House of Commons, 12 March 1875, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

[...]aries of Manitoba in the east. The present Bill would be applicable to the territory of the Dominion east of Manitoba as well as to that to the west and north. He might mention that application had been made on behalf of the Government of Manitoba for an enlargement of their territory. They proposed, in fact, to have it made something like nine or ten times larger than it was at present. But there were other proposals of that Government in connection with this matter which rendered necessary the postponement of action for the present until a conference, can be had with the Local Government. It was proposed by this Bill to have a Lieutenant- Governor of the North-West territories who would be assisted by a Council. That Council would consist of five members appointed by the GOVERNOR GENERAL in Council; three stipendiary magistrates or judges, to be appointed in a similar manner who would be members of the Council ex-ofiicio— and two others, perhaps the principal Indian Agent and some other person whose place of residence and occupation made it convenient for them to perform the duties that would be required of them. The first section of this Bill simply provided that the territories formerly known as "Ruperts Land, and the North-West territories," should continue to be styled and known as the North-West territories, and that there shall be a Lieutenant Governor appointed who shall hold office during the pleasure of the GOVERNOR GENERAL and receive instructions in the same way as Lieutenant Governors in the Provinces. The third section provides for the establishment of the Council, and the fourth that the seat of Government may from time to time be changed by the GOVERNOR GENERAL in Council. In the meantime the seat of Local Government for the territories shall be established at Fort Pelly, that being a convenient place to reach the Sascatchewan River and Fort Ellis, and other parts of the territories, and not beyond reach of the telegraph system about being established. The Government last season constructed buildings there for the North-West police force, sufficient to accommodate two hundred men, a commandant house, an hospital and other buildings ; and these buildings could accommodate the officers connected with the North West Government without any serious expense. Last year there was expended on these build ings something like $30,000. By section five it was proposed to pay the Lieut. Governor a salary not exceeding $7,000, and each Stipendary Magistrate or Judge a salary not exceedng $3,000, and the other two members of the Council a salary not exceeding $1,000; and to the Clerk of the Council who shall act as Secretary to the Lieut. Governor a salary not exceeding $1,800. Sections six seven and eight simply provide for the consolidation of the laws and ordnances now in force in those territories, and the ninth section that no ordnance shall be passed by the Governor in Council or the Lieut. Governor inconsistant with any Act of the Dominion Parliament. This section restricts the jurisdiction of the Council practically to that now enjoyed by the Lieut. Governor of Manitoba acting as Governor of the North— West Territories, and his Council. The next few sections provide for popular Government so far as it could be established under the circumstances of the country. The eleventh section provides that so soon as the Lieut. Governor is satisfied by such proof as he may require that any portion Of the territory not exceeding an area of one thousand square miles contains a population of not less than one thousand inhabitants such district may be erected into an electoral district which shall be entitled to elect a member of the Council or as it may be of the Legislative Assembly. The sub-sections provide the machinery for holding the elections. The fifth sub—section provides that as soon as the Lieut. Governor is satisfied that any electoral district contains a population of two thousand, exclusive of aliens and unenfranchised Indians, he shall issue a writ for the election of a second member. The sixth sub-section provides that when the number of elective members amounts to twenty-one the council hereinbefore appointed shall cease be determined, and the members so elected shall be constituted and designated as the Legislative Assembly of the North—West Territory, and the powers by this Act vested in the council shall thenceforth be vested and exercisable by such Legislative Assembly. One of the sub—sections provides that every bona fide resident and householder who shall have been in the district for twelve months may vote, and any person entitled to vote shall be eligible for election. MARCH 12, 1875. 655 Sections twelve to thirty inclusive contain provisions for the holding of real estate, and the administration of estates, the law that prevails in Ontario with regard to property being introduced. Sections 36, to 44 inclusive make provisions for wills and their registration; and from 45 to 50 provisions regarding married women defining their rights as to property. Section 54 provides that the Governor may appoint a registrar of deeds in and for the North- West Territories and the remuneration to be paid. Section 52 provides for the appointment of a Sheriff who shall reside in the territory ; and the Lieutenant Governor is authorized by the 53d section to have local disposition of the police force in and for the North—West Territories established under the Act respecting the administration of justice in those territories. For the administration of justice the Lieutenant Governor is authorized by section 54 to appoint Justices of the Peace; and the Governor in Council may, by ordinances, subject to the provisions of this Act, set apart any portion of said territories as and for a judicial district, and may from time to time alter the limits and extent of any such district. Section 56 provides that a court or courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction, shall be held in said territories in every judicial district, and at such periods and places as the Lieutenant Governor may from time to time alter. Section 55 provides authority for the appointment of a stipendary magistrate, and magistrates within the territories. Section 59, and following sections, provide the jurisdiction of each stipendary magistrate, and the mode of holding the courts for the trial of criminal offences. Section 68, and following sections, provide for the administration of justice in civil cases. Section 71, and the sub-sections one to six inclusive, contain provisions for excluding all intoxicating liquors, prohibiting their introduction and their sale in the territories. This would give the Dominion a fair opportunity to commence with a clean slate in this enormous territory, and test practically the operation of a prohibitory liquor law where there has been no law on that or any other subject before. If we were able to accomplish prohibition in that territory it would enable us the better to accomplish the object that so many were petitioning for as regards the whole Dominion. He might say in connection with this part of the Bill that the officers of the police force now in the territory have very stringent instructions about the destruction of intoxicating liquors, and Col. McLeod, the officer in command at Belly river, at the flank of the Rocky Mountains, had seized a large quantity of liquor, and on one occasion knocked in the head of forty-four barrels of whiskey. The exclusion of intoxicating liquor had already been very beneficial, so far at least as regards the condition of the Indian tribes, and we had reason to believe that it had given the utmost satisfaction. The police force would also act as revenue officers, assisting the prevention of smuggling. They collected some $1,000 or $5,000 of duties levied upon merchandise, in the legitimate course of trade, in the months of December and January, the duties previous to that time not having been levied. The other sections of the Act, 72, 73 and 74, simply provided for the repeal of the various Acts now in force and in order to avoid all confusion, a schedule was given of the Acts now in force, and which would be repealed by the enactment of this law.
Hon.Mr. CAUCHUN asked if the place of residence of the Lieut. Governor was fixed.  
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE said the Government had at Fort Pelly all the buildings necessary to fulfill all the conditions of a Governor's residence.
Right Hon. Sir JOHN MACDONALD said this wasa Bill of so great importance that every hon. member of this House would feel it his duty to consider it fully, and it might occupy a good deal of time. However, they must address themselves to the task. With reference to the proposed settlement of the boundary lines, he was sorry to learn that the suggestions of the late Government were not carried cut, and that the matter was not referred to the judicial committee of the Privy Council for an authoritative decision. He would like to know whether it was the duty, of these arbitrators (who would be acceptable, he was satisfied, to the country as they were to himself) to decide where the line is to run, or simply to decide upon aline which they would recommend to be adopted.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE replied that the exact instructions he not yet been 656 HOUSE OF COMMONS. communicated to the Arbitrator for the   Dominion, but he might say he felt that the Arbitrators should be left to define where the line should be, though not strictly according to the interpretation of the law, if there should be any doubt on that score.
Sir JOHN MACDONALD asked whether concessions were to be made by Manitoba or by the Dominion. According to one contention the head of Lake Superior belongs to the North-West;   according to the other contention (and he thought that would be supported by the hon, member for Bothwell) the Province of Ontario runs to the Lake of the Woods or perhaps further.
Mr. MILLS—Very much further.
Sir JOHN MACDONALD contended that this question should be settled. The Dominion had purchased the whole of the North-West, and it belonged to Canada, and therefore the whole Dominion should know exactly what their property was, how far it extended, and what was the boundary of their farm in the first place. That being once ascertained it might be well, at all events it would be expedient, that wherever the line was to be fixed according to this arbitration, there should be a boundary defined as the legal boundary between the North-West and Manitoba. He hoped the award of the arbitrators, whatever it might be, would not be final, but would be subject to the ratification of the Government and be submitted to Parliament. He wished to know whether the award was to be the unanimous decision of the arbitrators or of a majority of them.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE—The award of two will be considered sufficient to settle the matter.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD   pressed strongly upon the Government that the arbitrators should be asked to find, first, where the western boundary line of Ontario was by law, and second, the eastern boundary of Manitoba. Then they might also be authorized to report a conventional line, other than the line they might say was the legal boundary, as being a convenient one considering all the circumstances of the case. With regard to the appointment of Lieutenant Governor, the hon. gentleman should show some necessity for it since the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba was paid, in addition to his   salary, a sum for governing the North- West Territory as well. That was to say, he had two commissions ; one as Lieut. Governor of Manitaba, with a regular Ministry, and the other as Lieutenant Governor of the North-West, which might be considered in the light of a colony. The hon. gentleman should be prepared to show in the second reading that there was a necessity for appointing an additional Governor just now. Manitoba was a very small Province in itself, with a very small population, and if one Lieutenant Governor was suffiient for the Government of Ontario, surely one ought to be enough for Manitoba and the North-West for some time to come at all events. All the country lying west of Lake Superior and east of Manitoba was considered part of the North-West, and could not be governed as well from Fort Pelly as from Fort Garry. He approved of the provision relating to Stipendiary Magistrates, but thought there was no necessity for the clause introducing the popular element. It seemed to him that the Government should not clog themselves with such a provision. At the right time they could pass an Act introducing the popular element into the Government of the North-West.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE said the North-West Council was in existence, and could be increased to 21 members. Though several vacancies had occurred in it, the Government made no appointments. Every one of those gentlemen was styled honorable until honorables became very plentiful in in Manitoba. The Government found them a little Parliament acting for the North-West, though they resided in the Province, and some of them were never in the territories. The Government had repeated demands from them during the last year for large sums of money. They made a requisition once for $10,000, and actually cost the country during the last part of the year $3,000. It was evident that the council would cost the country as much as a Government in the territory, without being as efficient. In some places within the territories there is already a very considerable population. At Fort Albert there are 500 people other than   Indians who have settled there, and that   population would soon be increased to three or four times the number. There MARCH 12, 1875. 657 is a very considerable settlement where the North-West Police was stationed, on the Belly River, on the flank of the Rocky Mountains, and as this district is one of the finest portions of the territory, it would be rapidly settled. It seemed to be exceedingly desirable, at the earliest point of time, that there should be a firm Government established within the territories and that the Governor should reside several hundred miles west of the present point of authority, in order to exercisea proper influence for the maintenance of peace, or overlooking Indian affairs, and generally helping the Government to establish law and order throughout the territories. The Government had ascertained, from the most authentic source, that within the last eighteen months there were very nearly 150 murders committed in the North-West territories, and no person had been brought to trial. No doubt those were mostly slain in Indian fights with traders from Missouri and Montana, of a most reckless character, who introduced the vilest passions of human nature into the territories and slaughtered the poor people with their improved fire-arms and dealing death and destruction by their vile intoxicating liquors. It seemed very clear that there was an absolute necessity for the establishment of a firm Government within the boundaries of the territories, and that provisions should be made for a popular Government, for the establishment of schools and of some municipal system which would enable the people to mantain roads, bridges, and other local works. That connot be done under the old laws, for although they were suitable for a short period of time, it was now evident that the country required an improved system. The Government were, therefore, quite justified in submitting this measure to Parliament, and no doubt whenever the Bill went into operation it would immensely promote the settlement of the country, for nothing was so essential to the settlement of the country as the maintenance of law and order within its bounds.
Hon. Mr. MITCHELL thought it was very desirable that the commissioners should be appointed as proposed. The Government having decided that they would not follow the course suggested by the late Government of having the Privy Council decide what were the local rights of the Dominion of Canada, but would refer the matter to the arbitrament of two commissioners, it was equally desirable that they should not only decide where it was desirable to define the boundaries of Ontario, but also to decide what were the legal and proper boundaries between Ontario and the North-West territories. The late Government had always recognized that the western boundary line of Ontario was two miles east of Fort William. During the existence of the Ontario Government, of which the hon. First Minister was a member, they claimed and exercised jurisdiction over a district west of Fort William. As a representative of one of the smaller Provinces, he feared that Ontario possesses at the present time too much power, and that the great power which it exercised might act to the injury of the smaller Provinces, which had equal rights with Ontario in the North-West territory. In place of extending the boundaries of Manitoba westward, it might be desirable to extend them eastward and northward toward Ontario, so as to give the Province of Manitoba water communication with the great lakes. He suggested to the Government the desirability when giving instructions to the commissioners of having them clearly defined, and the conclusion arrived at by the commissioners should not be final, but subject to the approval of the Dominion Parliament.
Hon. Mr. BLAKE said the hon. member for Northumberland had referred to the pre-eminent power of Ontario in this House, and was apprehensive that the results of that arbitration would be affected by that power. The hon. gentleman knew the character and reputation of the public men of his own Province better than he (Mr. BLAKE) could tell him ; but such an insinuation had never been cast on a public man as cast by the hon. member on the Ex-Governor WILMOT of his own Province, who was one of the commissioners.
Hon. Mr. MITCHELL said he did not intend to cast any imputation on the character of the commissioners. He had confidence in both Judge RICHARDS and Judge WILMOT, but he knew the preeminent power which a great power like Ontario exercised over men's minds.
