House of Commons, 7 May 1870, Canadian Confederation with Manitoba

1414 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870


Hon. Sir George-È. Cartier in the absence of Sir John A. Macdonald, moved that the House should go into Committee on 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, before the Speaker left the chair, he would like to make a few remarks. For the manner in which some hon. gentlemen had treated the subject it would seem to be with them, as with the hon. member for St. John, mere matter of indifference as to the kind of work to be performed in that somewhat remote dependency. He looked upon it in a very different light. He looked upon it as an undertaking of vast political importance to the future of the country. He looked upon it as a question essential to the continuance of their existence as a British Independent power on the continent. He considered that without that Territory it would be impossible to maintain their present political relations, and a change in political relations, which that House and the county would be adverse to, would be the inevitable consequence of any departure from the policy long held by Canada of acquiring that Territory for the Dominion. He was aware that that was not the opinion of some of the hon. gentlemen who were now charged with the administration of affairs. He was aware that some of those gentlemen denounced the acquisition of that country, and the colonization of that vast territory, as an outrage to other portions of the Dominion. There were not wanting in the administration of the day, gentlemen who treated the whole question with ridicule when first brought up in the House. In the discussion of this subject he entreated and desired every hon. member of the House to treat it in a truly national spirit. He had been gratified in looking over the reports of the former discussion on that important question to find that it has been approached in that spirit. In the report of the Hon. Mr. Cauchon's Commissioner on Crown Lands in a former Government (1857), he found remarks so exceedingly apposite that he could not refrain giving the House the benefit of them. Hon. Mr. Cauchon said: "It would be very desirable therefore, and quite practicable if the British Government would consent to annex the Indian Territories, extending to the Pacific and Vancouver's Island, to Canada to establish during summer a monthly communication across the continent. It is of incalculable importance that these measures should be most forcibly pressed upon the Imperial Government at the present juncture; for on this solution depends the question of whether this 1415 country shall ultimately become a petty State or one of the Powers of the earth; and not only that, but whether or not there shall be a counterpoise favourable to British interests, and modelled upon British institutions, to counteract the preponderancy, influence, if not the absolute dominion, to which our great neighbour, the United States, must otherwise attain upon this Continent." That embodies in a few words his (Mr. Mackenzie's) opinion with reference to his anxiety for obtaining and colonizing immediately that great country; and believing that could only be obtained by the united efforts of all parties in this House and country, he had sought to discuss the measure in such a spirit as would not compromise any individual, however strongly sectional interests or personal prejudices might be felt to influence opinions. In a recent debate, the hon. Minister of Justice, on the subject of the murder of Thomas Scott in the North-West, had asserted that they had no jurisdiction. Now, he (Mr. Mackenzie) had since examined authorities on the subject and found they had always had, at least since the passage of the Imperial Act conferring a concurrent jurisdiction with the Hudson's Bay Company in the North—West in such matters. A former Government, in which the Minister of Militia was a prominent member, had asserted the possession of that jurisdiction. The report already quoted contained the following passage:—"The time has passed when any consideration of expense or temporary inconvenience even if proved to exist, can be allowed to stand in the way of opening up those territories, when indeed the necessity for expansion compels the Provincial Government to create further facilities; for it is an additional reason why the Government should no longer permit the present state of things to continue. It must be added, the rumours have been gaining ground of late years, with a force and clearness which almost compel conviction, that the jurisdiction actually exercised in those remote territories, has been contrary to the wishes of the people, as it has been manifestly, without the sanction of law." That clearly showed that they had the power to bring offenders to justice for crimes committed in that Territory. He spoke of the great value of the Territory to the Dominion, as containing the very best trans-continental railroad route to the Pacific. There were in that Territory valuable lands with rich deposits of minerals, such as coal and iron, which were essential to the progress of the country, a rich soil and an inexhaustible supply of good water, all essential to the permanent settlement and the maintenance of a great Pacific railroad, and which were wholly wanting on the United States Pacific route, where 1,000 miles of arid desert intervened between the Atlantic and 1416 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 Pacific available lands. Looking not merely at the political and social aspects, but at the physical aspects, it afforded the greatest inducements to them to take possession of the country, and to direct the stream of immigration now going to the Western States to that country. (Hear, hear.) They had then to look at the position of the people. The late Parliament of Canada showed a desire to meet their wishes, but the political struggles before Confederation, made it apparently impossible to take notice of the petition presented at the conferences of Quebec and London. The question was, however, taken up, but it was not pushed with that vigour which so many of them thought requisite. After the measure granting the Territory steps had to be taken for the settlement of the country. Last session an Act was introduced, but the greatest error in it was, that provision was not made for representative institutions. He did not think that the people of the country would be so chagrined at that measure as to cause insurrection, although it was undoubtedly calculated to give dissatisfaction. The measure should have been explained before the Lieutenant Governor was sent there. The Secretary of State was sent on some mission for what purpose he (Mr. Mackenzie), could not understand, though one would naturally suppose his commission was to explain the Act to the people, except it was, as he said, to go and see the country with which he was to hold communication as Secretary for the Provinces. He (Mr. Mackenzie) thought that such a representative should not have been one who had openly ridiculed the intention of acquiring the Territory as being a stupid policy. He thought at the time that the appointment wasa very great mistake, and as the inhabitants of Red River were a reading people, they could not have failed to have seen that he had designated the Territory as merely the elongation of an India-rubber boot that he had seen on some performer on the stage. If that was the kind of a forerunner, what would the inhabitants think of the coming Government. The Secretary of State acted in such a way that he was openly accused of having encouraged rebellion by Mr. Kennedy. He had no doubt that Mr. Kennedy had uttered that statement, though he had afterwards written that he had held no such conversation. Since then he had written a letter showing his sympathy with the rebellion, which he (Mr. Mackenzie) had in his hand. It was a very remarkable piece of corroborative evidence as to what had been said about the Secretary of State. The Secretary had also engaged an apostate Canadian as a correspondent at St. Paul, who edited a rabid Anti-Canadian newspaper. Such an act was a gross violation of duty, and showed that there had been something in the 1417 charges brought against the hon. gentleman. He also had communication with Mr. Sanford, who was known to be an American by birth, and an annexationist. It was very remarkable that the hon. gentleman should on all occasions choose such persons for his intimates in that extraordinary journey which he undertook, and which had proved so disastrous to the country, and had in fact made the present expedition a necessity, and had involved the country in endless trouble and almost everlasting disgrace, (hear). It was not his (Mr. Mackenzie's) duty to defend the hon. member for North Lanark. That hon. gentleman's conduct to his own political friends during the last six years had been such as not to command any sympathy on his part; but, for all that he was willing to recognize his authority as Governor in the Territory, but, as a matter of course, reserving to himself as well, with regard to that matter, as to the political conduct of the hon. gentleman, the free right of criticism in all his public acts. (Hear.) He would not say that the hon. gentleman went up under the impression that there was no disturbance; but he had no doubt the Secretary of State might have told him there was disturbance in the Territory—that he actually expected it. But the Secretary of State had chosen to attack the hon. member, and said that he wrote a mean, sneaking, cowardly, and infamous letter to Riel. He (Mr. Mackenzie) had read that letter, and certainly could not see anything in it that was cowardly or sneaking, and certainly nothing that was infamous. (Hear.) He rather thought the hon. gentleman must have been thinking of some of his own proclivities when he attached that description to the letter. (Cheers.) [Mr. Mackenzie here read the letter.] Mr. Mackenzie continued. He could see nothing in the letter but which was certainly proper under the circumstances. He had called meetings in his County as was customary with him before the session, and stated there that Mr. McDougall ought to have endeavoured to have obtained a meeting with those insurgents in order to set himself and Canada in a right position before them, and he was glad to find in the North-West papers proof that the hon. gentleman had endeavoured to do so. (Hear, hear.)
Hon. Mr. McDougall—I remained eight days after writing that letter, hoping to receive some response to it. (Hear, hear.)
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Mr. Mackenzie said there was no doubt that the hon. member was unauthorized to issue the proclamation; but on the Other hand, it was tolerably clear from his despatches that he had no reasonable doubt of the Territory being transferred on the day appointed, and the act was quite reasonable, considering the difficult circumstances in which he was placed. It was significant that the people among whom he was then situated, and even the rebels in the Territory knew more of the events that were transpiring than he did, and the fact that the transfer had not taken place, than Hon. Mr. McDougall himself, which might be accepted as the natural result of the extraordinary conduct of persons holding official positions at Ottawa. (Hear.) He should not say who they were; but every one knew that there were parties who were openly plotting against the new Governor of the country. With regard to the proceedings of Col. Dennis leading to difficulty, they found, from the papers sent down, that he consulted the principal men of the Territory, including among others, Father Ritchot, and proceeded with their consent, or at least without any remonstrances on their part. Under those circumstances he was of opinion that the insurrection against the authority of the Government was wholly unjustifiable; that it could have been prevented, and should have been prevented by the Secretary of State if he had done his duty. He thought that honourable gentleman's duty was that as difficulties were being created, as trouble was ahead, he ought not to have left the Territory until his colleague had arrived. He knew that there was an opposition being organized against the entrance of Governor McDougall, and he must have known if he made enquiries, and if he did not make enquiry he was equally guilty; for he should have done so till the cause of discontent was settled; and it was his duty to have seen every inhabitant of the country, to call public meetings and to take every means to assure the majority of the people that the Government of Canada had no such intentions as those ascribed and from which originated the insurrection. But they did not find that the hon. gentleman paid any visit to certain portions of the Territory, and only returned home in order to escape the result for which his untimely remarks were wholly responsible for. With regard to the insurrection itself there was no doubt but that it arose partly from chagrin of the Hudson's Bay Company officials, who sought to instil discontent into the minds of those whom they employed or with whom they associated. It was evident that the seeds of discontent were sown and that the Secretary of State when he went there watered the growing plant and the result was that they had the present scheme of compromise submitted 1419 instead of a scheme of Government. (Cheers.) In considering this measure they were bound to consider whether it was a measure calculated to advance their interests in that great Territory, and promote the happiness of the people. With regard to what had taken place after the disturbance, he found the Government had sent up as Commissioners, Father Thibault and Col. De Salaberry. It was clear that Father Thibault, although a very amiable gentleman, was, altogether unsuited for the commission on which he was sent; while as for his comrade, he knew nothing of him, except as an associate in some remarkable circumstances which were more creditable to his egotism than his political capacity, (hear, hear). Vicar-General Thibault visited the section, except that in insurrection, and never endeavoured to ascertain the feelings of the people generally, and the whole mission was a complete farce. Riel was always spoken of in their reports as "President" Riel, who cordially received them and whispered a message in Col. De Salaberry's ear. The inevitable consequence of these acts was not to elevate the Government of Canada in the estimation of any one. The next Commissioner, Mr. Smith, had always been associated with the Hudson's Bay Company. He visited the loyal settlements, but only to induce them to give their allegiance to the wretched renegade, who had insulted the Government of Canada, in order to save Mr. Boulton. He admired the bravery of the unfortunate man Scott. (Cheers.) He admired the British pluck and spirit of Scott, who would not save his life by taking the oath of allegiance to Riel, but spurning it paid for his loyalty by his life, (Cheers.) He also condemned the conduct of Mr. Smith at the Convention, where there were two to one loyalists, in not replying to their demands that before proceedings commenced the prisoners should be released, and he persuaded them to let them alone because all things would be settled in a regular way in a few days. After referring to the appointment of Ritchot, Scott and Black as delegates, he said the Government had received them in that character in defiance of the opinion of the country. He did not object to their being heard, but no more attention should be given to them than the interests of justice required. With regard to Dr. Schultz the Secretary of State had called him a disreputable person; but Dr. Schultz was a native Canadian, whom he (Mr. Mackenzie) had known for a long number of years, and who had always been above reproach, both in his moral character and as a loyal British subject, who had rendered great service to Canada there. That gentleman, who was loyal enough to hoist a flag with "Canada" on it was designated by the Secretary of State as a disreputable person. No greater insult had 1420 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 ever been offered to a loyal man than had been offered by the hon. gentleman in the interests of his associates and the rebels. (Hear.) With respect to the Bill, he did not wish to discuss it from a party point of view. He believed it to be of great importance as constituting the initial measure for the Government of the great North-West country, and he hoped the hon. gentleman opposite would give every attention to the amendments that might be offered. For his part he should afford all the assistance in his power so as to give satisfaction to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects. (Hear.) He did not, however, consider it advisable to establish a permanent Government in the Territory at present, and would prefer to see a Governor of the Territory for a year or two who would be able to ascertain the desires and wishes of the inhabitants of the Territory as to the form of Government to be introduced. The House could then endeavour to meet their views; but in the present Bill they imposed upon the people a Government which they might not want. They had no reason to believe that it met with their consent, for there were others to be consulted besides Messrs. Ritchot, Scott and Black, and it would be far better that they should pass a Bill organizing a temporary Government, with a Council of members to be elected from regular electoral divisions, and that they should in the meantime govern the country, and should indicate to Parliament what form of Government they desired. (Hear.) There was one provision in the Bill which he thought very disastrous. The Province, as now proposed, included an area of a little over 13,000 square miles, of which 500 were water, and a great portion of pasture land, which was not fit for settlement, so that by taking one-half, they had 6,500 square miles left—taking the land held by the population, or that claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company, there would be left altogether 2,500,000 acres for settlement, and of that the Bill proposed to set apart 1,400,000 acres, leaving a million for settlers who were to go into the country. He was entirely opposed to the land policy of the Bill. His impression was that they had committed a great mistake in the land policy of the old Provinces, and he did trust that, in securing that new country, they would have been able to lay out the whole land for settlement and pour in it a tide of settlers who would open up the whole country. If that policy was adopted, there would be no need of a reservation at all, (cheers), though it was a question whether in the lands further west they should not put some reservation on the coal and iron mines. The agreement as to the confirmation of titles was that titles granted up to the 4th of March, 1869, should be confirmed, but why they should now, by the Bill, substitute for that date four 1421 teen months later was to his mind incomprehensible and unjustifiable. (Hear.) He found in the deeds of the Hudson's Bay Company the clause that parties holding under such deeds were to contribute in due proportion to the expenses of all public establishments, whether of ecclesiastical, civil, military or other nature, including therein the maintenance of the clergy. He was not prepared to confirm titles there which would impose on the people the duty of the maintenance of the clergy. (Hear.) Canada had deliberately adopted a non-State Church policy, and the proper course would be to supersede those titles by the ordinary Crown Land titles.
Hon. Mr. Morris said the titles of the Hudson's Bay Company were principally leases for 999 years, and the Bill proposed to convert them into freeholds.
Hon. Sir A. T. Galt—The object of the Government is the same as that of the hon. gentleman, I suppose.
Hon. Mr. Morris—Yes.
Mr. Mackenzie expressed his dissatisfaction at the wording of the clause with regard to political institutions. He thought the Bill was defective in that it provided that no one could vote at the coming election who had not been a resident in the Territory one year. A large number of Canadians had been ejected or obliged to leave the Territory, and in all likelihood in addition to the return of those persons, a large number would go to the territory, and he could see no reason why every person resident in the Territory at the time of the election, being a British subject, should not have a vote. (Hear.) That was so manifestly just, that he hoped the Government would yield on the point. (Hear.) With regard to the qualification, he would prefer that it should be residental suffrage and not household suffrage, as many young men would reside there, and he also objected to the first Parliament sitting four years. If it did the consequence would be that a small majority would have the power over all newcomers who might be in a majority, and representatives to that Parliament could only be elected for two years, while Local House would sit four. He objected to the small extent of territory included in the new Territory, and trusted the boundaries would be changed. The 1422 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 clauses referring to education, were of too general a character, and he would prefer leaving them to be decided by the people of the Territory. He proposed to discuss the details of them more fully in committee, and trusted the Government would give the utmost facility in making such amendments as the House might feel led to believe would most minister to the happiness, peace and prosperity of that country. (Cheers.)
Mr. Harrison agreed that the Bill should be discussed in a national spirit from a no-party point of view. He was of opinion that the Government should take steps to obtain possession of the Territory. He referred to petitions presented in 1849 by the people of that Territory for the establishment of a Municipal Council, and in 1853 another for the formation of a railroad and settling the Territory. The meeting on that occasion was presided over by Mr. James Ross, who was now a Chief Justice. The outrage or murder now perpetrated was a disgrace to humanity, and instead of building up the Government would be the means of shattering it into pieces. They found that the Lieutenant Governor was instructed to take the leading men of the Territory into his Council, and that Mr. Provencher communicated that intention. It was after that, that the insurrection broke out. The great difficulty was the ignorance of the people, and he ascribed the difficulty in part to the articles published in the leading newspapers in Ontario. The Roman Catholic priests and Fenians were also parties acting in that direction. Unfortunately at that time the Hudson Bay Company, the Government of the Territory, was incapacitated from governing the Territory; there was one bright spot in the difficulty and that was the firm loyalty of the Indians, who would repel anything like a Fenian invasion, and he did not consider the appointment of the Hon. Mr. McDougall as Governor objectionable, although the Globe had ascribed the difficulty chiefly to him. That gentleman was now in Opposition, and for his part he (Mr. Harrison) could not support the assertions of the Globe. With regard to the letter to Riel he thought that the hon. member for North Lanark had done quite right in sending it and would have failed if that attempt at negotiation had not been made. He objected to the criticisms of Mr. Mackenzie, and the use of the word "President" by Father Thibault, and the rash actions of Mr. McDougall. The appointment and commission of Col. Dennis was condemned, and also the issue of the proclamation. Had the hon. 1423 gentleman, to escape the odium of his blunders, thrown the whole blame on the Secretary of State, and if there had been treason committed by the Secretary of State, it ought to be proved and punished; but it had not been proved, whereas he (the Secretary of State) had proved the blundering of the Lieutenant Governor with regard to the payment of money. He (Mr. Harrison) thought the difficulties did not arise therefrom, and if the payment had been effected, the hon. gentlemen opposite would have condemned them even louder than they did now for the non-payment. The effect of nonpayment, he thought, was good. If that money had been paid, the Hudson's Bay Company would not have any interest in putting down the rebellion. He was glad to hear that the Dominion Government had not undertaken the suppression of that rebellion alone. The British Government, he believed, should have undertaken the whole duty of putting it down with British troops. A large number of people there had a prejudice against Canadians, and he considered it injudicious sending volunteers to the Territory; and he confessed he had misgivings on the subject. He spoke as if he was a resident in the Territory himself. People there would hardly look upon Canadian volunteers as forming a part of the British army. He hoped however, his doubts would be unfounded. With respect to Father Thibault's mission he considered it better to send a man of peace than a man who would carry dissensions among the people. Objections had been taken to the establishment of a second Chamber. To that he replied that it was a rule in the Canadian Government that should be followed. There were many reasons why a second Chamber was necessary there. With respect to the number of representatives there had been a point of law raised. It was asserted that under the British North America Act there could be but one representative for every 17,000 inhabitants, but that special representation had only been fixed for the Provinces already in the Union, and did not extent to the North-West. It therefore seemed to him that Parliament could fix the number of representatives at pleasure. They had given the new Province two representatives to the Senate and four to the Commons. In the first Bill of Rights the rebels asked merely for full representation, and in the second Bill of Rights for one representative to the Senate. He would like to hear the Government explain why a larger representation had been given. He did not approve of the halfbreed reserves and he would like to see following the measure a treaty with the Indian tribes of the Territory, by which their loyalty to British authority would be guaranteed. He thought it indiscreet on the part of the Government to send surveyors into the Territory, though not 1424 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 unnatural, considering the anxiety manifested by the country at large for its early settlement. As to the mounted police, it might be a question whether they would be acceptable to the people or not. They certainly would not under the command of the man whose name had been mentioned as commander of the forces. A much better appointment would be that of Colonel Denison, of Toronto, (hear, hear), who would not fail to be acceptable to the people and prove himself a most efficient officer.
Hon. Mr. Cameron would like to suggest that important amendments should not be made to the Bill till the motion for concurrence. They could be discussed infinitely better while the Speaker was in the chair.
Mr. Mackenzie had no objection to the adoption of his hon. friend's suggestion.
The House then rose for recess.
After recess,
Mr. Mills resumed the debate. He said there could be no doubt the present was the most important measure yet submitted to that Parliament. Many months ago the hon. member for Lanark was appointed Lieutenant Governor of the North-West Territory, the purchase money of which it was agreed should be paid before the arrival of the hon. member in the North- West. There had been a desire evinced by many hon. gentlemen opposite to throw the whole blame of failure, or to a large extent, on the Lieutenant Governor, and to show that there was no trouble there till Hon. Mr. McDougall arrived on the frontier. So far from that being the case, he (Mr. Mills) could not see how the hon. member could in any way be held responsible for what had occurred except as a member of the present Government. As a member of the Administration he certainly was responsible, but not to so great an extent as other members of the Government. Now he (Mr. Mills) supposed that every loyal man had a right to resist treason; and in case of death occurring through resistance to his acts, it was at most least justifiable homicide. When Hon. 1425 Mr. McDougall, in the exercise of his undoubted right, arrived at the frontier, he had a perfect right to use any means in his power to put down rebellion if it existed there. If the right of the hon. member were not properly protected, who were to blame but the Administration of the day. The House was informed that it would have been an act of folly to pay over the money to the Hudson's Bay Company without obtaining possession of the Territory. If that view was correct, it was even greater folly to attempt to legislate for a country which they did not even own. They were depending now on that purchase money to secure possession of that Territory. Did the Government suppose that if the ÂŁ300,000 had been paid, the Imperial Government would have been less willing to aid in putting down the rebellion at Red River? It was immaterial to the Home authorities whether the Red River Territory was a portion of the British Empire separate from Canada or a portion of the Dominion. It was her interest to preserve the dignity of the British flag there, to perpetuate British institutions. Now, it seemed to him that, under the circumstances, it would have been a wise and honest policy to pay over the purchase money. If the Territory had been purchased by, and handed over to the Dominion, then Canada would have had authority there, and Riel could have none. The people, a majority of whom were friendly to Canada, were undecided how to act. They did not know whether Canada had a right to claim the Territory or not, and that uncertainty was Riel's strength. The House was informed by the hon. member for Quebec the other day that if troops were sent there, it would create a civil war and dissension throughout the whole Dominion, and Confederation itself might be burst asunder. Now, that view was taken on the ground that persons in arms against the British authority at Red River Territory, were of a different nationality and religion from the great mass of the people in the Dominion. He (Mr. Mills) could not believe in raising such a question. It should be looked upon, not as a question of nationality or religion, but one of resistance to Dominion authority; and it was for the House to restore law and order in the Territory. They had failed to comply with the terms of the Act, and it was throught that omission difficulties had arisen in the North- West. He contended that it would have been better to pay over the money and establish a permanent Government in the Territory, and afterwards a Province might be marked out and a regular system of Government established. Assuming that the money would soon be paid over, he believed it would be better to set forth the provisions of the British North America Act in the Bill before the House. He could not approve of that Bill. It was too cum 1426 COMMONS DEBATES May 7,1870 brous for the population of the proposed Province, considering their habits and numbers; like a tailor who measured garments for Apollo of Belvidere, the Bill had been made to suit particular gentlemen, without enquiring whether it suited the condition of the people in the Territory. It was highly desirable that the new Province should be larger on the ground of the expense of the Government. It was almost as expensive to govern a small country as a large one. There was a strong relation too, between the ideas of men who governed a State, and its geographical position. Governments representing large countries were less likely to be troubled by petty local jealousies than small ones. When they had 300,000 square miles in Quebec, and the same extent in Ontario, why should they have only 13,000 square miles in that new Province? In the neighbouring Union some of her Western States were small in extent owing to the broken nature of the ground; but in the Western States from 60,000 to 80,000 square miles were included in one. There was, therefore, no good reason for creating that small Province in the Western prairies. If the proposed Government was to be a temporary one, it would be not so objectionable; but if it was intended to be permanent it would be better to form it after the same model as their own. Then with respect to the representation of the Province, it was unfair to give so many members for so large a population. It was based, no doubt, on the expectation of the rapid increase of the inhabitants, but he contended it would be better to give representation in proportion to the number of the people, increasing the number if it thought proper, every two years, or leaving that to the Local Legislature if it thought proper. He approved of two Chambers for the new Province, on the ground that they were likely to have for some time to come a very incompetent Legislature. He did not approve of the idea of calling Manitoba a Province while it had not the same constitution as a Province. It would have been better to have called it the Territory of Manitoba. It had been objected that the word Territory was unknown in any of the British Colonies, but in this very Bill before the House the Red River country, not included in this Province, was termed Territory. The word had been used in the British Colonial Government before. He objected to the half-breed reserves, as it would interfere with the settlement of the country, and would tend to promote jobbery in connection with public lands.
Hon. Sir A. G. Archibald—The hon. member for Lambton in breaking ground this afternoon, has entered into a great variety of details. He has criticized the conduct of the Government and of individual members of the Government at great length and with great asperity. The observations he has made—the line he has followed—would be proper enough if we were discussing a question of want of confidence, but does not seem to me at all suitable to the subject now before the House. The question we have to deal with is the kind of constitution we are to give to the new Province, the kind of organization under which the people of Manitoba are to enter upon a new phase of national existence. When my hon. friend for Lambton tells this House that a subject of such vast importance to the future welfare of the Dominion, should be approached in a spirit of gravity and decorum, he carries with him the judgement and good sense of the House, but I ask my hon. friend if he thinks the style of address which he has adopted is in conformity with his own views—whether it is the kind of address, which is worthy of his position—his high position—in this House, or which is likely to promote the true interests of this country. Sir, when my hon. friend for Lambton undertakes to speak of my hon. friend the Secretary of State for the Provinces, as a traitor to his country, as a traitor to the Government of which he is a member, when he condescends to make himself the channel by which all the idle tales of a country, which the member for Lanark describes as a country of semi-savages, shall find their way into this House, I ask him whether he is keeping himself within the bounds of decorum, which he has described as suitable for the discussion of this great subject. I will not humiliate my hon. friend, the Secretary of State, by treating the charges brought against him as requiring a defence or a denial. I will not treat them as requiring any other defence or denial than their intrinsic improbability and absurdity. But I will take the liberty of pointing my honourable friend to one source of consolation which he has under the circumstances. My honourable friend the member for Lambton sits alongside of the honourable member for Lanark. They are engaged in a joint assault on my honourable friend the Secretary of State.
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They have so far a common object, but it must have been a source of amusement to my honourable friend, as it certainly was to the House, to see the hon. member for Lambton suddenly pause in the course of his fierce invective and turn to his friend at his side, to let him know what he thought of him and his conduct, to his political party and friends. It was quite clear that the hon. member for Lanark was still unforgiven, and my hon. friend the Secretary of State has the consolation to know that there is nothing which either of these gentlemen can say of him, that they have not, during the last three years over and over again said of each other, and that if the hon. Member for Lambton has on this occasion allied himself with the hon. Member for Lanark, it is because he wants his services as a kind of political Sioux in hunting down and scalping my hon. friend the Secretary of State. The hon. member for Lambton has said the delegates from the Territory ought to be received.
Mr. Mackenzie—I did not say so.
