House of Commons, 14 April 1870, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan



Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald moved the second reading of a Bill intituled: "An Act to provide for the organization of the Department of the Secretary of State for the Provinces."
Mr. Mackenzie would oppose the measure. The number of departments in the administration were far more than the service of the country demanded. That department was unnecessary, and also that of the Department of Agriculture, which was foreign to the duties of the Dominion Government. He believed that the duties performed by the Secretary of State and his subordinates might be performed in the office of the Secretary of State proper. He was not willing to accept the statement of Sir John A. Macdonald that they should have 13 Ministers. If they were to carry on the Confederation system till it should embrace all the Provinces on that Continent, and have one or more Ministers for each Province, they would come eventually to have 21 Ministers. He did not expect for instance that one Minister would be sufficient for the North-West, in 25 years from now, they would have four or five Governments for that vast Territory.
A Member—There is one there now, (a laugh).
Mr. Mackenzie—Yes, one who commanded the confidence of the Minister of Justice, who was willing to treat with his ambassadors. The question was not whether the country should provide an office as a refuge for political sinners, but whether the exigencies of the public service were such as demanded the existence of that office. He would move that the Bill be not read a second time, and that it be resolved that the exigencies of the public service do not require the establishment of another office.
Hon. Mr. Holton seconded the motion.
Hon. Mr. Howe said he had nothing to do with the construction of the Government, and if it could be constructed more cheaply, he would be just as well pleased, (hear, hear). From his experience of two months, he believed it was an office that required the constant attendance of some gentleman at its head. He hoped the House would decide the question without reference to the present occupant of the office. He had endeavoured to discharge the duties of the Department, which were heavy enough. He had learned to work in his youth, and was not afraid of labour now.
1040 COMMONS DEBATES April 14, 1870
Hon. Mr. Holton said he was actuated by no hostility towards the gentleman who occupied the office- far from it- but he had taken the ground all through the discussion on the subject that they had too many offices.
It now being six o'clock, the house rose.
After recess,
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said that as Hon. Mr. Howe was not present, he would move the adjournment of the debate on the Bill relating to the organization of the Department of Secretary of State- Carried.


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Personnes participantes: