Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 16 April 1903, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.



First Session of Fifth Legislature Now in Session.


Attention Directed to the Constitutional and Financial Position of the Territories, the Public Domain and Transportion Difficulties— Land Titles System to be Taken Over—Mr. Gillis (Whitewood) Elected Speaker.

THURSDAY, April 16th, 1903.
The first session of the fifth Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories was formally opened this afternoon by His Honor Lieutenant Governor Forget. There was a very large attendance of Members, only six out of a total of thirty-five being absent. The attendance of the general public was also large, among the number being Mr. C. A. Magrath, a former member of the Executive Council. Many of the fair sex graced the occasion with their presence, and altogether the enlarged, and redecorated chamber presented a rather pretty picture.
Sharp on time His Honor the Lieutenant Governor arrived, accompanied by Lt.-Col. Macdonell, D.S.O. as A.D.C., Supt. Wilson and Capt. Gilpin Brown, of the N.W.M.P., and an escort of about fifteen men of the N.W.M.P. under command of Insp. Walke. As is always the case at the opening of the first session of a new Assembly, the usual proceedings were varied somewhat, His Honor, after entering the chamber, retiring after the formal announcement by the Territorial Secretary that he would withhold his message until the Assembly had elected a Speaker.
On motion of Premier Haultian, seconded by Mr. Bulyea, Mr. A. B. Gillis (Whitewood) was unanimously elected Speaker. In moving the appointment of Mr. Gillis, the Premier paid a tribute to Mr. Gillis' services as Deputy Speaker and chairman of committee in the last Assembly. His strict attention to the work of the House, his impartiality and knowlege of Parliamentary rules and procedure made him especially fitted for the position. He felt confident from his course in the past that Mr. Gillis would do honor to the high position. Mr. Gillis acknowledged the honor in a few words.
His Honor the Lieutenant Governor having re-entered the chamber, and been informed by the Speaker of his election, delivered the following
Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the Legislative Assembly:— I have much pleasure in welcoming you to the First Session of the Fifth Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories.
During the past year, in common with our fellow subjects throughout the Empire, we heard with grief and alarm of the illness of the King, and I am sure that we all rejoiced in his Majesty's restoration to health and in the successful carrying out of the Coronation ceremonies.
The abundant harvest of the past year, the general prosperity of the country and the remarkable growth of the Territories in material wealth and population must all be a source of profound gratification.
But these circumstances, gratifying as they are from a national standpoint, have immeasurably increased the duties and responsibilies of the North-West Government and Legislature.
For some years past the Government and Legislature have been pressing upon the Federal Government the absolute necessity for larger powers and revenues if the duties and obligations already imposed upon them by Parliament and the further obligations imposed by new conditions are to be adequately fulfilled.
In their latest negotiations with the Federal Government, my Government again forcibly impressed the immediate necessity for the granting of Provincial Institutions to the Territories.
Strong representations have also been made with regard to the present financial necessities of the Territories.
As a result of these representations a conference was held at Ottawa in the month of February last between members of my Government and a Sub-Committee of the Privy Council appointed for that purpose.
I regret to say that no intimation has yet been given by the Federal Government as to the action they propose to take as a result of the Conference.
All the papers relating to these important subjects will be laid before you, and you will be asked to take such action as may seem desirable to further enforce the just claims of the Territories.
I feel it to be my duty to ask your attention to the important question of transportation.
This question is partially bound up with the Provincial question, but some of its larger phases falls more peculiarly within the Federal domain.
In view of the transportation conditions prevailing since the close of lake navigation last year, and which threaten to continue in a more aggravated forum during the year to come, I feel justified in asking you to consider the advisability of making some representations to Parliament with regard to a question which so vitally affects the welfare of the Territories.
The claim which has been made on the part of the Territories to the public domain will also justify an expression of opinion on your part with regard to further alienations of the public lands of the Territories for railway or other purposes except actual settlement.
In response to a request by my Government the Federal Government have consented to extend the jurisdiction of the Legislature to the important subject of land titles, and legislation to that effect has been promised at the present session of Parliament. This important extension of your powers will necessitate legislative provision for the maintenance and control of the land titles system, and a measure for that  purpose will be presented to you. Federal legislation has also been promised which will give to the Legislative Assembly the right to fully control the qualification of its members, to legislate with regard to the constitution and jurisdiction of Civil Courts and other matters at present withheld from you by the provisions of the North-West Territories Acts. Measures necessitated by these further extensions of your powers will also be submitted to you.
Your consideration will also be asked to Bills relating to Mechanics' Liens, Drainage, Mutual Fire Insurance and Succession Duties.
Your attention will be invited to Bills to amend the law relating to Civil procedure and the sale of intoxicating liquor, and a Bill to amend and consolidate as amended the law relating to Brands.
A statement of the receipts and expenditures of the past year and the estimates of expenditure for the current year will he laid before you.
I now leave you to your deliberations with every confidence that your labors, under Divine Providence, will be directed to the advantage and welfare of the Territories.
After His Honor had retired, and Mr. Speaker Gillis having taken the chair amid cheers, Premier Haultain moved for leave to introduce a Bill to amend Chapter 46 of the Consoldiated Ordinances of 1898 regarding marriage. Leave having been granted the Bill was introduced and read a first time.
Mr. Haultain moved that the Speech of His Honor be taken into considera


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tion on Monday next. Agreed.
On motion of Premier Haultain and Mr. Bulyea the following Members were appointed a special committee to draft the select standing committees of the House: Messrs. McDonald, Bennett, Brown, DeVeber, Meyers, and the mover and seconder. Agreed.
On motion of Premier Haultain the house then adjourned at 3.15 pm.


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