Legislative Assembly, 25 June 1866, New Brunswick Confederation Debates

[...] action until such time as it was absolutely necessary to be put in force, and that it should then come into operation by a proclamation from the Governor in Council. He saw no reason why this Act should now be put in force. Moreover, it provides that the Governor in Council may suspend the operation of the Act as often as may be deemed necessary whilst the Act continues. This was quite superfluous, for of course the Act could not be suspended after it had expired. When a similar Act was passed in Canada, they were in an actual state of invasion. Here we are laboring under no such difficulty, and he did not think it right that the liberty of the subject should be endangered by the passage of such an Act at this time. He should not move any amendment, but should confine himself to entering his protest against the principle of the Bill, without there were some tangible reason assigned for its passage. The late Government had made every provision to meet the danger by which we had been threatened during the last Session, and now we were in no immediate danger to call for the suspension of an Act justly held dear by every British subject.
Hon. Mr. FISHER said the section of the Bill objected to is a transcript of the Canada Act, with the exception of the time during which the Act should be in operation. The whole matter had been fully discussed on Saturday, and the objections raised had been fully met to the entire satisfaction of hon. members.
The Bill then passed on a division— Yeas 27 ; Nays 8.


Mr. BOTSFORD asked if the principle established by the last House in the distribution of Debates according to population would be carried out this Session ?
His Honor The SPEAKER said no action had been taken on the subject as yet.
Hon. Mr. McMILLAN said he thought it would be best to go back to the old arrangement, and give an equal number to each member.
Mr. SMITH said his hon. friend could not certainly object to distribution by population, as he was so much in favor of representation by the same rule.
Hon. Mr. CONNELL hoped the arrangement would be as last year, according to population. The only Counties that suffer by numbers are Restigouche and Sunbury.
Mr. LEWIS said for Albert it made little difference which plan was adopted, but last year the members for St. John, feeling the force of the statements made that the people there had the benefit of the morning papers, very kindly divided up their surplus copies with other members of the House.
Mr. RYAN said he had often brought this matter before the house in times past, and he was always in favor of dividing them according to population.
Mr. BABBITT moved that the Debates and Journals should be distributed according to population.
Mr. SUTTON moved in amendment that the Debates and Journals be divided equally among the members.
Mr. LINDSAY was in favor of a division by population. For although he was not a supporter of the doctrine of universal suffrage, yet he thought the people all over the Province had an equal right to be informed with regard to the action of this House.
On division the amendment was lost, and the original resolution was sustained by a large majority.


Mr. CHANDLER moved the House into Committee of the whole on a Bill respecting offences relating to the army and navy. Mr. Babbitt in the Chair .
Mr. CHANDLER explained that this was an addition to the law already existing with regard to offences against those enticeing soldiers or sailors to desert. In cases of solicitation to desertion there are two courses open to the prosecutor ; first he can bring the matter before a jury as a misdemeanor, or to submit the matter to two Justices of the Peace who can punish the offender by a fine, and if he has not the money to meet the penalty, he is then committed to the County gaol for a period of three months. This Act is to increase the penalty to a fine of fifty pounds, or to imprisonment in the Provincial Penitentiary for six months. The sole object of the Bill is to repress those who are always willing to assist soldiers to desert. Such a measure has been found absolutely necessary on the Charlotte County border during the late trouble, and it may also have been felt at St. John. If the parties found guilty are put in the County goal they lie there without any benefit to the country.
Mr. JOHNSON would ask his hon. friend if he had looked into the Mutiny Act in the preparation of his Bill. The Act imposes a penalty, but first he must have been indicted for a misdemeanor. There was another point that might be considered, namely, that when a large penalty was inflicted, the party lay in gaol, and the country was burdened, whereas if the penalty was reduced from ÂŁ50 to ÂŁ20, the money could be forthcoming.
Mr. SMITH was of the same opinion as his hon. friend from Northumberland. He thought if the fine was reduced the object desired would be attained, much better than by placing it at a large sum.
Hon. Mr. CONNELL thought it might be so worded as to be not more than ÂŁ50 nor less than ÂŁ30.
On the passing of the sections, the penalty was reduced to ÂŁ20 and the time of imprisonment to three months.
The Bill was agreed to.


Mr. DOW, as chairman of the Contingent Committee, submitted the following report :
The Committee appointed to take into consideration the contingencies of the House, beg to submit the following Report :
The Committee on due consideration recommend that the sum of eight dollars be allowed to each member of the House to enable him to procure his necessary stationery ; that no allowance beyond that sum should be entertained.
That the clerk shall obtain all the stationery required for himself and assistants from the Board of Works. Stationery obtained through any other channel should not be entertained or paid for, and will not be recommended by this Committee.
The Committee ask leave to make a further report.
Mr. YOUNG moved for leave to bring in a Bill to encourage the formation of oyster beds.
His Honor Mr. Justice Allen attended the House and administered the oath to C. N. Skinner, Esq., a member for the County of St. John.


Hon. Mr. WILLISTON moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to Incorporate the Miramichi, Richi bucto and Shediac Railway Company. Mr. BOTSFORD in the chair.
Hon. Mr. WILLISTON said this Bill was brought in under the provisions of an Act passed in the year 1864, which guarantees a sum of $10,000 per mile to any company who shall conduct a line from Miramichi to Shediac, and other branch lines. Most of the lines mentioned in that Act have been located, and the necessary Bills have been passed by which the sum named can be secured. This Bill is to enable the company to go on with the work, and secure the sum which the Facility Bill provided. And as we are shortly to be confederated, the Quebec Scheme having been sustained by a large majority of the constituents of the Province, it is necessary to secure this and without any delay. That scheme provides for the amounts to be expended on these Railways. The Bill was a transcript of the Bill incorporating the Fredericton Railway Company, which was passed at the last session of the House.
Mr. SMITH congratulated his friend, the Solicitor General, and the hon. DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. 15 members on the floors of the House, on the policy which the Government intend to pursue as expounded by him. He was glad to know the exact position the Government now take, so frankly stated by the Hon. Solicitor General. It is now evident that whatever may be the opinions of hon. members of the House, the scheme of Union is to be no other than the Quebec Scheme. It was put forth to the country that there were to be new negociations for Union, but now the policy of the Government was made known to be the Quebec Scheme without the modifications asked for. Another point for congratulation was, that the hon. member of the Government had left hon. members to infer that this line asked for would form part of the Inter-Colonial Road. So that after all that had been told the people on the River St. John and in other parts of the Province, that the line was to be located in their neighborhood, it was to go by the North Shore after all. He had no objection to the route now stated to be chosen. He again congratulated the hon. members in the House on the announcement which had been made so fully and frankly by the hon. member of the Government.
Mr. WILLISTON repudiated the idea of announcing the policy of the Government in what he had said, but merely stated that under the Quebec Scheme these lines were to be provided for.
MR. JOHNSON said the question was not one of the Union of these Provinces ; that would come up when the Resolutions were submitted. The object of the hon. member from Westmorland was evident enough. First he strove to prejudice the minds of the members on the River Saint John, and then to influence those on the North Shore. This was just what the hon. member had been striving to do for two years past, to do on the floors of this House what he had failed to do in the Country namely, to divide the public sentiment on the subject of Confederation The hon. member would surely remember that he went home, to England and made arrangements for the construction of the line that would pass through the County of Westmorland, knowing that the Intercolonial Railroad must pass by that route wherever it would go in other sections. For himself and the constituents he represented he would say that whatever route was decided on as the cheapest and most advantageous, would not be disapproved of by the people.
MR. KERR said the Bill before the House was one of those provided for under the Facility Bill of 1864. The other branches had taken advantage of the subsidy there provided, and to make the introduction of this Bill the point of attack on the subject of Confederation, was out of place. The Act was a copy of a Bill which had passed the last Session, incorporating the Fredericton Branch Railway Company, and it contained only such provisions as were calculated to secure the requisite amount of means to carry on the work.