Hon. Sir A. G. Archibald—Then I have mistaken the hon. gentleman, and I supposed him to have said what I think he ought to have said. These men are here by the invitation of the Canadian Government. They were appointed at a meeting of representatives from the various districts, convened at Fort Garry for that purpose. They are here, therefore, as the representatives of the people of that district, or, at all events, the representatives of that portion of the people who have taken part in these troubles. They may have sympathized with the actors in the emeute. Very likely they have— and if they have not they would hardly have been chosen as representatives and would have been of little value if they had been chosen. If they can be of any use, it will be because they have the confidence and may be supposed to understand the views of the people behind them. These people are in armed insurrection. We wish to know what the difficulties are, we invite them to send delegates, and they send them on our invitation. The question is not whether the conduct of these people has been right or wrong. We want to know what it is they complain of, and they send these men to tell us. They are, therefore, so far representatives, and any insults hurled against them are insults to the people who sent them here. I ask my honourable friend for Lambton, if he thinks any good is to come of his undertaking to proclaim on the floor of this House that one of these men is a drunkard and a loafer—and that another, in reckless disregard of his sacred character, has been complicated with rebellion, and violence and outrages of the worst kind. A 1429 man holding the high position of the hon. member for Lambton in this House and in this country has a large amount of responsibility thrown upon him. His words should be weighed and measured. I fear such language is not calculated to promote the settlement of these unhappy troubles. Sir, I do not say that we should not frame our measure agreeably to the views of these or any other delegates. We should get our information from every quarter, and the measure should be the one which recommends itself as best for the interests of the Dominion, and for the prosperity of our common country. My hon. friend from Lambton speaks of the value of the great domain on which we are about to enter in the most glowing terms. He dwells on its importance as the site of the only railway which can find its way to the Pacific, over a fertile country. I entirely agree with him in his judgement. I feel that the value of this great Territory cannot be overestimated, and it is because I feel thus—and because the Province we are now organizing is the key of the whole—that I entertain so strong a desire that we should get possession of this, which assures us of the whole. I consider it sound policy to deal in a liberal spirit with the troubles we have, so as to efface them at once and forever. If this Bill proposed to deal with the whole North—West Territory, we should feel much more difficulty in approaching the subject. If we were called upon to give form and shape to the political institutions which were to regulate a whole continent, we would do well to hesitate. To my mind the smallness of the limits of the Province is no objection. If it be one, it is one capable of an easy remedy. All we require to know is that a larger Territory ought to be included, and at any time the limits can be extended. You may enlarge, but you will find it difficult to contract. But after all, is it so very small? It contains 14,000 square miles. That is not a very large tract, perhaps, in the minds of the people of the great Province of Ontario, but with us by the seaboard, a Province five or six times as large as Prince Edward Island, is no contemptible Territory.
Mr. Mackenzie—It is not so large as Nova Scotia.
Hon. Sir A. G. Archibald—It is not, but it differs from Nova Scotia in this. A large portion of the interior of Nova Scotia is barren, much of it is rocky, a large tract is covered with lakes. If 1/5th of our soil is capable of cultivation, it is as much as we can count on, but in Manitoba there is hardly an acre that is not cultivable. It is capable of sustaining a population of millions from the soil alone, and 1430 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 such a Province cannot be called mean or contemptible. It is true the present population does not exceed fifteen to seventeen thousand, but they will not remain long at that figure. One of the first results which will follow the organization of the country, will be a large influx of Immigration. Quebec will contribute its share, Ontario will do the same, many will come from beyond the water, and in two years we shall find there a population of double the number; and in five years it will amount to a very considerable population. Let them come from where they may; let them be of any origin, or race or creed; let them go in and possess the country, working it under the organization we are now framing, or under any other organization which they may think fit to adopt, all that we have to do is to see them fairly started in the race. And it is because I would like them started fairly that I objected to a feature of the Bill as it originally stood, that I approve of the alteration which extends the boundaries to include all the people. I have no doubt the Government have given a correct account of their view they had in excluding a portion of its people, but whether that account be accepted or not, the Bill in its original shape was liable to much misinterpretation, and the Government have acted wisely in changing it. In dealing with this question we are certainly in a much better position than we were last year. A flood of light has poured in upon us, and yet it is impossible to deny that in many points we are still in the dark. This little community which has grown up in the very heart of the continent is unique. Separated by boundless prairies from intercourse with the people of the South, barred out from Canada by 800 miles of swamp and wilderness, and mountain and lake, separated from the people on the Pacific shores, by the almost impassable chain of the Rocky Mountains, they have had little intercourse with the outer world. And yet they have among them men, who have had the advantages of the best education which Europe can afford—men who in intellectual culture, in manners and in every social qualification are not surpassed in any country. And yet. these men are brought into immediate contact with the most primitive people in the world, with men in the primary stages of society, in the lowest and rudest conditions of civilization. Is it any wonder that a community so secluded from all the rest of the world, uninformed of all that is transpiring around them, should be subject to great, to unreasonable aJarms, when suddenly the barrier is burst, which separates them from the rest of the world, and they see their country about to be entered by strangers? Is it any wonder that their fears should be raised; should be traded upon by Demagogues ambitious of power and place? I do not think it 1431 is. I deplore as much as any man in this House, I can blame with as much severity as any man in this House, the fatal results which have followed, but I can not say I am astonished that under the circumstances in which these men were placed, and with the fears they entertained, just such things should occur as have occurred, and that they should have culminated in the sad event which we all alike deplore and condemn. The circumstances in which these events place us impose on us a stern duty. We must re-establish law and order. We must vindicate the supremacy of the national flag. But the readiest mode of doing so is, at the same time, to show these people that their fears are unfounded, that their rights shall be guaranteed, their property held sacred, and that they shall be secured in all the privileges and advantages which belong to them, as Britons and as freemen. This is why I rejoice that the Government have proposed a most liberal Bill, which gives the people every guarantee they have a right to ask. With this Bill in one hand, and the flag of our country in the other, we can enter, not as conquerors, but as pacificators, and we shall satisfy the people there that we have no selfish object of our own to accomplish, that we go there for their good as well as for our good. Sir, I see provisions in this Bill, which are creditable to the Government. It has hitherto been the pride of Canada, that in her dealings with the Indian tribes, she has evinced a spirit of generosity. That in making treaties she has dealt liberally, and what she has promised solemnly, she has kept faithfully. And at this moment she is reaping the reward of her good faith. If there is any one thing more than another that will assist us in putting an end to these Western troubles, it is the fact that the Indian tribes in every quarter are grateful to their great mother the Queen, for the way in which they have been dealt with, and are loyal to a man. There is also one other thing that very much helps us. In the country at this moment