House of Commons, 18 June 1869, Canadian Confederation with Manitoba

[...] and Misdemeanors in the Province of Ontario. The honourable gentleman said that he understood the members from the Province of Quebec desired to have the provisions of this Bill extended to them, and for his part he had, of course, no objection, but would like to see the provisions of the measure extended to all the Provinces.
Hon. Mr. Abbott moved that the amendments to the Bill be not now concurred in, but that it be referred back to the Committee of the Whole to provide that the measure be extended to the Province of Quebec. Carried.
The House then went into Committee on the Bill—Mr. Harrison in the chair.
The Committee rose and reported the Bill, which was subsequently read a third time and passed as amended.


Hon. Mr. Rose then said he was here to move the House into Committee again on the vote respecting the salaries of the Warden and other officers of the Penitentiary at Kingston. The Government felt that they owed a respectful acquiescence to the feelings expressed by the House last night that the salaries of these officers should be reduced, and he therefore proposed to go into Committee of the Whole with a View of reducing the amount for the service by $1,325, which was the aggregate amount of the increase.


Hon. Mr. Holton asked if the hon. gentleman proposed to consider the Supplementary Estimates to-night.
Hon. Mr. Rose —Yes.
Hon. Mr. Holton said he was glad to hear the announcement made by the Finance Minister a little while ago that he would ask the House to acquiesce in the reduction. He had been about to ask not what action the Government intended to take in consequence of this defeat (hear and laughter,) but what action they proposed taking in respect to this item of salaries. (Hear.) With regard to the Supplementary Estimates which had just been placed in the hands of members they were, he observed, in two sets, the first having reference to the services for the current year which would expire in about twelve days.
870 COMMONS DEBATES June 18, 1869
He would call attention to the fact that for the services of the current year votes aggregating $250,000 additional were to be asked for, while the Supplementary Estimates for next year amounted to $5,465,675. It was fair, however, to reduce this by the amount which the House had already to pay for acquiring the possessionary rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, $1,460,000. This would reduce the amount we had to vote for next year to about $4,000,000, a large amount of money even to us, who were accustomed to dealing with large figures under our new economy. There was one rather startling amount, that of $1,460,000 for opening up communication with the North-West Territory, establishing its Government, and providing for its settlement. Before considering this appropriation the House ought to be placed in a position to consider the whole question of opening up communication with and governing the Territory. He did not say that the amount asked was excessive; but he maintained that the House ought not to be called on to vote so large a sum until the Government declared what policy was to be pursued in regard to these Territories; whether it was to be a bold and comprehensive policy, looking to the early settlement of the country, or whether we were in this respect to die as it were of depletion; whether we were to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in this question annually with no policy, and as usually happened in such cases, without accomplishing any definite result, or whether we were to pursue such a settled wise policy as must advance our interest in that quarter.
Hon. Mr. Rose said he would offer a few explanations in regard to the first set of supplementary estimates, those which were additional for the current year, amounting in the aggregate to $380,000. It was but right the House should understand that this was not an additional sum over and above that which had been stated before as the expenditure for the year. They were brought in as supplementary estimates made in accordance with the rule laid down by the Government of submitting every shilling of expenditure to the approbation of the House. A large portion of those estimates had already been laid before the House in the shape of unprovided items, with the particulars of which the House was already in possession; and we now bring them down in this shape in order to comply technically with the rule 871 requiring a formal vote of the House for every expenditure. The first item in the Estimates for the current year, which was new, was $3,000 for the Administration of Justice. It was asked lest the Department might find itself short before the 30th of June next. The next item, $20,000 additional for the maintenance of the Penitentiary at Kingston, was a new vote, occasioned by a variety of circumstances already explained. The next two items, for the Rockwood Asylum and the New Brunswick Penitentiary, were included in the expenditure already laid before the House. Some of the items connected with the maintenance of the St. John Penitentiary were chargeable against New Brunswick, and the amount expended for the maintenance of the local prisoners was properly chargeable against the Administration of Justice; but the Dominion required to advance money to meet these amounts, and the Government considered that even though these sums were to be charged to New Brunswick, that still a specific vote should be asked for their expenditure from the Dominion. The next item was $3,590. In the detailed estimates that amount had been omitted altogether, partly in consequence of the