House of Commons, 23 February 1870, Canadian Confederation with Manitoba

Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said full information on all points had been sent by the Government to the Hon. John Rose in connection with the Intercolonial Railway, for the purpose of enabling the Imperial Government to make any statement they might desire under the Imperial Act.


Mr. Workman asked whether it was the intention of the Government to adopt the necessary steps to improve the navigation of the Ottawa river, and more particularly to enlarge and deepen the most important part of our land navigation—the Grenville and Carleton Canal.
Hon. Mr. Langevin said the matter was engaging the serious attention of the Government.


Mr. Magill asked whether it was the intention of the Government to introduce a measure during the present session of Parliament, having for its object the enlargement of the St. Lawrence and Welland Canals, so as to afford greater facilities for the trade and commerce of the Dominion, now so rapidly on the increase.
Hon. Mr. Langevin said that some progress had been made in the direction alluded to, and that the Government intended to place such a sum in the Estimates this year, with the view to the accomplishment of this work, and that they expected to see it completed this year.


Mr. Mackenzie said that he had given notice of an address for the production of the Commission of the Hon. W. McDougall as Lieutenant-Governor of Rupert's Land, etc., but he understood that the papers would be immediately brought down. If so, his motion would drop.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said they would be on the table to-morrow, and all the correspondence affecting the public services, of interest, would be included.


Mr. Mackenzie moved an address for despatches or correspondence with the Imperial Government or any of the Provincial Governments on the subject of the new financial arrangements made with Nova Scotia, etc. He said that what remarks he might think it 158 COMMONS DEBATES February 23, 1870 necessary to make he would make after the papers were brought down.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said he had no objection to producing the papers he had, but with regard to the resolutions adopted by the Local Legislature, he had no means of obtaining them.
Mr. Mackenzie said he took it for granted that copies of the Address of the Ontario House presented to His Excellency through the Dominion Government, were in their possession and could be produced.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said he could not speak for that; but all papers that the Government had would be produced.


Mr. Mackenzie moved an address for reports of the Superintendents of roads, etc., from Hudson's Bay to Fort Garry and other documents. He said that various rumours had reached him with regard to the money expended on those roads, and the mode in which it had been expended. The public had been led to believe from reports in the public papers that the expenditure had been anything but creditable, and that the work had not made that progress during the past Session which might reasonably have been expected. He did not attach such importance to these rumours as to believe them to be absolutely correct, but he thought that he had sufficient knowledge of the matter to entitle him to call for those papers, so that they might have an opportunity of knowing whether those rumours were correct or not. He was informed that some portions of the road, though very expensively built, would be, through the incapacity or gross carelessness of the engineer, practically useless when the construction of it was fully completed. The matter was very serious, and he brought it thus early before the House, because the work in question was one in which he wished to co-operate with the Government in endeavouring to push forward in the best possible manner, and at the earliest possible day, the completion of this work. It was not creditable to them that—when the spring opened, and the possible troubles in the North-West might necessitate some action on the part of the Government—they should have to rely for their means of communication or transit on a foreign country; and, believing as he did, that they had in this route the nucleus of the best and the cheapest route to the North-West Territory, he thought that the attention of the 159 Government ought to be called to the expenditure on it. He also wished to ask for information as to whether the Government had taken means to utilise and clear the navigation from Fort Frances to the west end of Lake Superior, 146 miles of clear navigation, and hoped before long to bring before the House the wisdom and necessity of having some better means of communication, and more suitable for the heavy traffic they might expect from that country. He also thought that it was desirable that they should have railroad communication, thus commencing the great work which would only end by connection with the Pacific. He would enter into further explanations when the papers were before the House.
Hon. Mr. Langevin thought that when the papers were before the House they would be found satisfactory. They would be placed on the table as early as possible.


Mr. Mackenzie moved an address for the accounts rendered to the Government, and placed before the Dominion Arbitrators for work and materials on the Parliament buildings, etc. He would also like to know whether that entirely closed the accounts for the building with the original contractors, as he had understood that there was something still further claimed by the contractors. If such was the case he hoped the Government would sustain its officers.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said if the accounts asked for referred only to those which had reference to what had taken place since the Dominion there could be no objection. The return would be very expensive, and he should throw the whole responsibility on the hon. gentleman.
Mr. Mackenzie did not wish in the slightest way to incommode the Government or public service, but if the hon. gentleman wished, he would be very glad to look at the correspondence.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said the hon. member might feel perfectly sure that Government would support its own officers.
Hon. Mr. McDougall said that the evidence and documents were very voluminous. He thought that the hon. member for Lambton desired to know whether there was any such application as he had referred to.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said if the matter was made into a motion he would [...]


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1870. Edited by P.B. Waite. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1979. Original scans accessible at: http://parl.canadiana.ca/.



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

Personnes participantes: