and his party had been accustomed to charge against Mr. Dorion and his friends.
Mr. Macdonald (Toronto) thought that there was a difference of opinion among the gentlemen sitting on the Treasury benches. Yesterday the Attorney General East stated that representation was to be based on population and territory, but when the question was put to the Attorney General West, that gentleman, with a fairness and manliness which must for ever redound to his credit, stated that in the lower branch of the Legislature there was to be a representation by population, not as implying universal suffrage, but with those checks as to the rights of franchise which prevailed in this House, making no allusion to territory, he (Mr. John Macdonald) thought it absurd to speak of territory as a basis of representation. Were wastes unfit for agriculture and unfit for inhabitants to be represented?
Mr. Cartier said that by a federal system he did not understand what was stated last night by the member for North Leeds (Mr. Francis Jones) for that gentleman quoted the example of the Grecian republics, which in fact never understood or applied the federal principle and that was one reason why they were always found struggling and fighting against each other. He did not think we should copy that example, for he would not like to see Upper and Lower Canada fighting one against the other. But in speaking of a federal Government, they had understood [sic] through, that there were Governments now in existence in which the federal principle was applied. We had the Switzerland Republic, and we had the American Republic. Well, the member for Toronto had found fault with him for speaking of territory. Surely the hon. gentleman must be aware that, under the American system, territories which had not a sufficient amount of population to send a senator or a certain number of representatives sent territorial delegates
Mr. Dunkin said he failed to gather from the explanation that in the Federal Legislature it was proposed to carry out strictly the principle of representation by population in either branch. For his own part, he did not believe in federal institutions.
Mr. Brown said he was surprised that Mr. Dunkin should still express any doubt as to what was meant, after having heard the explicit declarations of the Atty. Gen. West, and having heard him repeat the words he used yesterday. Stated that in the interval he had consulted his colleagues.
Mr. Holton said that his desire and that of his friend from Hochelaga had not been to raise a discussion just now as to the merits of the scheme, but simply to elicit the facts, so far as facts existed; and he presumed the motion for adjournment might now be withdrawn.
The motion was withdrawn accordingly.
Mr. Dunkin moved the second reading of his Bill respecting railway postal subsidies and the amalgamation of railway companies.
Mr. Cartier stated the objections he had to sever features of the Bill, but said he would not oppose its going to the Railway Committee.
The Bill was then read a second time.
The following Bills were passed through Committee of the Whole: –
For holding vessels table for debt. – Mr. McGiverin.
To amend the Act respecting Weights and Measures – Mr. Bourassa.
To amend Chap. 28, Consolidated Statues of Lower Canada – Mr. Perrault
To amend Chap 28 Consolidated Statutes of Lower Canada Mr. Bourassa
To amend the Game Laws of Upper Canada – Mr. Walsh
The House went into Committee on Mr. Dorion’s Bill to amend the Law of Elections.
Mr. Cartier said the Bill would cause a long discussion, and he hoped it would be postponed till Saturday to allow progress to be made with [sic]
Mr. Dorion insisted that the bill ought to get a stage tonight.
Mr. Joseph Dufresne said there was no hurry with the Bill, as another session would be held before there could be an election. He moved that the committee rise and report progress.
Mr. McKellar contended that the amendment’s proposed to the existing law were urgently required, and hoped this House would not allow the Bill to be thrown over.
Mr. McGee spoke against the Bill except as regarded the provision that there should be only one day’s polling instead of two.
The House divided on Mr. Dufresne’s motion which was lost.
Mr. Langevin (in French) spoke against the Bill.
After a long discussion the Bill passed through committee – the report to be received on Saturday.
A large number of Bills were received from the Legislative Council, and were severally read a first time.
The House adjourned at half-past 1 o’clock.