House of Commons, 31 May 1869, Canadian Confederation with Manitoba

[...] the exuberant anxiety which prevailed on the other side of the line to regulate the affairs of all other nations. It was said the British Parliament had discussed the conduct of the Canadian Parliament with reference to the Militia Bill. That was true, and he must say he felt indignant at the tone of remark which was then indulged in. But it should be remembered that the British Parliament had an interest in that question, for if we did not provide for the defence of the country it devolved on them to do so. In conclusion he again argued that this Parliament had no time to waste on a matter foreign to it. They had just acquired the North-West, and had to consider how they were to govern it. They had got the elephant and must find out how to feed him. There were never 181 gentlemen assembled together as a representative body who had more responsible duties to discharge, and the duties which really belonged to them were quite sufficient to engross all their attention.
Mr. Blake, referring to the argument of the President of the Council, that this Parliament had so much on its hands that it could not expend time in discussing a question of this kind, said if they looked to the period of the Session at which they had arrived, and that the Government had as yet brought to the stage of discussion hardly any of their more important measures, the argument was merely an evasion. They were said to be within a fortnight of their prorogation, and the election Bill had not as yet been so much as printed. As regards the North West negotiations, they had been brought before the House at so late a period that Parliament had not yet been asked to deal with the question, which the hon. gentleman had alluded to, of how the North West was to be governed. Certainly the measures of the Government were not so forward as to admit the excuse that Parliament had not time to discuss this question. Then it was asked by the Minister of Justice would England so interfere with us; and the answer had already been given that England did interfere with us, and that not by an address from its Parliament, but by a despatch from a Secretary or Under-Secretary of State, which was held sufficient to reverse the vote of this full Parliament, and to convert a majority of 136 in one session into a minority of 60 the next session. The President of Council said the conduct of the British Parliament, in discussing the proceedings of the Canadian Parliament with reference to the Militia Bill, was excusable, because they had an interest [...]


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1869. Edited by P.B. Waite. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1975. Original scans accessible at: http://parl.canadiana.ca/.



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

Personnes participantes: