11 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2018
    1. in relation to the qualifications and appointment of the legislative councillors. Like him, I am quite of opinion that the conservative element ought, of necessity, to be the basis of the Legislative Council, to counterbalance the popular element. This principle governed the constitution of the House of Lords in England, that of the Legislative Council in Belgium, and that of every well organized representative government.

      §.23 of the Constitution Act, 1867. of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. In order to protect local interests, and to prevent sectional jealousies, it was found requisite that the three great divisions into which British North America is separated, should be represented in the Upper House on the principle of equality. There are three great sections, having different interests, in this proposed Confederation.
    2. To the Upper House is to be confided the protection of sectional interests ; therefore is it that the three great divisions are there equally represented, for the purpose of defending such interests against the combinations of majorities in the Assembly.
    1. But the very essence of our compact is that the union shall be federal and not legislative. Our Lower Canada friends have agreed to give us representation by population in the Lower House, on the express condition that they shall have equality in the Upper House. On no other condition could we have advanced a step ; and, for my part, I am quite willing they should have it. In maintaining the existing sectional boundaries and handing over the control of local matters to local bodies, we recognize, to a certain extent, a diversity of interests ; and it was quite natural that the protection for those interests, by equality in the Upper Chamber, should be demanded by the less numerous provinces.
    1. and that that province will approve of our having inserted the clause in question in the resolutions. The vote which took place last night in another place, shews that I am not mistaken in what I assert on this subject. One of the greatest objections which the honorable member for Hochelaga raises to the appointment of the legislative councillors by the Crown, is that their number will be fixed, and that, by consequence, it will prove an obstacle to the decisions and legislation of the Commons House of the Federal Parliament. In a word, the honorable member declares that the Legislative Council, so constituted, will be, to use an English expression, a nuisance. The honorable member should glance back at the past to consider how many councillors appointed for life there were in the Legislative Council at the time of the concession of the elective principle, and how many of those said councillors remain at the present day. He would have ascertained that in eight years the number had diminished by one-half. Of the forty-two or forty-three members which there were then, there now remain but twenty-one or twenty-two. (Hear, hear.) The honorable member for Hochelaga should also have admitted that in those eight years there had been such considerable changes among the elected councillors, that there was no danger of the Legislative Council not being at least accessible to the people. This diminution gives an average of three members a-year, and if we take the proportion between this diminution and that which would necessarily prevail among a larger number of councillors, we shall find that there will be at least five vacancies in each year. The honorable member must then perceive that, if it should happen that the Legislative Council should be so opposed to the views of the Lower House as systematically to reject the measures of the popular branch of the Legislature, at the end of a year or perhaps less, such changes would be effected by death or otherwise, that we should immediately have such an infusion of new blood, that any attempt of this kind could not be repeated for a long time. Besides, the Legislative Council will not constitute a separate class like the House of Lords in England. The councillors will come from among the people, with whom they will have interests in common, and it is absurd to suppose that they will be induced to oppose systematically and constantly the measures which the Lower House may enact in favor of the people and at their instance. The hon. member for Hochelaga, when on this subject, reproached the Attorney General for Upper Canada with having stated in his opening speech, that if he had to preside over the selection of the legislative councillors, he would see that the best qualified men were appointed.

      §§.23, 24, and 28 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. There is one currency here, another in Newfoundland, another in Prince Edward Island, and so on. The shilling and pound of this province are different from the shilling and pound of Newfoundland and those of the other Maritime Provinces. But, with Confederation, all these matters would be placed under the control of our central legislature; the currency would become uniform throughout, and capital might be everywhere invested without obstacle. So also it will be with respect to the rights of authors, patents for mechanical inventions, &c.

      §§.91(14) and 91(23) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

  2. Aug 2018
    1. My honorable friend laughs, but I assure him, and he will not say I do so for the purpose of deceiving him, that having been present in Conference and in Council, having heard all the discussions and well ascertained the feelings of all associated with me, I have not a shadow of a doubt on my mind that full justice will be done in the selection of the first Federal Councillors, not only to those who may have been in the habit of acting with me, but also to those who have acted with my honorable friend the member for Hochelaga.

      §.23 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. But it is further objected that the property qualification of the members of the Upper House from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland may be either real or personal estate, while in the others it is to be real estate alone. This is correct ; but I fancy it matters little to us upon what species of property our friends in Prince Edward Island or in Newfoundland base their qualification. Here in Canada real estate is abundant ; every one can obtain it ; and admittedly by all it is the best qualification, if it be advisable to have any property qualification at all. But in Newfoundland it would be exceedingly inconvenient to enforce such a rule. The public lands there are not even surveyed to any considerable extent; the people are almost entirely engaged in fishing and commercial pursuits, and to require a real estate qualification would be practically to exclude some of its best public men from the Legislative Council. Then in Prince Edward Island a large portion of the island is held in extensive tracts by absentee proprietors and leased to the settlers. A feud of long standing has been the result, and there would be some difficulty in finding landed proprietors who would be acceptable to the people as members of the Upper House. This also must be remembered, that it will be a very different thing for a member from Newfoundland or Prince Edward Island to attend the Legislature at Ottawa from what it is for one of ourselves to go there. He must give up not only his time, but the comfort and convenience of being near home—and it is desirable to throw no unnecessary obstacle in the way of our getting the very best men from these provinces. (Hear.) But it is further objected that these resolutions do not define how the legislative councillors are to be chosen at first. I apprehend, however, there is no doubt whatever as regards that. Clause 14 says : “the first selection of the members to constitute the Federal Legislative Council shall be made from the members of the now existing legislative councils, by the Crown, at the recommendation of the General Executive Government, upon the nomination of the respective local governments.” The clear meaning of this clause simply is, that the present governments of the several provinces are to choose out of the existing bodies—so far as they can find gentlemen willing and qualified to serve—the members who shall at starting compose the Federal Legislative Council; that they are to present the names so selected to the Executive Council of British America when constituted—and on the advice of that body the Councillors will be appointed by the«- Crown. (Hear.) And such has been the spirit shown from first to last in carrying out the compact of July last by all the parties to it, that I for one have no apprehension whatever that full justice will not be done to the party which may be a minority in the Government, but is certainly not in a minority either in the country or in this House. I speak not only of Upper Canada but of Lower Canada as well—

      §.23 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. our mock House of Commons is to be an aggregate of provincial delegations. Each man is to come to it ticketed as an Upper or Lower Canadian, a New Brunswick, a Nova Scotia, Newfoundlander, a Prince Edward Islander, or what not.

      §.23(5)) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. Further, in Lower Canada, each locality is told that it may rest satisfied it will not be overlooked, for each is to be represented in the Legislative Council by a gentleman residing or holding property in it

      §.23(3)) of the Constitution Act, 1867.