House of Commons, 3 July 1894, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

[JULY 3, 1894] 5166


Bill (No. 149) further to amend the Acts respecting the North-west Territories was read the second time, and House resolved itself into committee.
(In the Committee.)
On section 5,
Mr. CHARLTON. Is it proposed to allow sheriffs' fees in addition to a salary of $500 ?
Mr. DALY. Yes. The only change in the law is to give the Legislative Assembly power to legislate with respect to the remuneration, by fees or otherwise, of sheriffs and clerks. As the law now stands, they have not that power.
On section 6,
Mr. CHARLTON. What is the effect of this ?
Mr. DALY. This repeals sections 60 and 61 of the Act. Section 60 provides that each clerk shall be paid such fees as the Lieutenant-Governor in Council prescribes, and section 61 provides that any sheriff or clerk may, with the approval of the Lieutenant 5167 [COMMONS] 5168 Governor, appoint a deputy. In 1891 these sections were amended, but we are repealing them now, as there is no further necessity for them.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). You now allow the sheriff to arrange that by contract with his deputy ?
Mr. DALY. Yes. The Act of 1891 provides :
Each sheriff and clerk shall appoint a deputy or deputies at such places within the district and with such powers as are from time to time determined by an ordinance of the Legislative Assembly.
In case of a vacancy happening in the office of sheriff or clerk by reason or death, incapacity or otherwise, his deputy may perform his duties until a successor is appointed ; and where there is no such deputy the judge usuallyexercising jurisdiction within the judicial district may appoint a person to fill the vacancy in the meantime.
The Legislative Assembly may, subject to the provisions of this Act, define by ordinance the powers, duties and obligations of sheriffs and clerks, and their respective duties.
Mr. FRASER. Was that law repealed by a subsequent law now being repealed ?
Mr. DALY. The clause now being repealed was amended in the way I have read, and that should have been repealed in toto at the time.
Mr. FRASER. The effect will be that that will be the law ?
Mr. DALY. The law will be as provided by the statutes of 1891.
Mr. FRASER. Which were not repealed by the other Act ?
Mr. DALY. No.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). Would it not be more consonant with the general principles of government if the Lieutenant-Governor, on the advice of his Council, had the power of making the temporary appointment instead of the judge ?
Mr. DALY. This seems to satisfy the views of the people there.
On section 7,
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). It seems to me that restriction of three years' residence in the Territories is unnecessary. If a man is a British subject and has the other qualifications, there ought to be no restrictions as to period of residence.
Mr. DALY. This is framed exactly in accord with the desire of the North-west Government. Apparently the consensus of opinion there with reference to the appointment of police magistrates, is that they should have the qualifications given here. Any person after three years' residence would have a better idea of the administration of criminal and municipal laws in the Territories than one who had just arrived.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). The duties of magistrates relate mostly to the administration of laws of Canada and not simply to those of the Territories, and in every part of Canada the magistrates will possess that knowledge.
On section 10,
Mr. DALY. At the time of the passing of that North-west Territories Act the prohibitory liquor law was in force, and there was no recourse in the case of a debt due for intoxicating liquor. Since then a license law has been passed, and this is to permit the authorizing of wholesale dealers and others to recover debts due for the sale of liquor, which they cannot do now.
Mr. DALY. Section 5 in the Act of 1888 related to proceedings at elecrions, and subsection 4 to the payment of members. We are providing that they may provide for their compensation themselves, and also have the right to enact laws respecting proceedings at elections.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). The hon. gentleman is still deferring the day when responsible government will be introduced into the Territories. When you confer upon them the power of electing a Legislature, I do not see why the principle of responsible government, to the extent of their authority, however little that may he, should not be introduced. 'By section 17 the Legislative Assembly may from time to time appoint a committee of four persons from among its members to advise the Lieutenant-Governor in relation to the expenditure of territorial funds and of any moneys appropriated by Parliament for the Territories. To what extent is the Lieutenant-Governor bound by the advice of these four persons ? Is he at liberty to disregard it ? There is no reservation, no indication of any responsibility resting upon the parties. I do not see any ground of responsibility here or any theory or principle upon which the work of government is to proceed. I have looked over some of the expenditure of the Territories, and it seemed to me they were very extraordinary ; but there has been no opportunity of bringing them under the attention of Parliament. I think we ought to adopt some intelligible rule or principle and establish real responsibility.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON Does not this enactment really cover the whole ground when we read it in connection with the other enactment in force ? We have authority to send instructions to the Lieutenant- Governor : so have the Executive in the mother country power to send instructions when a Governor General is sent here. So far the provisions are parallel. Then there is an enactment that the committee shall advise the Government on all matters of expenditure. These are the matters in relation to which this Parliament deals with the Territories. Parliament passes the appro 5169 [JULY 3, 1894] 5170 priation necessary to carry on government in the Territories. It then enacts that the Governor shall be advised by the Executive Committee as to these expenditures. There is no enactment that the Governor shall take their advice, nor is there any enactment that the Governor General shall take ours. But the constitution proceeds on the assumption that when it is the will of Parliament that the Government is to be advised. it is the will of Parliament that he shall follow the advice. As to the other matters governed by ordinances. such as appointments. it is enacted that they shall be made and other things done by the Governor in Council. which is defined by the interpretation ordinance to mean the Lieutenant-Governor and the Executive Committee.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). The hon. gentleman knows that under our constitutional system the law distinguishes—or. at all events, the conventions of the constitution distinguish—between the royal will and the personal will of the sovereign. But I do not see any provision by which that rule or principle would be applied in this case. Under our constitutional system the Governor chooses his officers. The royal will is that they shall be chosen from the party having the majority in power. I apprehend that here the majority would make the choice. You do not leave the Governor any discretion at all as to who his advisers shall be. You put the whole discretion in the Legislature, which. it seems to me. is not the most convenient or most satisfactory system. because there may be personal and active canvass amongst members of the Legislature as to the appointments. which could not exist if the will of the Lieutenant- Governor or his discretion were allowed some play. But, if their will or advice is not followed. under a constimtional system, they would tender their resignation. What would be the effect here ? The Legislature is chosen by the people, not by the Governor. and the Legislature might insist that they should continue to be his advisers. I do not see. myself. how this system could be practically worked out. If it has not produced friction. it must be be— cause there has been either a great deal or indifference or a great deal of forbearance.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON. I do not think that any friction has been caused. This is the system they have been working under. It a difference of opinion occurred between the Governor and his advisers, the Legislature might insist that .he should have the same set of advisers. and in that case we would give them greater latitude.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell); You do not give them the power of dissolution.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON. No; the power of dissolution remains here. But they would apply to the Federal authorities to ask the Lieutenant-Governor to act on their advice.
Under our present system. and especially under the system as it would be under this Bill, the expenditures are practically under the control of the Legislature. It only me tends so far as the Legislature may please to give them the discretion in matters of expenditure. In all other matters, as I said. their ordinances provide practically that he shall take their advice, because he has to act upon the advice of the Executive Committee.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). It seems to me that what we ought to do with regard to the public moneys expended in the Territories under the supervision of the Territorial Government is to give them a lump sum and let them decide how these moneys shall be distributed and for what purposes they shall be employed. I am quite sure that any member of the House who will take the trouble to look over the appropriation for schools will see that it is out of all proportion to similar expenditures in any other province in the Dominion. There cannot be the same interest in the use of the money that there would be if a larger sum were appropriated by direct taxation or in some other way by the people themselves. As long as we say for what purpose the money shall be employed. we are practically keeping the Legislature in leading strings and preventing responsible government from developing.
Mr. DALY. It seems to me the feeling on the part of the present Council, as well as of the Legislature, is that the present system is preferable. that they do not want responsible government So far as the lump sum appropriation is concerned, they practically have it now, because in the Supply Bill it was enacted that no vote for the fiscal year 1893-94 should lapse, consequently they can expend whatever is left of any vote this year without any other authority than the Supply Bill. I may say for the information of the hon. gentleman that this clause is adopted word for word from Ordinance No. 1 of 1892. Subsection 2 must not be overlooked. It provides :
The said committee shall be styled " The Executive Committee of the Territories," and the members thereof shall severally hold otiice until their successors are appointed.
That is to get over the difficulty that will probably occur this year. The House there will be called together in August and then an election will be held, as the Legislature Will expire by the eifiuxion of time. This prondes for the Executive Committee being in power in the meantime until the Legislature is elected and the successors of the present Cotmcil are appointed.
On section 21, .
Mr. CHARLTON. What is the reason of that?
5171 [COMMONS] 5172
Mr. DALY. This transfers from the Dominion Lands Act the clause that existed there since 1893. The clause reads:
The Lieutenant-Governor and Assembly of the Northwest Territories may, with the consent of the Governor in Council, close up any road.
And so on. Action has always been taken by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council ; but in order to comply with the provisions of the Act of 1892, it would be necessary to await, the action of the Assembly before any road could be closed up, and this new clause overcomes that difficulty. It was a mistake at the time it was passed. but it was overlooked. All the Orders in Council so far have been passed with the consent and advice of the Lieutenant-Governor and his Council, and it is to overcome that difficulty that subclause 2 provides, that they are declared to have been and to be valid.
Bill reported.


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



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