there are no more loyal subjects of the Crown than our fellow citizens of French descent. There are no men more truly British in their feelings, in their attachment to the Sovereign, in their love of British connection than are the French Canadians. And in this respect the half-breeds of French origin in the territory reflect the loyalty which they inherit from both races. They have no sympathy with republican institutions, and if at this moment we have but little to fear from Filibusters and Fenians in the West, it is due to the fact that the men who are frightened, unnecessarily frightened, into an aggressive attitude, have no sympathy with the people and no regard for the institutions of their Southern neighbours. Sir, I think the main features of the Bill which the Government 1432 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 have introduced are conceived in a spirit of fair play to this people, and I shall have great pleasure in giving it my support. And now, Mr. Speaker, there is one matter which I feel bound to allude to before I conclude. It really has nothing to do with this discussion, but it has been introduced into it by gentlemen on both sides. The hon. member for Lambton, the hon. member for Lanark, and the hon. member for West Toronto have referred to a gentleman who is not in this House, who is unable therefore to defend himself, in terms which I think, call upon some one to repel a gross injustice. A British House of Commons will never refuse to listen to the defence of any person, however humble, when unjustly assailed, and it is because Captain Cameron has been unjustly and ungenerously dealt with, that I feel it my duty to trespass for a little while on the indulgence of the House, in endeavouring to do him justice. I have no particular reason to be the champion of Captain Cameron. I have not an intimacy with him of sufficiently close a character to justify me in assuming that function, but I have the honor of some acquaintance with him. I have sufficient acquaintance with him to feel myself justified in saying to this House, that as a man of cultivated intellect and refined taste, as a scholar and a gentleman, he is not second to the very best of his detractors. The principal point which has been made against this gentleman is that he is not a man of gigantic stature. Now, I can understand the Editor of the Globe, whose fine proportions are familiar to many members of this House—I can even understand the member for Lanark— being prejudiced in this way, but I have difficulty in conceiving why the hon. member for Lambton should consider qualification for office to be dependent, either on height or on girth. I have said that Captain Cameron is a gentleman and a scholar. I have to say further that as an officer in the branch of the service to which he belongs, he has had a very extensive and varied experience. He was appointed to the artillery in 1856, and from that time to 1869, in different parts of the world, he has been engaged in continuous service of a kind which demanded the highest order of qualification. I hold in my hand a record of his services. It is long, and I shall not detain the House to read it, but after what has occurred I shall feel it my duty to see that it finds its way to the press. I would merely say in reference to this point and as an illustration of the species of service which Capt. Cameron has seen that, on one occasion he conducted an artillery train from one end of India to the other, from Peshawar in the west to Dinapore in the East, that he did this in the rainy season, crossing the unbridged rivers of the Punjab, and performing the whole march which occupied three months, without 1433 the aid of any European except a sergeant and the officer in charge of the cavalry escort. This is not a service that implies the absence of high qualities. The men under whom Captain Cameron served were able to appreciate his qualities. Their opinions might fairly outweigh those of a Pembina postmaster, even if the postmaster did pronounce on the subject. At all events I shall take the liberty to read to the House what General Tytler says of Captain Cameron in a despatch to the Military Secretary of the Commander-in-chief dated in 1867.
"Capt. Cameron, R. A., served as Adjutant to the Artillery attached to the Left Brigade Dooar Field Force throughout the Bhutan campaign. He was also attached to the Armstrong 6th Pr. Batt., which he even commanded for a limited period.
"Capt. Cameron's services in the field, where he frequently commanded those Artillery forces engaged, were most meritorious—nor were his efforts for the advancement of the public service confined to his own branch. On two occasions, at least, he rendered important services in the intelligence department.
"Out of the field he ably and zealously seconded the efforts of his commanding officer, Capt. Wilson, in the conversion of the 6th Pr. Armstrong Battery into a mountain one, capable of being worked with efficiency in the very rugged and precipitous mountains of Bhutan.
"I venture strongly to recommend Capt. Cameron to the favorable notice of His Royal Highness. He has, in my humble opinion, well earned a step in army rank."
Perhaps the House will indulge me while I read the certificate of another general officer, Brigadier General Dunsford, dated the 6th June, same year.
"Captain Donald Cameron served under my command in the Dooars campaign, 1864, and gave numerous proofs of energy, zeal and courage. Though not engaged with the column under my immediate command, he was highly 1434 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 reported on by Colonel Watson and Major Huxshaw, under whom he was actively engaged against the enemy, and was brought favorably to the notice of His Excellency the Commander in Chief.
"I consider Captain Cameron an excellent officer in every respect. He evinced skill, judgment, and energy wherever he was employed throughout the campaign, and I would venture to recommend his services to the favorable notice of Government."
In 1868 or 1869 Captain Cameron was appointed Adjutant to the first brigade of Royal Artillery, stationed at Halifax. Captain Cameron identified himself with many useful and benevolent institutions in Halifax outside the line of his military duties, and I am happy to be able to say to this House that there, in private society as well as in military circles, he endeared himself to a large number of friends and acquaintances. There too he formed a connection by marriage with the family of a member of this House, a circumstance to which, perhaps, he has been indebted for some of the asperities of the public press. When the arrangements were being made for Red River, I am not surprised that the Government, desirous to avail themselves of the services of a gentleman of such large and varied expression, offered him an appointment in the West. He proceeded there and with the rest of the party, was barred out of the Territory. A great effort has been made to cast ridicule upon Captain Cameron for what took place at Pembina. The Globe has been at great pains to retail some sneering observation said to have been made by the Postmaster of that place. Now I do not know what may be the exact value of the opinion of a petty official of the United States, in a frontier hamlet, consisting of a few huts. I would not have thought myself of quoting such an opinion, but as the press which sympathizes with the gentlemen in opposition have thought fit to do so, he is their witness and not mine. Now it just so happens that I hold in my hand a letter from this same postmaster written on the 18th February, and as the hon. member for North Lanark seems to attach some importance to this gentleman's saying he will have the gratification to find that he does not confine himself to Captain Cameron alone, but gives some opinions about others of the same party. I read from the letter:
"We were sorry to lose the Captain and his lady as they were very much liked by all of us.
"I must admit that our first impressions of the Captain were not very flattering. Probably 1435 from some of his eccentricities, but more from the ignoring of him by all the party that he came with, as they denied, in toto, that he was one of them. That he was a hanger-on to their party whom they picked up somewhere on the road, or in the settlement that they had nothing to do with him, he not being a member of their Council, nor to their knowledge had he any appointment or promise of appointment from the Canadian Government. Even Governor McDougall, in the meeting held with the Pembina officials, in the Customs Office, gave him a sneering uncalled-for cut for which he received no response whatever, as by that time we learned to estimate the Captain as the best man of the lot.
"I do not write this in a spirit of maliciousness, but simply to do justice to one for whom we all have the highest regard as a gentleman, a good and kind neighbour, and laying aside his eccentricites, as being superior to those who caluminated him.
"You will please say to them for us that should they ever come this way again they will meet a cordial welcome from all here.
