House of Commons, 17 June 1869, Canadian Confederation with Newfoundland

854 COMMONS DEBATES June 17, 1869
be accepted by the Legislature of each Province.
Mr. Blake replied to the Minister of Militia, and contended that it was eminently proper that, from the very outset, any action by the Dominion Government, looking in the direction of taking away from the Local Legislatures their control over property and civil rights, should be carefully discussed. He considered sound policy was against this Parliament assuming control over these laws; ïŹrst because it would be against the proper working of the Federal system, and second because it would give this Parliament control over the laws of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, with which one-third of its membersthose from Quebec—had no concern. Such a policy, he believed, was wrong; and even from the point of view of those who thought otherwise, it must be regarded as premature, looking to the position of Nova Scotia and to the coming in of Newfoundland. Moreover, without the concurrence of the Local Legislatures, the money spent on this object would be thrown away; and that concurrence he did not believe would be given. As regarded, at least, his own Province, his voice would be raised against such concurrence.
Sir John A. Macdonald said it was possible that Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick might never have precisely the same laws, but it was, at least, desirable that they should have an opportunity of obtaining uniformity of their laws. There had been a gradual divergence of the laws in those Provinces, and it was of importance to their well-being that that divergence should be done away with. The most likely way to accomplish that was to have a Commission of experts familiar with the laws of the various Provinces, to report a body of laws which the Provinces might either accept or reject. The member for Durham said this movement was premature, because Newfoundland was not yet in the Union. That Province had been very careful to maintain its Civil Law, the law of England. The whole of its own laws in that department might be contained in a very thin volume. There would be little difficulty, therefore, as regarded that Province. No one Province could afford to pay the expense of such a commission as this, and if it did a Provincial commission would look at the consolidation of the law from a Provincial point of view. He was surprised that the member for Durham should oppose this or should not desire a uniform system of laws over all the Provinces. It was of importance that the members of the bar of one Province should be in a position to go to the bar of an [...]


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



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