Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 9 June 1903, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.



(Continued from page 1.)
TUESDAY, June 9th.
Speaker Gillis took the chair at 2.30 p.m. The first Order of the Day was the second reading of Bill No. 2 respecting Foreign Companies. In moving the second reading Premier Haultain said the necessity for the Bill emphasised the necessity of the immediate granting of the provincial status to the Territories. In 1901 an Ordinance was passed regarding the licensing of foreign corporations to carry on business in the Territories and was disallowed by the Federal Government. The question of the disallowance of the Ordinance was suggested by certain companies incorporated under Dominion charters and who objected to paying a further corporation fee to do business in the Territories. So far as the powers of the Legislative Assembly of the Territories are concerned, said the Premier, we have to-day in this respect practically the same powers as are conferred on the provincial legislatures. We stand in precisely the same position as if we were a province, and in dealing with the disallowance of the Ordinance it is only fair to inquire what was done by the federal authorities with respect to similar legislation by the provinces. The Ordinance of 1901 called for the registration and licensing of foreign corporations, that is companies incorporated otherwise than under the Ordinances of the Territories. A foreign corporation was some company formed for the purpose of carrying on some business which fell within the powers of the Territories. By the Ordinance of 1901 the Territories did not attempt to control companies carrying on business which was outside the powers of the Territories. The fees prescribed to be charged these companies were made by order-in-council.
Objection was taken by the Minister of Justice to this Ordinance and to put it shortly these were: First, that the Ordinance was ultra vires of the legislature, and second, an interference with Dominion policy by discriminating against Dominion companies in favor of Territorial companies. So far as this latter objection was concerned there was a measure of truth in it. By order-in-council the fees were fixed at $150 instead of on a sliding scale as would be the case under the Territorial law. In response to the representations of the Minister of Justice the Territorial Government undertook to amend the Ordinance so as to make the fees the same in the case of all companies. With regard to the first objection the Territorial Government took the straight ground that the Ordinance was not outside the powers of the legislature and that our contention was upheld by former ministers of justice, more particularly Sir Oliver Mowat, who, in his time, was the greatest authority on such questions in Canada.
It was admitted that the Ordinance was framed for the purpose of taxing and regulating these comp[anies but that it only had to do with companies over which the Territories had jurisdiction and such as the Territories could license themselves. The Premier went on to quote the judgment of Hon. David Mills and Sir Oliver Mowat to the effect that while the Dominion had the right to grant such charters the provinces had power to regulate and license them. These opinions were given on a British Columbia and an Ontario case. The Dominion Government had disallowed a Manitoba statute but the question was not the same inasmuch as the Manitoba law undertook to license and regulate companies which were beyond the jurisdiction of the province. In conclusion Premier Haultain said: The British Columbia law, which was the same as ours in principle on all the important points on which ours was disallowed, was allowed to go into operation. The Ontario legislation was allowed to go into operation although it went further than ours. Manitoba's was disallowed but it certainly was objectionable along the lines I have indicated. Ours, however, was disallowed. This only demonstrates another reason why we should have provincial status for there does seem to be a difference in the way in which a strong provincial government is treated and the way the Territories are treated. It was a question whether the Territories were to be allowed to legislate in regard to matters which were clearly and distinctly placed under the control of the Legislative Assembly. The Bill now submitted meets all the objections of the Minister of Justice except on the one point that the Assembly had exceeded its powers. He was not willing to yield that point and he asked the legislature to re-enact the Ordinance. The Bill was then read a second time.


Regina Leader, 1896-1904. Digitized by Google Books.



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