House of Commons, 12 April 1870, Canadian Confederation with Manitoba



Tuesday, April 12th, 1870

The Speaker took the chair at the usual hour.


Hon. Mr. Archibald moved that the fee for the Bill intituled: "An Act to amend the Act to incorporate the Merchants' Bank of Halifax", be remitted; in favour of which the Committee had reported.—Carried.


Hon. Sir Francis Hincks introduced a Bill intituled: "An Act to amend the Law respecting the Department of Finance". He stated that the object was to do away with one of the Deputy Heads—Read the first time.


Mr. Mackenzie asked when it was the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill relating to the Bank of Upper Canada. The measure had been promised at an early period of the session.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks said the Bill would be ready in a day or two.
Mr. Mackenzie said he took it for granted the Government were determined to put the Bill through this session.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—Certainly.


Before the orders of the day were called, Mr. Mackenzie asked if it was not high time to have the report of Commissioner Smith laid on the table. Of course the House was aware that individual members had seen many parties from the North-West since the last conversation on the subject in the House; and that various statements were in circulation, some of them, he must say, not very complimentary of the Government Commissioner. But whatever course the Government might ultimately determine to take, he thought it was extremely desirable that this House should be in possession of all the information that their own Commissioner now returned could give them, and that this should not be put off from day to day merely to suit the convenience of a Commissioner who went to visit his family. This was the excuse given by the Government for not 972 COMMONS DEBATES April 12, 1870 laying the information before the House at an earlier day. It was quite evident that there was extreme anxiety, and very great irritability in the public mind at present, and that irritability and anxiety were likely to continue and possibly to increase, and find expression in perhaps a not very legitimate way, unless the House and through the House the country, were informed as fully as possible, of what the Government intended to do, and the steps that had been taken by the Commissioners. Until the report of the Commissioners was laid before the House, he did not intend to say anything that would in any way embarrass the Government, or complicate any further an already complicated state of affairs. But he did intend, as soon as the House was in possession of the papers, to take some steps to bring the whole subject before the House.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said the reason why Mr. Smith's report was not before the House, was that the Government had not yet received it. The mission was a very important one and of a delicate nature, and when Mr. Smith arrived here, he was asked to make his report. He was now busy in the preparation of it. When in Red River Territory he was surrounded by circumstances of very great difficulty, and he was obliged to ask him (Sir John) to hand him back the letters he had himself written, in order that he could prepare a correct report. He (Mr. Smith) was unable to keep with safety, as he thought, such papers about him while in the Territory. He was now preparing his Report, and he (Sir John) expected to receive it every hour, and as soon as it was received it would be submitted to the House.
The matter was then dropped.


Mr. Masson said they were led to believe when they came here that the session would be over by Easter. It looked now as if the House would be here till June, and he thought that they should adjourn to-morrow till Tuesday. Saturday they required to prepare for Easter duties.
Mr. Mackenzie objected to the proposal. They ought not to adjourn except for Friday, and sit on Saturday, otherwise there would be great delay.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said they were in the hands of the House. As far as the Ministry were personally concerned, they had no object in adjourning, their homes being here. There seemed to him to be a majority against the proposal to adjourn.


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: