House of Commons, 4 May 1870, Canadian Confederation with Manitoba



Wednesday, May 4, 1870

The Speaker took the chair at three o'clock.


Mr. Beaty (Toronto) presented a petition against a duty on coal from the City Council, Toronto, (hear and laughter), as being unjust and oppressive.


Mr. Mackenzie said with permission of the House he would make a motion. Two days ago he had asked that before the discussion on the Bill for the organization of the Government of the North-West Territory should be brought down, the House should be put in possession of correspondence and documents connected with the difficulty, especially that correspondence which had been had with the Imperial Government, and he desired to make a motion with that view at the present time. He hoped the Government and the House would not object to the motion, as it was of the very utmost importance that in a matter of such grave consequence to the country they should proceed with the utmost possible deliberation and caution, so that nothing which they might do or say, or any Act they might pass, should have the effect of conflicting in any way with the Imperial authorities, under whom they were supposed to govern that Continent. And in the organization of the Provinces out of that North-West Territory, of which they expected to have a number, it was especially desirable that before the first step should be taken, all negotiations and communications should be laid before the House. He could not divest himself of the impression that the Government had failed in their duty in not laying that correspondence before the House at an earlier period, including all documents which were manifestly necessary for the consideration of the subject. He had not made his motion for the purpose of opening up any discussion, but for the sole object he had mentioned. He then moved that copies of all correspondence with the Imperial Government relative to Red River Territory, by telegraph or otherwise, since the prorogation of Parliament in 1869, or with any other parties in Canada or the Territory, may be laid before the House.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald did not object to the motion. Most, if not all the correspond 1342 COMMONS DEBATES May 4, 1870 ence not injurious to the public interest was already down. There had been subsequent correspondence, all of which not injurious to the public interest would be produced, but this was not to have any effect in deferring the consideration of the Bill, nor would it lead to the inference that there had been unnecessary delay. There were a great many of these documents, some marked confidential, and others affecting life and property; these could not be brought down.
Hon. Mr. Holton asked when the Government would bring them down.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald—That is a matter of time.
Mr. Mackenzie hoped the hon. gentleman would not consider the despatches objectionable merely because they were awkward to particular Ministers.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald dissented.
After some conversation, the motion was carried.


In reply to Hon. Mr. Wood,
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said they had brought down all the correspondence respecting the North-West that it was intended to submit to the House.
1354 COMMONS DEBATES May 4, 1870
[...] be well to press the matter. There was, no doubt, great inconvenience resulting from the present system of Currency, and he would like to see it assimilated, but at present he considered such a step inexpedient. He therefore moved that the order be discharged.
The resolutions were discharged accordingly.


Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald moved that the House go into Committee tomorrow, on the message and accompanying resolutions respecting the Government of Manitoba.


A Bill intituled: "An Act to vest in Her Majesty, for purposes therein mentioned, the property and powers now vested in the Trustees of the Bank of Upper Canada"—(Hon. Sir Francis Hincks)—was read a third time and passed.


Hon. Sir Francis Hincks moved the reception of the report of the Committee on certain resolutions providing for the superannuation of persons employed in the Civil Service, and as officers of the Legislature.
The first two resolutions were read without discussion.
On the third resolution,
Mr. Joly moved an amendment with a view of deduction 2 per cent instead of, as in the resolutions, 4 per cent, from the salaries of employees.
The amendment was put to a vote and lost. Yeas 49; nays 80; and the resolution was carried.
Yeas—Messrs. Béchard, Benoit, Blanchet, Bourassa, Brousseau, Carmichael, Cayley, Chamberlin, Cheval, Currier, Daoust, Forbes, Fortier, Grant, Gray, Hagar, Holmes, Holton, Huot, Hurdon, Joly, Kempt, Kierzkowski, Lacerte, Langlois, Le Vesconte, Macdonald (Glengarry), McDonald (Lunenburg), MacFarlane, Magill, McCarthy, McDougall (Renfrew), McMonies, Morrison (Niagara), Oliver, Pelletier, Pouliot, Pozer, Ross (Champlain), Ross (Victoria, N.S.), Ross (Wellington, C.R.), Rymal, Savary, Stirton, Thompson (Ontario), Tremblay, Whitehead, Workman, and Wright (Ottawa County).—49.
Nays—Messrs. Archibald, Ault, Beaubien, Bellerose, Bodwell, Bowell, Bowman, Bown, Brown, Burpee, Burton, Caldwell, Cameron (Huron), Campbell, Carling, Caron, Cartier (Sir George-É), Chauveau, Connell, Costigan, Coupal, Dobbie, Drew, Dufresne, Dunkin, Fortin, Gaucher, Gaudet, Geoffrion, Gendron, Gibbs, Heath, Hincks (Sir F.), Howe, Hutchison, Jones (Leeds and Grenville), Keeler, Langevin, Lawson, Macdonald (Sir John A.), McDonald (Middlesex West), Mackenzie, Masson (Soulanges), Masson (Terrebonne), McCallum, McConkey, McDougall (Lanark), McDougall (Trois-Rivières), McKeagney, McMillan, Merritt, Mills, Morison (Victoria North), Morris, Munroe, O'Connor, Pinsonneault, Read, Redford, Renaud, Robitaille, Ross (Dundas), Ross (Prince Edward), Ryan (King's, N.B.), Ryan (Montreal West), Scatcherd, Scriver, Shanly, Snider, Stephenson, Thompson (Haldimand), Tilley, Tupper, Wallace, Walsh, Wells, White, Willson, Wright (York, Ontario, W.R.), and Young—80.
The remaining resolutions were carried without discussion.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks introduced his Bill founded on the resolutions, which were read a first time.


A Bill intituled: "An Act respecting Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes", was read a third time and passed.


Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald moved the second reading of the Bill intituled: "An Act to amend and continue the Act 32 and 33 Victoria, chapter 3; and to establish and provide for the Government of the Province of Manitoba."
Mr. Mackenzie said it was evident that if the hon. Minister of Justice proceeded with the second reading of the Bill there would be a debate on it. He had not read the Bill yet himself, and he ventured to say that not half a dozen members in the House had read it. They were, therefore, unprepared to discuss it that night. He confessed frankly that he was not ready to enter into a debate on the subject till he had read the Bill.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said he was about to preface his remarks by saying that as the Bill had not been more than an hour in the hands of the members he did not wish to press a discussion. He merely desired to bring it up for the purpose of stating very shortly in what respects the measure now in the hands of the 1356 COMMONS DEBATES May 4, 1870 members differed from the one produced at the first reading. The first change in the Bill, he would now say, was the boundary proposed for the new Province. It would be remembered that the boundary from east to west commenced at 96 degrees and extended to 98 degrees 15 minutes. They desired to change the boundary, allowing it to run to the meridian, 99 degrees west. At the same time power would be held to increase the boundaries of the Province towards the west. The reason why the Government introducted the Bill with the former limitations, and leaving especially the settlement of Portage la Prairie, concerning which a good deal of remark had been made, was, that the Government had reason to believe that the people of Portage la Prairie were averse to being connected with the people of Red River. It was known to all that two years ago they were in pacific but still open resistance to authorities at Fort Garry. Two years ago they established a Republic known as the Republic of Manitoba, not the Province of Manitoba. They preferred a separation so as to govern themselves rather than to be connected with the government then existing at Fort Garry. In addition to that they were informed that the people at Portage la Prairie would prefer remaining out of the New Province to coming into it. The Government had made considerable enquiries since that time and had been told that it would be for the interests of those people to come into the Province of Manitoba. Now that it was proposed to organize a regular Government in the Settlement, the Government understood that although originally it was the desire of those people to stand alone, they preferred now to come into the Province. Under the altered circumstances, and owing to the representations of the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, the Government had altered the original Bill so as to include Portage la Prairie in the new Province. At the same time Mr. Fletcher was fair enough to state that individually he would prefer to have the Settlement remain outside it. Under these circumstances, and more especially as it was not only insinuated, but asserted that the fact of the western line of Manitoba being placed there, it had been done for the purpose of making Manitoba a kind of French- Canadian reserve, the Government altered that portion of the Bill, which fixed the western boundary at 98 degrees, 15 minutes, with the power of extending westward hereafter, in the meantime extending the boundary to 99 degrees, which would bring in Portage la Prairie and all the settlements, in fact, which existed in that direction.
Hon. Mr. Dorion—Does that include the settlers on River Blanche, and the two or three settlements beyond that?
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald—Yes; all the settlements, including Portage la Prairie and the White Mud River Settlement. He ought to say that the fixing of the line as it had been at first, did not originate with the Franco- Canadians; it did not come from priestly influence; it did not come to them by any way which had been insinuated—but came from information which they had received, and they acted accordingly. He had great pleasure in stating the fact. The eastern boundary would remain the same as in the former Bill, at 96 degrees. He would make a few remarks on this point, and the House would at once see the reason why they did not invite discussion on it. The line was fixed at 96 degrees, because a large body of the Sioux Indians, who were friendly of the Canadian Government, but opposed to the Red River authorities, dwelt to the east of that line and to hand them over to the new Province would not tend to promote friendly feelings towards the Canadian Government, or give a peaceful passage to the troops through their country. If those Indians were handed over without any treaty being made with them, or without consulting their rights or wishes, they might cut off, or seriously interfere with, communication between the head of Lake Superior and Fort Garry. For that reason they fixed the eastern boundary at the 96th meridian. That was the only change made, even with respect to boundary. The consequences of the increase of the population in the new Province necessitated a change in the amount of the debt with which the new Province should come into the Dominion, and this would be increased by the number of the population added since the Bill had been introduced. The original proposition was that the number of inhabitants should be estimated at 15,000. It was now based on a supposed population of 17,000. The amount of debt at which they would be allowed to come into the Dominion was calculated on that population of 15,000, and so with regard to the subsidy, they commence with a subsidy of 80c per head on the population of 17,000, which would be held to be the population of the Province until the decennial census of 1881. The Government believed 17,000 was a very liberal estimate of the population.
1358 COMMONS DEBATES May 4, 1870
Mr. Mackenzie—Hear, hear.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald—The population will not be affected in any way by the census to be taken next year. Then on the same principle as they had added 1,000 to the number of inhabitants of the proposed Province, a proportion of whom were half-breeds, they proposed to add 200,000 acres more, increasing the area from 1,200,000 acres to 1,400,000 to provide for the families of half- breeds living in the country. Now a good deal of discussion took place on the measure, in which it was evident some apprehension had arisen with respect to the pecuniary arrangements and with respect to the disposal of lands. Those apprehensions were very natural, inasmuch as the Bill was not in the hands of hon. gentlemen, and they could only gather the intentions of the Government from the statements he had made at the time he had introduced the Bill. In order that the House might at once see the arrangements that had been made with respect to land, he would read the clauses relating to it, calling the attention of the House to them. He would say, however, that those clauses must be introduced by resolution, and would not be considered as portions of the Bill until adopted in Committee. The 22nd clause implied that the Province should be entitled to come in and receive interest at the rate of five per cent per annum on the sum of $472,000 being at the same rate as was allowed Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. The 23rd clause provided that the sum of $30,000 should be paid yearly for the support of the Government, and be increased every decennial census till the population should reach 400,000 souls. The 25th clause provided that the Customs duties now in force in Rupert's Land should be continued for three years after the passage of this Act. The rate was 4 per cent ad valorem on all imports with the exception of spirits and coal, on which there was a duty amounting almost to prohibition. The Government had decided on this in consequence of the remoteness of the Settlement from the great markets of supply, goods being supplied by way of York Factory or through the United States, via St. Paul's, and then when the goods reached the consumers they cost ruinous prices. They would not have the advantage of improved intercourse with Canada for at least three years, and it was deemed expedient that they should not commence with the Government of that country by providing that the price of the necessaries of life should be increased as a very first consequence of their becoming a portion of the Dominion. Therefore the House would agree that it was a wise provision that the duty which existed in Canada should not be prema 1359 turely imposed upon the people of the new Province. Under the charter of the Hudson's Bay Company all the lands whatever that might be contained in the country covered by that charter were vested in fee simple in the Company. Under the arrangements by which the country was transferred to the Dominion, those lands and all the rights of the Hudson's Bay Co. in those lands would become part of the Dominion of Canada. For the reasons which he gave when he first introduced the measure, it had not been thought well that the same principle should be adopted in the new Territory as had been adopted in the other Provinces, of handing over all the lands to the Local Legislature. They were in the present case retained by the Dominion. The 26th clause provided that all ungranted or waste lands in the Province shall be free, and, after the date of the said transfer, vested in the Crown and administered by the Government of Canada for purposes of the Dominion, subject to and except so far as the same may be affected by the conditions and stipulations contained in the agreement for the surrender of Rupert's Land by the Hudson's Bay Company to Her Majesty. Those clauses referred to the land for the half-breeds, and go toward extinguishing the Indian title. If those half—breeds were not pure-blooded Indians, they were their descendants. There were very few full-blooded Indians now remaining, and there would not be any pecuniary difficulty in meeting their claims. Those half-breeds had a strong claim to the lands, in consequence of their extraction, as well as from being settlers. The Government therefore proposed for the purpose of settling those claims, this reserve of 1,400,000 acres. The clause provided that the lands should be regulated under Orders in Council by the Governor General, acting through the Lieutenant Governor, who should select such lots or tracts in such parts of the Province as he might deem expedient to the extent aforesaid, and divide the same among the children of half-breeds— heads of families. No land would be reserved for the benefit of white speculators, the land being only given for the actual purpose of settlement. The conditions had to be made in that Parliament who would show that care and anxiety for the interest of those tribes which would prevent that liberal and just appropriation from being abused. The next clause provided for quieting the titles and assuring the settlers in the Province the peaceable possession of the lands now held by them. The sections were—lst. All grants of land in freehold made by the Hudson's Bay Company prior to the transfer to Canada, shall, if required by the owner, be confirmed by grant from the Crown. 2nd. All grants of estates less than freehold in land made by the Hudson's Bay Company prior 1360 COMMONS DEBATES May 4, 1870 to the transfer to Canada shall, if required by the owner, be converted into an estate in freehold by grant from the Crown. 3rd. All titles by occupancy with the sanction and under license and authority of the Hudson's Bay Company prior to the transfer to Canada of land in that part of the Province in which Indian Titles have been extinguished, shall, if required by the owner, be converted into an estate in freehold by grant from the Crown. 4th. All persons in peaceable possession of tracts of land at the time of the said transfer in those parts of the Province in which the Indian title has not been extinguished, shall have the right of preemption of the same on such terms and conditions as may be determined on by the Governor in Council. 5th. The Lieutenant Governor is hereby authorized under regulations to be made from time to time, by the Governor General in Council, to make all such provisions for ascertaining and adjusting on fair and equitable terms the rights of common and rights of cutting hay, held and enjoyed by settlers in the Province, and for the commutation of the same by grants of land from the Crown. It had been said that this section was illogical because the question of the title of the Hudson's Bay Company was disputed. The people wished to have the matter set at rest, and it was therefore proposed to allow their grants to be confirmed by the Crown if they desired it. The second section was proposed under the view that it was advisable to grant this privilege, always under the condition that there should be actual settlement. A question had been put under the next section as to whether it gave large tracts of land to existing large corporations. He and his colleagues had made enquiries and found that there were not such large grants nor large corporations existing there. The policy of the Hudson's Bay Company had been to grant a lot of 100 acres for churches and buildings to all denominations. The Seminary of St. Boniface had no right or claim to the grant of 5 square miles alluded to, but the first bishop had, it was said, received a grant from Lord Selkirk, but that the claim had never been made. But the clause referred only to the title held by occupancy with the sanction and under the license and authority of the Hudson's Bay Company. This question of a grant to the seminary was not touched by the clause, and if a claim was brought forward, it would have to be decided in a Court of Law. Bishop Taché had never said anything about it, and no attempt had ever been made to force an advantage from the Government for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church, (hear). With regard to the fourth class, they were merely squatters; but they ought to be protected and have the right of preemption of the same on such terms and conditions as might be determined by the Governor General in Council.
Hon. Mr. Wood asked who was to examine the titles.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said the experience of the Province of Canada would point out how that was to be done. There would be the same system and process as had prevailed in those Provinces.
Hon. Mr. Wood said they must come to a Court to decide that question.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said that would be the Council of the Governor General. It was clear that he must have an officer under his control, the Lieutenant Governor, who would be acting under him. It would be under the direction of the Government of Canada. The 5th section affected the white settlers, principally as to the rights of common and of cutting hay. This had been enjoyed by the settlers; and although when the country was more settled, it was clear that those rights would disappear, it would be a great injustice and inconvenience to take away the right at present. It was a very difficult question to decide; and the clause, he thought, was the only clear way of solving the difficulty. Of course there would be many cases which could only be decided by an official present at the spot. The 29th clause was a point of debate. It would be hard to require settlers to come to Ottawa to obtain grants of land; and the clause was to enable a remedy to be found for this difficulty. He wished to bring the Bill thus simply before the House —and would move its second reading.
Mr. Mackenzie did not intend to discuss the Bill, and understood that the hon. gentleman's intention in introducing the Bill was merely to indicate his reasons for changing its provisions from those as originally introduced. He was glad that the hon. gentlemen had been compelled by the expression of the House to change the western boundary of the Province so as to embrace the settlements that he had previously deliberately excluded. What his motives were for that exclusion he (Mr. Mackenzie) could not say, but circumstantial evidence showed strongly that they were exclud 1362 COMMONS DEBATES May 4, 1870 ed for the reasons which had been given by him. The boundary had so far been changed in the right direction; but it was not yet at all that in his opinion it ought to be in the interest of the people of the Province. The Bill was not satisfactory with regard to its provisions as to Lands, Local Government, etc., which were yet to be discussed. If those who proposed to discuss the Bill would refer to the treaty concluded in London, they would find the titles presented by the Hudson's Bay Company to be maintained were only to be those granted up to the 8th March, 1869, but the Bill now proposed to affirm them up to the passing of this Act, (hear). He could only say that he objected entirely to allowing the Hudson's Bay Company the right to convey lands from the time stated in the treaty, and he felt confident that the House would not recognize titles granted after that date.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald—I have been informed by the best authority, the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, that they have not granted a single title since the time stipulated, (hear).