Mr. SMITH said he must now go into some explanation with regard to certain statements put forth for a purpose during the late elections. The Railway from Moncton to Truro was not, as the line now contemplated on the North Shore, a merely local affair a matter of interest to the whole Province. It was the line over which the Mails to and from England were to be carried, and affected the people of the whole country—the Governor, and the merchant alike. It was to the advantage of the people generally that that line should be constructed to meet the road at the Nova Scotia border. The delegation when in England met the Company who had contracted to build the road, and they required that inasmuch as the Nova Scotia Government had agreed to provide for land damages to a] much larger extent than we thought proper to go, that the Government of this country should allow for all damages over fifty pounds a mile. Mr. Allan and he consulted about the matter, and they decided that they would not be justified before the people if they returned without accomplishing their object. He hoped that the Government would not be called on for damages. It had been said that the Company who had the contract was a bogus concern ; but so far they had fulfilled all their engagements. They promised to locate the road in November last, and the surveyors were there at work at the time appointed. They promised to begin the work on the road in the month of June, and now they are at work and progressing favorably. Now about the route. It had been said that he carried the route past Dorchester Corner, and by his own door, to meet his own ends and enhance the value of his property. But he had much more property over on the other line which would have struck at Shediac, and if he had been actuated by any selfish motives he would have carried it by the head of Sackville and so on to Shediac. But the route now chosen was the shortest. It ran within a few miles of the County of Albert, giving an advantage to the people of that County, they could not otherwise have obtained. It also was in the locality of the stone quarries, and the new shale works about to be erected. The interests involved were not local but of a most general nature, and in these respects differ from the lines running from St Stephen, Woodstock and other places.
Mr. LINDSAY thought the action of the hon. member for Westmorland with regard to the Dorchester line was not quite generous to the other sections of the country to allow for land damages on that line. He thought that if they had wanted to meet such demands the people most interested should have put their hands in their pockets. Carleton County not only gave her share toward the construction of the European and North American Railway, but also taxed themselves to build their own line, and if land damages were to be anywhere, it should have been there. With regard to the subject of Confederation he need say nothing, as it would come up to-morrow.
MR. STEVENS said the Bill before them was to incorporate a Railway Company, and not on a Union of the Colonies, and he thought they were wandering far from the subject when they entered into a discussion on that subject. He had no objection to hear the objections of the hon. ex- Attorney General, but they should now confine themselves to the subject before the Chair. The Bill asks only for that which they have a right to demand, which is to be incorporated into a Company to construct a line under the provisions of a Bill passed by the House in 1861, and no opposition should be raised to it.
The Bill was agreed to with certain alterations.


MR. DOW moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to assess the County of York for Agricultural purposes, Mr. W. P. Flewwelling in the chair.
MR. DOW explained that this Bill passed through the House at the last Session, but not in time to go before the Upper Branch. The Bill is local, merely asking for permission to assess the County of York, for the purpose of assisting the York County Agricultural Society in paying off the debt due on the Exhibition Palace.
The Bill was agreed to.
MR. BECKWITH moved the House into a Committee of the Whole on a Bill to assess the City of Fredericton for Agricultural Purposes, Mr. J. Flewelling in the Chair.
MR. BECKWITH explained that this Bill was similar in its nature to that just agreed to.
MR. SKINNER was opposed to the Bill, being merely of a permissive nature. The debts due for that building were still unpaid, and there should be some measure introduced by which either the City of Fredericton or the County of York, or whoever is responsible, should be made to clear up the debts due on the building.


New Brunswick. Reports of the Debates of the House of Assembly. St. John: G.W. Day, 1865-1867. Microfilm copies provided by the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.



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