House of Commons, 7 March 1876, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

The North-West Territories. [MARCH 7, 1876.] 461


On the motion of the Hon. Mr. Mackenzie, the House went into Committee, Mr. Mills in the chair, on the Act respecting the North-West Territories.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE stated that in order to meet the views of his hon. friend opposite, he proposed to introduce a preamable as follows:—Whereas it is expedient, pending the settlement of the North-West Territories, to create a separate territory of the eastern portion of the North-West Territories, therefore Her Majesty, &c.
With regard to the proposition made by his hon. friend from British Columbia, that the territory north of British Columbia and the 60th parallel should be provided for in this Bill, he would reply that having examined the map carefully he found that this would not be as remote from the seat of Government of British Columbia, as from the seat of Government of the North-West Territories. They proposed in order to prevent any possible temporary inconvenience, to give British Columbia magistrates current jurisdiction in that part of the territory lying north of the Columbia and west of the Mackenzie River, and the 120th parallel. This country would be placed under the authority of existing laws. He proposed to fill the blank in the 1st section by inserting after the word " district," the title Keewatin, which would be the name of the new territory, signifying the North Land; also to fill up blanks in the 4th section, by inserting the words " not exceeding ten, and not less than five."
Mr. KIRKPATRICK took objection to the 6th clause on the ground that too much power would be given to the Lieutenant Governor in Council—the power of amending or repealing any of the laws passed by the Parliament of Canada. In the 11th section it was declared that certain laws should be applicable to the District—criminal laws for instance, so peculiarly under Federal jurisdiction. The power in question was greater than that conferred upon Local Legislatures. He suggested in consequence that the last part of the 6th clause should be struck out, as a year's delay respecting such legislation could do no harm.
Hon. Mr. BLAKE said there was no no doubt a good deal to be said in favour of what the hon. gentleman remarked, but there had been some experience of this kind of legislation before, and there was no reason to suppose from it that there was anything improper in this clause. No ordinance of the North-West Council would have force unless marked "urgent," and even then it would be subject to disallowance. The proposition was simply to keep the status quo in this territory until it was either annexed to Manitoba or otherwise dealt with so as to be in possession of provincial rights and privileges.
The clause, and the two following, were adopted.
On clause nine,
Mr. MOUSSEAU said this clause seemed to empower the Government of the New Province to repeal clause 11 of the Act of last Session securing separate schools to the North- West Territories. He wished to know if this was the case.
Hon. Mr. BLAKE said the 11th clause of the North-West Territories Act was not yet in force, and would not apply to any of these territories until the Act was proclaimed. It was 462 Law Relating to Violence, Threats and Molestations. [COMMONS.] a clause which could only come into force practically in connection with a system of taxation, no provision for which was made in this portion of the territories so long as it remained under this form of Government. The future of these territories would be either one of two things — they would be annexed to Manitoba, or they would be detached from Keewatin and re- annexed to the North-West. In either case the rights of the minority would be protected. There was no intention on the part of the Government to depart from the general principle of the 11th clause. If the territories were attached to Manitoba they would be subject to the laws of that Province; if to the North-West, they would come under the 11th clause of the Act of last Session.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD — If I understand it, by simply proclaiming the Act of 1875 this 11th clause will come into force.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE—Certainly.
The clause and the following one were adopted.
On clause 11,
Mr. BUNSTER moved to strike out the provision prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors in the territory.
The motion lost and the clause was adopted.
The remaining clauses of the Bill were adopted without discussion.
On the motion to adopt the preamble.
Mr. SCHULTZ said a more euphonious name than Keewatin might have been selection, and he would take occasion to suggest one before the third reading of the Bill.
The preamble was adopted and the Committee rose and reported the Bill as amended.
The amendments having been concurred in the Bill was read the third time and passed.


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



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