Mr. Mackenzie said if that were so it was better to have it in the Bill, and he should make an amendment to that effect. The hon. gentleman could not object to inserting the date already agreed upon in his Bill. Some other provisions also conflicted with the terms of Union agreed upon in the Confederation Act, and these of course must be modified. He should attempt to modify it in those clauses in which the agreements in the Act were applicable to all provinces. The provisions of the Bill as brought down concerning land grants, and confirmation of titles, were also objectionable in another particular. The hon. gentleman had said that he had examined into them, and that there was no kind of claim which could possibly have been conferred on any ecclesiastical body, except the so-called grant of Lord Selkirk, which the Hudson's Bay Company had repudiated. He said they could not invalidate that claim, but he (Mr. Mackenzie) thought it was within their power. He should go more fully into the question tomorrow. He had expected that the Government would have brought down some information with respect to these matters; but although the House were told that all the information in possession of the Government would be laid before the House, yet it was not done. With regard to Father Thibault's report, they were told that some portions of it were suppressed because it would have been injurious to the public inter 1363 est to have published it. Now, he happened to have seen some of the members of the House reading the suppressed portion of the delegates' reports. The Government had it in type, and it was apparently distributed to favorites in the House.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald—No, no.
Mr. Mackenzie—I could read it to you, for some friend sent it to me, (hear, hear, and cries of "read"). It stated that the hon. member for Lanark and his friends were to be banished from the Territory, (hear, hear). If that sentence of banishment was to be pronounced by delegates of the Government against any of their people, the House and country ought to know it, (hear, hear). He had protested last night against that kind of legislating in secret, and he could not admire the spirit of any Legislature that would submit to it, (cheers). To ask the House at that late period of the session to proceed with so important a measure without any information would not lead them to a sound conclusion on such important matters as the Land Tenure in that country. It was asking too much. The terms of the treaty of Lord Selkirk and the Hudson's Bay Company might be found out and considered by one or two members, from works to be found in the Library, but the great bulk of the members would not be able to obtain information unless Government aided them. He objected to that treatment because it showed a desire to get this Bill, which contained so many objectionable clauses, through without discussion. The debate yesterday succeeded in obtaining several important emendations to the Bill, and he hoped that the same energy directed to other clauses would greatly amend the general character of the Bill, (hear, hear). He did not at the present time intend to discuss its general provisions.
Hon. Sir George-E. Cartier deprecated the discussion, of the Bill then. The Government had no objection to the discussion, but the hon. gentleman ought not to say that he was not ready to discuss it and yet do so. The Premier had stated when introducing the Bill with regard to Portage la Prairie that it having been said that people there did not wish to be admitted it would not be done; but that provision was made by the Bill for its entrance when they desired it. Since then the Government had heard opinions expressed which justified them in saying positively that the Settlement wished to be included, and they therefore made the proposition. With regard to Father Thibault's report, the Government had not committed the 1364 COMMON DEBATES May 4, 1870 foul and low proceedings ascribed to them by the hon. member for Lambton. They were able to do without any such acts. No part of Father Thibault's report had been suppressed. If the hon. member had any suggestion to improve the measure the Government would receive and consider them and as this taunt that the Government was slow in its action, he retorted upon the hon. member by the assertion that he (Sir George-E. Cartier) was willing to give the hon. member time to prepare a scheme if he wished to do so, (laughter). The preparation of the Bill had been a difficult task.
Hon. Mr. McDougall entirely disagreed with the doctrine of the Minister of Justice, which he had propounded several times, that the information which was withheld from the House, but which was shown to their own friends, that it was stolen property. The Minister of Militia attempted to get out of difficulty by using appropriate epithets, but he thought the real question was—did such information exist, and had the hon. gentleman sufficient cause to withhold it from the country. The Minister of Militia had said that nothing had been suppressed from the report, but he (Hon. Mr. McDougall) had the ipsissima verba of the letter, which was printed at the office of the Government. Did the hon. gentleman mean to say that the following was not written by the Government's Commissioner . . .