Hon. Mr. BLAKE—Has the hon. gentleman been swayed ?
Hon. Mr. MITCHELL—Very often.
Hon. Mr. BLAKE said he had no doubt whatever, that the arbitrators would discharge their duty to the best of their ability. Under the Imperial Act it was only by the joint legislative action of the Provinces affected, and of the Dominion that the boundaries, whatever they were, could be altered ; therefore, it was only an authoritative exposition of the law itself that would be obtained, and anything else would be merely suggestive. The task which the Ministry had set for itself was the most important it was possible to conceive. To found primary institutions under which we hope to see hundreds of thousands, and the more sanguine among us think millions of men and families settled and flourishing, was one of the noblest undertakings that could be entered upon by any legislative body, and it was no small indication of the power and true position of this Dominion that Parliament should be engaged to-day in that important task. He agreed with the hon. member for Kingston that the task was one that required time, consideration and deliberation, and they must take care that no false steps were made in such a work. He did not agree with that right hon. gentleman that the Government ought to repeal his errors. The right hon. gentleman had tried the institutions for the North-West territories which he now asked the House to frame, and for the same reason as he had given to-day—that it would be better for the Dominion Government to keep matters in their own hands and decide what was best for the future. He (Mr. BLAKE) believed that it was essential to our obtaining a large immigration to the North-West that we should tell the people beforehand what those rights were to be in the country in which we invited them to settle. It was interesting to the people to know that at the very earliest moment there was a sufficient aggregate of population within a reasonable distance, that aggregation would have a voice in the self-government of the territories, and he believed the Dominion Government was wise, (although the measure might be brought down very late this session and it might be found impossible to give it due consideration) in determining in advance of settlement what the character of the institutions of the country should be in which we invite people to settle. He did not agree with the policy of asking people to settle in that western country, and tell them that a paternal Government would look after them, and would give them such institutions as the Government thought suitable. We had better let the people know their fate politically and otherwise before they settled there. The task to be discharged now, or at some future time, was one of considerable importance. And amongst the difficulties was the determining of what the range of power of the Council would be in the first place, assuming that its character would be that of a mixed nominative and elective council, as he understood it would be of the First Minister; the Council, at a subsequent period assuming the position of a Legislative Assembly when the population was sufficient to entitle it to assume that position. He did not hear from the hon. First Minister any distinct enunciation of the powers committed to the Council and afterwards to the Assembly. Looking over the Bill hastily it seemed that the powers were too general, that the powers were those of the British North American Act with respect to peace, order and good government.
Hon. Mr. BLAKE—It gave the Council all the powers practically enjoyed by this Parliament and the Local Legislatures together; and it would be proper to restrict and define their powers in all matters connected with Municipal Government, and provision should be made at the earliest possible moment for municipal institutions, local taxation and improvements. He regarded it as essential under the circumstances of the country, and in view of the deliberation during the last few days that a general principle should be laid down in the Bill with respect to public instruction. He did believe that we ought not to introduce into that territory the heart burnings and difficulties with which certain other portions of this Dominion and other countries had been affected. It seemed to him, having regard to the fact that, as far as we could expect at present, the general character of that population would be somewhat analogous to the population of Ontario, that there should be some provision in the constitution by which they MARCH 12, 1875. 659 should have conferred upon them the same rights and privileges in regard to religious instruction as those possessed by the people of the Province of Ontario. The principles of local self-government and the settling of the question of public instruction seemed to him ought to be the cardinal principles of the measure.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE said the words "Governor-in-Council" in the 8th clause of the Bill meant not the Lieutenant Governor but the GOVERNOR GENERAL. Practically the legislation of the territory would be in the hands of the Government here at Ottawa. The Lieutenant Governor in Council would have power to make only such laws and ordinances as the Bill provided for, and it would be for Parliament, when the population had increased sufficiently, to confer upon them more extensive powers than it was proposed to give them under the present measure. As not in the first place attract his attention, but when he came to the subject of local taxation he was reminded of it. Not having had time before to insert a clause on the subject, he proposed to do so when the Bill was in committee. The clause provided that the Lieutenant Governor, by and with the consent of his Council or Assembly, as the case might be, should pass all necessary ordinances in respect of education, but it would be specially pro vided that the majority of the rate-payers might establish such schools and impose such necessary assessment as they might think fit; and that the minority of the rate-payers, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, might establish separate schools: and such rate-payers would be liable only to such educational assessments as they might impose upon themselves. This, he hoped would meet the objection offered by the hon. member for South Bruce. There might be some amendments found necessary in the Bill, but he thought it would be found generally speaking to meet the requirements of the country. However, the Government would be very glad to avail themselves as far as possible of such suggestions as might be made to them.