representations of the member for Lunenburg. Last year we reduced the expenditure, but we had not been able to dispense altogether with some of the officers. The next item, for Emigration and Quarantine, was occasioned by additional efiorts made in Europe to induce emigration, a gentleman having been specially sent there, and other steps having been taken. The four items under the next head, Public Works, have been included in the returns already before the House in the nine months' expenditure. The $98,000 for the Intercolonial Railway was already in hand. The items for the repair of the steamer Druid was as now, and also that following for Lighthouse and Coast service. Under the head Civil Government, there was $3,700 to provide for the salaries of certain Deputy- heads and the Secretary of the Treasury Board, part of whose salaries had hitherto been charged to separate services, and in lieu of such separate payments the House was aware that the salaries of Messrs. Trudeau, Griffin, Bouchette and Langton had been made up in separate ways, partly out of Customs, Excise and Stamps; partly out of inspection of railways and partly out of the Civil Service Board, in addition to their normal salaries. The sum now mentioned was in full of all their services. The next item, Collection of Revenue from Public Works, was at the disposal of the Commissioner in 1868, but was paid in the course of the current year.
872 COMMONS DEBATES June 18, 1869
The next item, $15,000 for the Post Office, was occasioned by the contract entered into for the Halifax service, not included in the vote of last year, and was also owing to the plan adopted with reference to the Great Western Railroad since arranging for the payment of their debt. The next four items were the balance of the appropriation of 1867- 68. Last year, the House would remember, there was considerable doubt as to whether the whole of the sum voted would be needed for the year. The rigid rule required that all money voted for a certain year should lapse on the expiry of that year, and that it should not be available for service next year. It was found impossible to give the charge for the payment of services rendered previous to June 30th last, and therefore these services had to be provided for in the meantime. It was done by Order in Council. In the same sense this was an infringement of the rule; but it was an unavoidable infringement of the Audit Act. This vote was merely to get the approbation of the House to the appropriation of a year ago being carried forward a few days beyond the year for which it was voted to summarise. He might mention that the new votes amounted to $250,000, but there had been already paid $167,000, leaving the new vote in reality $83,000.
Hon. Mr. Holton—Do I understand that the aggregate amount of the expenditure for the year, as asserted in the Budget speech, is only exceeded by $83,000?
Hon. Mr. Rose found it was not even so much, only $68,000.
Hon. Mr. Holton—Which amount is just about the surplus.
Hon. Mr. Rose—No; we have $250,000. And here he would with pleasure take the opportunity of informing the House that the increase from the customs for May was $300,000 in excess of the previous year, and 10 per cent in excess of what he had estimated.
Hon. Mr. Wood—In what portion of the Dominion did the excess chiefly arise?
Hon. Mr. Rose said he could not give the exact proportion. His impression was that whereas the falling off last year was greater in Nova Scotia, the proportionate increase this year was also greater. The great bulk of the increase was, no doubt, at Montreal, Toronto and Halifax. Coming to the supplementary estimates for June, 1870, amounting to over $5,000,000, the honourable gentleman would notice that half of the amount was for 873 the Intercolonial expenditure. Of the balance, $2,800,000 was for the Northwest Territory. He quite agreed with the honourable member for Chateauguay, that the Government ought, at as early a day as possible, to endeavour to define their policy as to that Territory and the communication therewith. His impression was that it ought to be done in a large and comprehensive way; but there must first be exploration. We must know all about the country beyond the Laurentian range, north of Nipissing, in order to ascertain whether our communication would be in the direction or from the head of Lake Superior. Every hon. member admitted the propriety of borrowing money to pay off the Hudson's Bay Company, to organize that Government there, and to obtain communication with it. But the Government had no power to borrow the money until the matter had been agreed to in Committee of the Whole, and hence they asked for it in that way.
Hon. Mr. Smith asked explanations about the vote of $5,200, two years' salary as a gratuity to the retiring Warden of Kingston Penitentiary. If this gentleman had been an officer of the Province of Canada, why should not his retiring allowance be charged to that Province.
Hon. Mr. Rose said the retiring Warden had rendered 25 or 30 years' faithful service, and had now retired in consequence of old age and infirmity. No one would say that he did not merit some allowance, and it was given in this form because there was no provision for pensions for retiring public officers.
Mr. Mackenzie, in reply to Hon. Mr. Smith's remark, said that already the complication of accounts between the several Provinces was bad enough, but it would be worse if payments like this were charged to the Province in which the officer had rendered service. He thought it better it should be charged to the Dominion, representing the Province on which the chief burden of such payments would probably fall.


The House then went into Committee of Supply, Mr. Street in the chair.
Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald said this was not the place for discussing his action in the Ontario Legislature.
The item was agreed to.
On the item, Maintenance of the Nova Scotia Railway—additional $30,000—in reply to Mr. Mackenzie,
Hon. Mr. McDougall said it was not the case that the road had been worked more successfully before Confederation than since. In 1866 the actual deficit was $33,835. In the year ending 30th June 1868 the expenses were $255,530, and the revenue $253,994, making a deficit of $1,506. The estimate for the current year, based on the result of 10 months, gave an expenditure of $270,000, and a revenue of about the same amount. As regarded the European and North American Railway of New Brunswick, in 1866 the gross receipts were $148,330, and the repairs and working expenses, $96,570. In 1868 the revenue was $166,758, and working expenses $131,684. For the first 9 months of the present year the revenue was $136,664, and the expenses $90,212.
The item was agreed to, as were also the remaining items in the supplementary estimates for 1868-9.
On the item in the Supplementary Estimates for the year ending 30th June, 1870, for opening communication with the North- West Territory, etc., $1,460,000.
Mr. Mackenzie asked what measures were to be taken to open up means of access to Red River. He thought it necessary to have immediately a road that would be passable in some way or another. His impression was that it should be proceeded with this season, so as to enable people to reach Red River early next season—through our own territory.
Hon. Mr. McDougall said, already there were working parties on part of the route- that from Lake Superior to the navigable waters—and 5 or 6 miles had been constructed. Immediately after the action of the House as to the actual transfer of the North-West Territory, Mr. Snow's party had been sent out to complete the road from Lake of the Woods to Fort Garry. The Audit Act standing in the way, he had himself advanced a little of his credit with the Bank of Montreal, in anticipation of the vote of this House. As to the water communication, that was a matter the 876 COMMONS DEBATES June 18, 1869 Government had not yet undertaken to deal with. He had seen notices in the newspapers that parties were prepared, with reasonable encouragement, to put on the navigable reaches of navigation, boats of proper construction. The first thing was to get the road, and then the water communication could be taken advantage of. The works immediately contemplated involved an expenditure of $270,000, the whole of which would, probably, not be expended within the year.
Hon. Mr. Holton claimed that the House was entitled to full information as to how it was proposed to employ the $1,460,000 now asked.
Hon. Mr. Rose said it was impossible, before the country was actually acquired, to give all the details of this expenditure.
Hon. Mr. Holton-Then why ask this $1,460,000?
Hon. Mr. Rose replied that a large expenditure would be necessary. We had to provide means of access to the Territory, must make surveys, and must take energetic means to get people into the Territory. In order to do this a loan was necessary, and the round sum of ÂŁ300,000 sterling had been fixed upon. All the Government now asked was a vote of credit for that amount, and the details of their scheme would be submitted to Parliament next session.
Hon. Mr. Holton admitted that the money required for opening the North-West should be borrowed rather than raised by taxation; but was it necessary to borrow it now? Had not the Finance Minister stated yesterday that he had $9,000,000 which he had the greatest possible difficulty in investing? Why then should he borrow in addition to this large amount, when he would have to expend during the next year some $200,000. He contended that before the House was asked to vote this million and a half, the Government should submit some settled policy.
Hon. Mr. Rose pointed out that if he were to take the money referred to by the member for Chateauguay and apply it to paying the Hudson's Bay Company or opening up the North West, it would be, according to that hon. gentleman's doctrine, a breach of trust.


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



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