But, sir, I will call other evidence from the Opposition quarter. The Reporter of the Globe and the Reporter of the Telegraph were both sent out of the territory, and on their return, these gentlemen bore testimony to the high character which Capt. Cameron bore while on the confines of the Territory. And now, Mr. Speaker, I have to thank the House for kind indulgence with which they have listened to observations which partake so much of a personal nature. I was quite sure that I was not counting too much upon their spirit of fair play, when I asked the liberty of giving this esplanation—and I thank them sincerely for the opportunity they have given me of repelling, as I have endeavoured to do, some unjust aspersions on a meritorious officer, and I have only to regret that his indication has not fallen into abler hands.
Mr. Bodwell denied that any member of the Opposition has spoken disparagingly of Captain Cameron during the debate on the measure. The Captain might have done good service in India, and might do very well in the back woods of America if there were no rivers or fences in the way. With reference to the Bill before the House, it seemed as if the Government desired to place the new Province under the control of the French Canadians. If that was not their object it looked like it, for it granted special privileges to that race, such as 1436 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870 setting aside 1,400,000 acres of land for the half-breeds and their children. He denounced such a policy as one calculated to create a division among the people of the Dominion. He had been pained during the discussion on that Bill to hear members of the Government speak in terms of contempt of those who had proved themselves loyal to Canada in the Red River country, while those who had rebelled against them, and murdered and imprisoned their countrymen, were treated with the utmost respect and consideration. Such a course was humiliating to the House, and discouraging to those brave man who were ready to sacrifice their property, and if necessary their lives, in support of their connection with Canada. He should make some further remarks on the various clauses of the Bill in Committee.
The House then went into Committee—Mr. McDonald (Middlesex) in the chair.
On the clause relating to the boundary,
Hon. Mr. McDougall said that, although it had been arranged that important amendments should be moved on concurrence, it yet was well to indicate the amendment which should be submitted to the House on this clause. He proposed to extend the boundary to 102nd parallel of west longitude one side, and the Lake of the Woods and along the International boundary until it reached the western boundary of the Province of Ontario; thence due north along the parallel until it intercepted the 56th parallel of north latitude; then due west to the 102nd west parallel of longitude. There was some doubt as to the western boundary of Ontario, but it was generally placed at the Lake of the Woods. He proposed to obviate any doubt that the eastern boundary of Manitoba should be the western boundary of Ontario, thus leaving no doubtful land between the two Provinces. The only objection to that was the question of the Indians, but he apprehended no difficulty from that source if proper endeavours were made to let the Indians know the changes, so as to prevent false impressions from getting abroad. With regard to the size of the Province only 900,000 acres would be open for the settlement of new settlers. He denied the right of the half-breeds to any reserve and if the Province was made too large they could diminish it.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—No.
Hon. Mr. McDougall—As a matter of law, I say it is within the legislative power of the House. He objected to the Bill as premature, and thought it should only be proposed at the end of four or five years, when they had seen whether the Government which they were creating might find itself embroiled in any new difficulty in consequence of the already existing difficulties of the different populations and recollections of former disputes. They might find such a state of things that emigrants would pass it by and not bring themselves to submit to the difficulties existing there. If their expectations of the Bill were disappointed, it would show that they had been too hasty and imposed a Provisional Government only suited to a large population. The only proper course was to get at the question tentatively. They should provide such a Government as was suited to the wants and number of the population, and when it was found that they had grown out of their district and municipal system, and were ready to bear the expenses of a Provincial system, let the House give it to them. Having been in the Government he knew its power, and he now found that members who were elected on a pledge, and under arrangements which had been broken, still gave their support to the Government. He thought it likely that unfortunately the Bill would pass, and he should, therefore, endeavour to make it as good as possible. In the first place they would endeavour to extend the franchise so that instead of restricting it to householders it should extend to residents at the time of election or a short time previously. They should endeavour to reduce the time of the sitting of the Legislature to two years instead of four, at all events for the first Legislature. It was advisable that uniformity in this respect should prevail between the different Provinces, and he approved of fixing the ordinary duration at four years after the first Parliament. He should also propose to strike out the 20th clause relating to separate schools. They had better see what provisions the Local Parliament might make with regard to this question, after which the Governor General exercised the vote power. He opposed the clause as inapplicable to the country and as suggestive of a state of things which it should be preferable not to suppose to exist. With regard to the clause confirming titles, he should move the limit should be as agreed on the 9th of March 1869. He objected entirely to additional power given under the Bill. These were the principal amendments which he should propose if that Bill was unfortunately enabled to pass.
1438 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870
Mr. Ferguson said he was one of the first to object to the western boundary of the proposed Province, and to urge upon the Government to change it so as to include Portage la Prairie. He was an independent member of the House, although he had given and was prepared still to give fair support to the Government. As for the hon. member for North Lanark, the whole country knew his political reputation was irretrievably ruined, that while he was in the Government he was willing to do anything that might be necessary to keep him there, and had become the biggest Tory of the whole of them. (Laughter.) Why, the hon. gentleman spoke of separate schools as if they were something horrible to contemplate; but if his memory served him right, the hon. gentleman while in the Government had voted for separate schools in this country. (Hear.) The truth was, the hon. gentleman's opposition to the Bill arose mainly from the fact that he was no longer in the Government. If he were still on the Treasury benches, he would not find much fault with it, even if it were more open to objection. (Hear.) He (Mr. Ferguson) could easily vindicate his own consistency, but he thought the hon. gentleman would find it extremely difficult to vindicate his. (Hear.) With regard to the rebellion, he (Mr. Ferguson) charged that the responsibility for it was mainly on the heads of the Hudson's Bay Company's officials. This, he maintained, was borne out by indisputable facts; and yet the hon. gentleman's Bill, which he offered as a substitute for the Government Bill, proposed to keep these officials in power for an indefinite period. As regards the educational clauses of the Government measure, he (Mr. Ferguson) was opposed to the establishing of any sectarian schools, and trusted that the Government would consent so to change the Bill as to remove all doubt upon that point. With respect to the reservation of 1,400,000 acres of land, he was informed that it would leave only about 1,200,000 acres for settlers going in. If that was the case he would regard it as great injustice, which he trusted the Government would not press on the House. The resolution was much too large and he would have an amendment to propose, when the proper time arrived, if the Government would consent to change in this respect, and if in some other particulars the Bill was made more satisfactory, the Government might rely upon his support, but, if not, he must say they would have to look elsewhere for support.
Mr. Bowell said if the Government recognized the delegates from Red River, when they had recognized the Provisional Government—
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—No, no.
Mr. Bowell—Well if that was the case, the clause of the member for North Lanark's Bill, retaining in office the present officials, would confirm in their places officials, whom he saw by papers recently received, were being sworn in. He must say that the remark of the member for Colchester, about insulting the representatives of the people of the Territory, grated on his ears and also on those of the other members of the House. He (Mr. Bowell) wanted to know whether those gentlemen, who has been driven out of the Territory, on account of their loyalty, had been consulted by the Government prior to the introduction of this Bill. The general impression of the country was that they had not, and their opinions even had not been asked, until after the Bill had been prepared; and, if that was the case, he desired to have it understood, with regard to Judge Black, that he (Mr. Bowell) could not regard him in the same favourable lights as the member for Lambton, holding that he, perhaps more than any other man in the Territory, was responsible for the outbreak.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks said, in reference to the enquiry that had been made by the hon. member, that there was a point that had not been brought in mind, and it was this, that certain persons had been specially invited to represent their grievances here; invited, he might say, at the desire and certainly with the concurrence of Her Majesty's Government, because the words of the Governor General inviting them were almost dictated by the Secretary of State, for the colonies. Now he (Sir Francis Hincks) did not think the persons to whom the hon. member had referred were in that position, the position of persons having grievances to represent. They had no grievances, and had not therefore been asked to send persons to state them. As for himself, he had no wish to take any prominent part in these proceedings, but he might say he had had several interviews, satisfactory interviews, with the gentlemen to whom the hon. member referred; but with regard to the delegates, he had never seen one of them except Judge Black. With Judge Black, however, he had never spoken, he having been simply pointed out to him, and with regard to Father Ritchot and Scott, he had never seen them—(hear, hear)—or exchanged a word of any kind with them.
1440 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870
Hon. Mr. McDougall—Before the Bill was introduced?
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—Yes. He had never seen or spoken to them before the Bill was introduced, while he had had interviews with the gentlemen referred to by the member for North Hastings, (hear). The Minister of Justice and Minister of Militia had also seen them, and every opportunity had been given to them to express their views, (hear). But the parties whom it was proper more particularly for the Government to hear were those persons who had grievances to make, and whose complaints and opinions it was the special object of Her Majesty's Imperial Government to ascertain. He might add, however, that the Bill itself had been framed entirely on the responsibility of the Government, and not at the dictation or according to the particular wishes of the delegates of one party or the other (cheers,) and he had yet to learn that the members of the Government were liable to any censure, if they had succeeded in receiving persons who had any influence, even over any portion of the people of the Territory, and had gained their assistance in establishing the authority of the Dominion in that country, if they had done this he thought they had accomplished a great and good work, (hear).
Mr. Bowell understood that so long as the Government appeased the wrath of the malcontents, they care very little about the rest.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—No, I said nothing of this kind.
Mr. Bowell said that that appeared to him to be the principle laid down by the Minister of Finance. He had acknowledged that so long as the Government framed the Bill to meet the wishes of malcontents, the others being loyal they must put up with it whether they like it or not. (Cries of no, no.)
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—Not at all. The whole course and policy of the Government from first to last had been in the interests of the very party to which the hon. gentleman referred. The acquisition of the Territory by Canada, and the establishment of a Government there by Canada, were in the interests of the very persons to whom he alluded, and those persons themselves were satisfied with the course of the Government from the outset, (Hear.) They had made no complaint. He (Sir Francis Hincks) repeated that other parties did complain that they were going to be interfered with. To listen to those complaints was the duty of the Government, and they would have been false to their trust if they had not heard 1441 what the delegates had to say, and as far as possible to reconcile them to the establishment of Canadian authority in the country. (Hear, hear.) He repeated that it was a most desirable thing to do.
Mr. Mackenzie said these men had been consulted about the Bill, while the loyal refugees had not been consulted.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—No, they were not.
Hon. Sir George-È. Cartier—Nothing of the kind.
Mr. Mackenzie could only say that the Minister of Justice, in introducing the Bill, distinctly stated that it was the result of an agreement with those parties.
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—No, he stated it was the result of the deliberations with various parties, not of an agreement with any. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Mackenzie regarded it at any rate as a matter of fact, that the representatives of loyal parties in the Territory had not been consulted, and the Finance Minister said they had not been consulted because they had no grievances. The position in which this declaration placed the hon. gentleman, when contrasted with the statement he had made in an earlier debate, was that the disturbance in the Territory had been fomented by the Toronto Globe. If that was the case, how was it that he now said the English speaking people had no grievances?
Hon. Sir Francis Hincks—I never said anything of the kind—(hear, hear)—and I must protest against the hon. gentleman misrepresenting what I did say. I never used the words English speaking people. With regard to them I have always held that a very considerable portion, if not a majority, do not concur in the views of Dr. Schultz, Dr. Lynch and others, and of that fact there is ample evidence in this book, (the blue book of correspondence). When I said that certain parties had no grievance, I referred more particularly to what is known as the Canadian party, to which a considerable proportion of English speaking people have had no connection, (hear, hear).
Mr. Mackenzie insisted that there was a contradiction between the two statements of the hon. gentleman, and that he had fallen into a trap which he could not get out of.
1442 COMMONS DEBATES May 7, 1870
Hon. Mr. Morris could not allow the question to rest as it had been put. The Bill was introduced on the responsibility of the Ministry. After they had taken pains to obtain the information from all parties, they had seen Drs. Schultz and Lynch, and he himself had a preparatory meeting with them, as had Sir George-É. Cartier. All the object of the Government was to draw up such a Bill as would add the vast Territory to the Dominion.
Mr. Mackenzie asked were those gentlemen consulted as to boundaries, as he understood Scott, Ritchot and Judge Black had been?
Hon. Sir George—É. Cartier said Scott and Ritchot came with an extraordinary proposal to get the whole Territory, and it was the plan of the Government itself to restrict the boundaries, as by the Bill it being doubtful if the Portage la Prairie people were willing to come in, and on the suggestion of Drs. Schultz and Lynch they had been included.
Mr. Bowell asked on whose suggestion they were first excluded.
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier—It arose from the wish of the Portage people, and represented by them at the Convention,
Mr. Bowell—Then because they refused to be under the dictation of Riel, they were turned out? Then the delegates were not received, and the rebel delegates consulted? It was strange that the question was asked of the loyal delegates what line would include the Portage people, and that the Bill then brought in showed exactly such a boundary as would exclude them.
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier was prepared to adopt the amendment restricting the quieting of titles to those granted up to the 8th March, 1869. They knew the Hudson's Bay Company had granted no titles subsequent, but to make it explicit and beyond doubt, they would put in the date. He hoped they would allow the Government to take this stage now. It was perfectly understood the gentlemen opposite did not approve the principle of the Bill.
Clauses one to fourteen passed.
After this clause it was proposed to add one to make the majority of the Legislative Assembly necessary to constitute a meeting. The other clauses, with some verbal and unimportant amendments, were passed, and the 1443 Committee rose, reported, and asked leave to sit again.
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier moved the House into Committee on resolution on the same subject, to be considered pro forma, so as to advance the measure a stage.
The resolutions were severally put and carried, with some unimportant amendments proposed by Government, the only important one being that restricting the provision of quieting title to grants made prior to the 8th of March, 1869. The Committee rose, reported and asked leave to sit again.
Hon. Mr. McDougall asked whether the cable telegram that the Governor General had intimated to the Imperial Government the settlement of the Red River disturbances was correct.
Hon. Sir George-É. Cartier said he was not aware of any such despatch.
The House adjourned at midnight.


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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