St. Boniface, 20th March, 1870.
The Hon. Mr. Howe:
Sir—I am happy to be able to inform you that the delegates are to leave tomorrow in the hope of effecting a satisfactory arrangement with the Canadian Government. To accomplish this result we have been obliged to use much caution. I must confess that when we arrived here I had very slight hopes of success, as every one then spoke of annexation to the United States. The report of our proceedings is sent separately. We have not tried to hurry through our business, and it is to this, mainly, that our success is due. As for Mr. McDougall, neither he nor any of his party will ever be received into the Territory. The Territory is now quiet.
( Hon. Mr. McDougall—Yes, order reigns at Warsaw. Recollect this was after the murder of Scott. No reference is made to that.)
And I believe that if Mr. Black were appointed Governor all would be well, for that gentleman enjoys the esteem of the entire population, French and English. I entertain, sir, a confident hope that the Canadian Government 1365 will deal kindly with our poor people, who, I can assure you, are not ill-disposed.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your very humble servant,
The various statements of the letter were read amid considerable excitement.
Hon. Mr. McDougall continued—that was the view taken by the Rev. Commissioner, and whether it was a correct view or not, it did not seem to him to be a genuine document, (hear, hear). It sounded very much as if it came from the Government. It ought to have been sent with the other. At all events it was now before the House and the country.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—How is it before the House?
Hon. Mr. McDougall said he had read it pretty clearly, and although it was not in a formal manner before the House, it would answer all the purposes he intended at all events, (hear, hear). It was before the House and country in about the same manner in which a private circular to the Reform party of the hon. gentleman was. (Loud laughter.)
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—Exactly.
Hon. Mr. McDougall—The hon. gentleman had denied that there was such a circular, and that no one had a right to discuss it.
Mr. Mackenzie—We paid for printing it afterwards, (laughter).
Hon. Mr. McDougall—And we have paid for this too, I expect, (hear). With regard to the Bill, he sincerely dissented from many of its provisions. Several important changes had taken place in the Bill; and although the hon. gentleman represented the changes as being small, the lands were previously left under the control of the Local Government, but now they were taken charge of by the Government here; and an important amendment had been made in regard to the boundary. He would like to see it extended to the boundaries of Lord Selkirk's Grant. The hon. gentleman opposite had taunted them with not being able to prepare a Bill; but he contended that the Opposition would be able to draft Bills as well written and as little liable to be amended next Session of Parliament as were produced from the other side, (hear). The Bill was stated to have been drawn up hastily in two or three days; but it was now some three or four weeks since the delegates had arrived in town. It appeared that owing to some remarks from the Opposition side, the 1366 COMMONS DEBATES May 4, 1870 Government had consulted other parties, and the result of that consultation had been the modification of the Bill, and some further modification might be still obtained.
Hon. Col. Gray moved the adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said the member for North Lanark ought not to have read the letter when informed that it was strictly confidential. The letter was not a portion of the report of the Rev. Mr. Thibault to the Government, but was merely a letter to the Secretary of State, and was printed confidentially for the convenience of the Cabinet. Some copies were stolen, and the receivers of these copies were receivers of stolen goods.
Mr. Mills asked if the Government intended to ask the Imperial confirmation of the power of this Bill, or whether it would be a tentative one, which might be withdrawn?
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said there was some doubt in this respect about the appointment of Senators; with regard to other portions of the Bill, the course to be adopted will depend a great deal on the way in which the Bill passed in Parliament.
Hon. Mr. Wood thought with the exception of Senators the provisions of the Bill would be embraced under an Imperial Order in Council.
Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald said the question would be open for a further consideration.
The debate was then adjourned.


The House then went into Committee of Supply.
Hon. Col. Gray in the chair.
On item of $2,480 to pay various members of Civil Service increases which would have accrued under the old Civil Service Act for the years 1867 and 1868,
Hon. Mr. Holton said it would be advisable that the hon. gentleman should make a supplementary financial statement showing the rationale of those estimates, and the surplus or deficit of the year as affected by them.


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



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