Mr. D. A. SMITH thought the provisions of the Bill before the House were on the whole calculated to do good service in the North-West if honestly and properly carried out. A very great deal depended upon the administration of the law and upon the character of those who were appointed to carry it out. In this respect they had suffered much in Manitoba. It was well known that sufficient care had not been taken in that respect. He did not say this as a reproach to the right hon. member for Kingston, who, he believed, had under the circumstances done the best he could. At the time there was very little knowledge of the country in Canada, and perhaps even now there was not as much as could be desired. He believed the right hon. gentleman sent to the country those whom he thought best fitted to perform the duties. Much had been done within the past year towards introducing law and good order in that country by sending out an efficient body of police. He said this with the greater pleasure because in the first instance he was afraid they were not very efficient, and so much had been said to the discredit of the force in the early part of the season that they were received with a little distrust ; but he had in his possession a letter from a person who had been out just where Major McLEOD was, and which stated that officer was doing his duty excellently. He had cleared the country of the whiskey traders, and it was now peace and quiet where last year it was dangerous for any one to be. He (Mr. SMITH) thought this spoke a great deal for the efficiency of the Mounted Police, and was a strong commentary upon what had already been done for the Government of the country. The means for preserving the peace were formerly quite insufficient. He thought the provisions of the Bill now brought in were calculated to serve the purpose for which the measure was intended for many years to come. At present the Council of the North-West was probably not just exactly such a body as it ought to be. They were under the very great disadvantage of being far removed from such portions of the territory as were at all settled. The principal settlements were 500 or 600 miles from Manitoba, which was quite equal to 3,000 or 4,000 miles in this eastern country, because the means of communication were very bad. He felt that under the circumstances of that country it would be a great benefit to have a Governor and Council within the territory. He did not 660 HOUSE OF COMMONS. doubt that the Council would be an efficient one, or at any rate he hoped that it would be, since so much depended upon the character of those appointed to it. He thought it was a wise provision not to at once extend legislative powers to the new territory. In the chief settlement, Prince Albert,there were not at present more than 500 inhabitants, but when they increased to 1,000 or more, and the other settlements had increased in the same ratio, he thought it would be right to give them local legislative powers. His objection to the North- West Council as at present constituted was that many of its members knew nothing more of the country than gentlemen on the floor of this House who had simply heard of the North-West as they had of other far distant countries. However, there were atleast six of them who knew it intimately, but it would be a most invidious thing for these gentlemen to get up and tell their fellow-councillors that they knew nothing at all about it. It would be admitted that very frequently those who were the least acquainted with a subject were the most ready to give advice. He thought on the whole it was very much better that they should have the Council proposed in this Bill, and that those who formed the new Council should have an intimate local knowledge of the country, and be connected with its interests. The right hon. member for Kingston seemed to think that it would be an objection to have the Council at Fort Pelly, having in view the interests of the country eastward of Fort Garry. He was himself of opinion that the interests of that country for some time would be of such small importance that the location of the Council would not be a matter of such great consequence. With regard to the disputed boundary between Manitoba and Ontario, the people there would be very glad to find that a port on Lake Superior belonged to them by right, but he hoped that whether it did or not the people of Ontario would give it to them as a matter of grace. The point brought up by the hon. member for South Ontario was an important one, and he was glad to find that the First Minister intended to introduce a provision in Committee, dealing with the subject. He had not noticed from the explanations given that there was any intention to give a representative to the North-West at Ottawa. Without some such provision he did not see how the North-West could have a voice in the legislation of this Dominion, and he strongly contended that there should be at least one member to represent its interests here. It would give a great deal of satisfaction in this country, and he thought it would be at least a matter of justice to the North-West. He hoped stringent measures would be taken to prevent the introduction of goods. without payment of duty, as such practice was injurious to the honest merchants who paid the duties. At present the revenue laws were evaded by bringing in goods by way of British Columbia.
Mr. SCHULTZ said that those who were acquainted with the North-West Territory would agree with him that it was a most difficult matter to establish a proper and efficient system of Government there. He was very much pleased with the general features of the Bill. He dissented from the view of the hon. member for Kingston that the Lieut. Governor of Manitoba could efficiently administer the Government of the territories. That system had proved a failure, and though he was a member of the council he must frankly admit that it was impossible for them under the circumstances to efficiently carry out the laws in the territory. He believed with the member for South Bruce that we must have a strong Government in that territory. There was a moral power in the cocked hat of a Governor, and in the coat of a policeman. Large powers should be given to the proposed new council. It was not advisable in his opinion to give representative institutions to that territory just now. However, he would discuss the details of the measure at a future stage, and he hoped the Government would receive in a kindly spirit the suggestions of those who were familar with the condition and wants of that country. With regard to the mounted police, he must say that under its present able commander it had proved a very efficient force. He regretted that the Government decided upon Fort Pelly as the seat of Government for the North. West, as in his opinion it possessed no recommendation except the fact that it would have telegraph communication. However, as there was a provision in the Bill for a change in the seat of Government, if it was deemed advisable he would raise no objection on that head.
MARCH 12, 1875 661
Mr. MILLS said there were several important features in this Bill which would require special attention. One was that relating to the powers given to the Lieut. Governor in Council. The Premier spoke of their having power to establish schools, build roads and bridges and do other works of a municipal character. It was extremely doubtful whether the Governor in Council could have any of these powers. It was proposed to furnish the money for these objects out of the Dominion Treasury then it might be done, but the Crown itself had no power to impose taxes upon any portion of the community, and of course could not delegate to any Lieut. Governor in Council powers which it did not itself possess. It could not authorize a Governor in Council to establish a municipal system and provide for the taxation of the people.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD—It can be done by statute.
Mr. MILLS—That is another matter. If it was intended, therefore, that these things should be done, it seemed to him provision must be made in the Bill for their being done by Parliament. There was another matter it seemed to him ought not to be disregarded; and that was the terms and conditions under which these people would ultimately be formed into a Province. It would be better that the people who settle that territory should know beforehand the terms and conditions under which they would become an organized part of the Dominion. He saw no objection, when the population became sufficiently large, to allowing that territory to be represented in the Dominion Parliament before it was organized into a Province. By and by we would be called upon, when Provinces came to be organized in that territory, to state what liabilities the Dominion should assume, and what revenues should be given to the Local Government, and it seemed to him it was just as well that this should be done at the beginning so that there would be no room for dispute or difficulty in the future. If some definite plan was adopted, the people would become accustomed to it, and no embarrassment or trouble would arise when it came to be carried into effect. Those who observed the American territorial system of government would notice that from the tune the first government was organized under the ordinance enacted by Congress in 1787, till the establishment of the last territorial government, there was scarcely any difference in the plan of government, and they had never found it necessary to depart from the general principle laid down in the ordinance of 1787. It seemed to him we ought not to refuse to profit by the experience of others under similar circumstances to our own. In order to accomplish the object he had suggested, the Government should know what moneys they had expended on public buildings and works in these territories, which might afterwards become the property of the Local Government, and in that case it would only be fair that when the time came for the admission of the territory into the Union the money so expended could be charged to it as a public debt. He saw no difficulty in this being done, but thought it should be embraced in the fundamental law. The hon. member for Northumberland had stated that Manitoba should have a sea-port town and its boundary ought to be extended to the shores of Lake Superior. If the hon. gentleman would look into the question, he wonld find Ontario had something to say on that matter, and he had no hesitation in saying seeing that it was to be decided on judicial principles he did not think it was competent for the Dominion Government to decide it otherwise than was proposed. Under the Quebec Act of 1774, the western limit of what now remained to us as the old Province of Quebec was fixed at the forks of the Saskatchewan, and the head waters of the Mississippi. By an Order in Council that was adopted ln 1791, it was declared that the western limit of the western portion of Quebec, erected into Upper Canada, shall extend to what is known as the western limit of Canada under the French. That, he apprehended, would extend to the Rocky Mountains. That country Was taken possession of by the French. They established forts at several points in the Red River territory and the most western fort was at the forks of the Saskatchewan. They had appointed Captain LA CORNE to govern the territory under a license from Quebec. The whole country was occupied by the French Government as part of Canada, and was made by the Order in Council of 1791, part of the present Province of Ontario. The late Government had organized the Province of 662 HOUSE OF COMMONS. Manitoba within those limits but he apprehended if a judicial decision should be sought from this arbitration instead of extending the boundary of Manitoba to the shores of Lake Superior, this Parliament would be called upon to compensate Ontario for a very considerable portion they had acquired from that Province.
The Bill was read a first time.


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



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