124 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2018
    1. A Legislative union of the British North American Provinces is not liable to all the objections which, as I believe, apply. to a Federal or Federative union; but it is liable to the objection that great discontent in the Lower Provinces would follow the centralization in one Government, and in one Legislature, at Quebec or Montreal, of the powers and authority now vested in the Governments and Legislatures of the several provinces; and, moreover, I believe that no single Government or single Legislature could, in present circumstances, satisfactorily govern and legislate for a territory extending over an area so immense, and so sparsely populated as many portions of that territory are.

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. Again, the establishment of a Federal or Federative union would, as l believe, be immediately followed by an agitation in favour of the election or the Local Governors, instead of their being nominated by the Crown. And it would be the more difficult to resist this application on account of the purely local or municipal character of the powers with which the Governors would he intrusted ; but the compliance with the request would he in my opinion-highly dangerous, not only because it would at once be fatal to British influence in the Local Governments and Local Legislatures, but also because it would, I believe, be followed quickly by a similar application from the United ‘Provinces, with regard to the Gov,ernor-Generalship, still more difficult to resist from the force With which it would be pressed, but the compliance with which would at once practically sever the connexion between the Crown and British North America.

      Preamble, §§.58, 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. union which they contemplate is not to be necessarily of the same character as that which binds together the several States of the neighbouring Republic. But upon whatever basis a Federative union might be formed, it must, I think, be liable -to one of two objections, either of which ought, as it appears to me, to be fatal to such a scheme. For if the Local Governments and Local Legislatures are still to- continue to exercise the same authority in local legislation and local matters which now appertains to them (and there is comparatively little business of any other description which they are now called upon to discuss), then the result of such a union will be still further to degrade the Local Governments and Legislatures without diminishing their authority while the ‘Central Government and Central Legislature, nominally endorsed with high powers, and proud of their position, but with little or no business of a purely Colonial character to occupy their attention, would, I fear, claim an authority on subjects not purely Colonial, but also of Imperial importance (such as questions of foreign trade, &c.), and shortly be brought into collision with Her Majesty’s Government and with the Imperial Parliament. If, on the other hand, the Local Governments and Local Legislatures were shorn of a large portion or their present powers (to which proposal 1 do not believe that the Lower Provinces would agree), the inhabitants of the Lower Provinces would, in my opinion, very soon, if not immediately, become discontented with an arrangement which would deprive them of -the power they now possess over the management of their own affairs, and render New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward’s Island, Provinces of Canada, instead of being, as they now are, Provinces of the British Empire.

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. I presume that the word ‘”Federative” has been used ‘in the Memorandum of the Executive Council of Canada to imply that the

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. should embrace the question of a Legislative, as well as that of a Federal or Federative union, and the expediency of uniting some, as well as that of uniting all the provinces

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    6. ment to this may be added that, by the proposed distribution of the revenue, each province would have a direct pecuniary interest in the preservation of the authority of the Federal Government. In these respects’ it is conceived that the proposed Confederation would possess greater inherent strength than that of the United States, and would combine the advantages of the unity for general purposes of a Legislative union, with so much of the Federative principle as -would give all the benefits of local government and legislation upon questions of provincial interest.

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    7. The Local Legislatures would not be in a position to claim the exercise of the same sovereign power-, which have frequently been the cause of difference between the American States and their General Govern-

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    8. That the Federal, Government should be composed of a Governor General, or Viceroy, to be appointed by the Queen; of an Upper House, or Senate, elected upon a territorial basis of representation and of a House of Assembly, elected on the basis of population., The Executive to be composed of Ministers, responsible to the Legislature:

      Preamble, §§.22, 91, and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

  2. Sep 2018
    1. And yet when the honorable member for Joliette asked with much reason of the honorable member for Lotbinière why he did not speak of Confederation based upon monarchical principles, the latter gentleman answered that he could not speak of what did not exist, and of what was absurd.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. They did not act wrongly then, those forty chosen men of British North America who came to Quebec to erect a new nation on the monarchical basis, and as much as possible on the principles of the Parliament of Great Britain.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. M. DE TOCQUEVILLE has lived too long; his admirable work on democracy in America produces upon our minds, at the present day, only the effect of an heroic poem; it is the Isle of Calypso, so admirably sung by FENELON, but which fades away when you have closed Telemachus.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. We have also seen, not far from our own homes, that same democracy wrapped in the mantle of republicanism, moving at a rapid pace towards demagogy, and from demagogy to an intolerable despotism.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. vinces, and secure efficiency, harmony and permanency in the working of the union, would be a General Government, charged with matters of common interest to the whole country; and Local Governments for each of the Canadas, and for the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, charged with the control of local matters in their respective sections. Provision being made for the admission into the union, on equitable terms, of Newfoundland, the Northwest Territory, British Columbia, and Vancouver.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    6. principles which threatened society at large. What the Opposition detest the most in the project of the Quebec Conference, is its monarchical character, as also those words found at the commencement of that remarkable work :— The best interests and present and future prosperity of British North America will be promoted by a Federal union under the Crown of Great Britain, provided such union can be effected on principles just to the several provinces. In the Federation of the British North American Provinces, the system of government best adapted, under existing circumstances, to protect the diversified interests of the several pro-

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    7. It appears therefore that the only alternative which now offers itself to the inhabitants of Lower Canada is a choice between dissolution pure and simple, or Confederation on one side, and representation by population on the other. And however opposed Lower Canada may be to representation by population, is there not imminent danger that it may be finally imposed upon it, if it resist all measures of reform, the object of which is to leave to the local authorities of each section the control of its own interests and institutions. We should not forget that the same authority which imposed on us the Act of Union, or which altered it without our consent, by repealing the clause which required the concurrence of two thirds of the members of both Houses in order to change the representation respecting the two sections, may again intervene to impose upon us this new change.

      Preamble, Part V, §§.51, 52, 91, 91(1), 92, and 92(2) of the Constitution Act, 1867. of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    8. Without uniformity, without unity, it is impossible to make any serious attempt at defence in case of attack, and the divided country falls an easy prey to the enemy.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    9. What hopes may we not be allowed to indulge respecting the material future of the immense country which includes the two Canadas, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, the Hudson’s Bay Territory and Vancouver’s Island, when we reflect on the wealth of a soil which is almost everywhere remarkably fertile, (except the extreme North,) on the resources which the forests have treasured up for the settler in the lapse of ages, on the immense fisheries in the Gulf, sufficient of themselves to feed the whole world with fish of the finest quality; when we consider that the whole of this vast continent offers to us, in its various geological formations mineral wealth of the most precious kinds, and that nature has arranged for us channels of intercommunication of incredible grandeur. The fertile soil of these provinces intersected throughout their entire length by the rivers St. Lawrence and St. John, bathed by the waters of the Gulf and those of the Great Lakes, the superb forests through which flow the immense Ottawa, the St. Maurice and the Saguenay, the mines of copper bordering on lakes Superior and Huron, the iron mines of Canada, the coal measures of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the seaports of Quebec, Halifax and St. John, the ores of all kinds dispersed throughout the provinces—all those form an aggregate of means which, if we suppose them to be turned to account by a competent population, governed by a political system based on true principles of order and liberty, justifies the most extravagant calculations of profit, the most extraordinary predictions of growth, as compared with the present state of things.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. At most, the resolutions are not a treaty, but the mere draft of an agreement come to between those gentlemen. HON. ATTY. GEN. CARTIER—Oh, yes, it is a treaty, and we are now fighting to uphold it. MR. DUNKIN—Well, it is a draft of a treaty if you like, but it is not a treaty. Plenipotentiaries, who frame treaties, have full authority to act on behalf of their respective countries. HON. ATTY. GEN. CARTIER—It is the same as any other treaty entered into under the British system. The Government is responsible for it to Parliament, and if this does not meet your approval, you can dispossess us by a vote of want of confidence.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. Her Majesty says in her Speech from the Throne at the opening of the Imperial Parliament, that she approves of the Conference that framed the treaty. Is not the royal sanction sufficient authority?

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. We are asking for that authority now

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. Well, a treaty, I suppose, implies authority on the part of those who framed it to enter into it.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. MR. DUNKIN—I think we shall, if we maintain and strengthen our relations with the parent state; but I do not think we shall, if we adopt a scheme like this, which must certainly weaken the tie between us and the Empire. Our language to England had better be the plain truth—that we are no beggars, and will shirk no duty; that we do not want to go, and of ourselves will not go; that our feelings and our interests alike hold us to her; that, even apart from feeling, we are not strong enough, and know our own weakness, and the strength of the power near us; and that the only means by which we can possibly be kept from absorption by that power, is the maintaining now—and for all time that we can look forward to—of our connection with the Mother-Land.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    6. Now, I am not desirous that our acceptance of the scheme should go home to be cited (as it would be) to the people of England, as a proof that we so view it—a proof that we wish to be separated from the Empire. I am quite satisfied separation will never do. We are simply sure to be overwhelmed the instant our neighbors and we differ, unless we have the whole power of the Mother Country to assist us.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    7. The people of England have no desire to snap asunder abruptly the slender links which still unite them with their trans-atlantic fellow-subjects, or to shorten by a single hour the duration of their common citizenship. * * * * We are led irresistibly to the inference that this stage has been well nigh reached in the history of our trans-Atlantic provinces. Hence it comes to pass that we accept, not with fear and trembling, but with unmixed joy and satisfaction, a voluntary proclamation, which, though couched in the accents of loyalty, and proffering an enduring allegiance to our Queen, falls yet more welcome on our eats as the harbinger of the future and complete independence of British North America.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    8. The result of these proposals, if carried into effect, would be the creation of a new state in North America, still retaining the name of a British dependency, comprising an area about equal to that of Europe, a population of about four millions, with an aggregate revenue in sterling of about two millions and a half, and carrying on a trade (including exports, imports and intercolonial commerce) of about twenty-eight millions sterling per annum. If we consider the relative positions of Canada and the Maritime Provinces—the former possessing good harbors, but no back country, the former an unlimited supply of cereals, but few minerals; the latter an unlimited supply of iron and coal, but little agricultural produce. The commercial advantages of union between states so circumstanced, are too obvious to need comment. The completion of the Intercolonial Railway, and the probable annexation of the fertile portions of the Northwest territory to the new Confederation, form a portion only of the probable consequences of its formation, but in which Europe and the world at large will eventually participate. When the—

      Preamble, §§.121 and 146 of the Constitution Act, 1867. of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    9. It is scarcely surprising that any project which may offer a prospect of escape from a political situation so undignified and unsatisfactory should be hailed with a cordial welcome by all parties concerned. But one meaning can be put upon all this. In the opinion of the writer, England does not believe that these provinces are worth anything to her, while the connection with the Mother Country is worth all to us ; and she would hail with satisfaction any way of escape from the obligations and dangers that we are said to cast upon her.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    10. Retainers who will neither give nor accept notice to quit our service, must, it is assumed, be kept for our service. There are, nevertheless, special and exceptional difficulties which beset us in this portion of our vast field of empire.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    11. It might puzzle the wisest of our statesmen, if he were challenged to put his finger on any single item of material advantage resulting to ourselves from our dominions in British North America, which cost us at this moment about a million sterling a year.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    12. It is not unnatural that the desire to maintain a connection with the power and wealth of the Mother Country should be stronger on the side of the colonies than it is on that of the British public, for they owe almost everything to us, and we receive but little from them. Moreover, the existing system of colonial government enables them to combine all the advantages of local independence with the strength and dignity of a great empire. But the Imperial Government in the meantime has to decide, not as of old, whether Great Britain is to tax the colonies, but to what extent the colonies are to be permitted to tax Great Britain—a question which is daily becoming more urgent and less easy of solution.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    13. There are problems of colonial policy the solution of which cannot, without peril, be indefinitely delayed; and though Imperial England is doing her best to keep up appearances in the management of her five and forty dependencies, the political links which once bound them to each other and to their common centre are evidently worn out. Misgivings haunt the public mind as to the stability of an edifice which seems to be founded on a reciprocity of deception, and only to be shored up for the time by obsolete and meaningless traditions.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    14. I am well enough satisfied that Lord DERBY himself has not the most remote idea of falling in with the views of the so-called colonial reformers in England, who desire to see the colonies pay for every thing or be cast off; but he knows the hold that their views have gained at home, and he speaks accordingly.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    15. Under these circumstances I see with additional satisfaction—[Meaning of, course, though courtesy may have disallowed the phrase, “less dissatisfaction,” for he certainly did not see those other matters with any satisfaction at all]—I see with additional satisfaction the announcement of a contemplated important step. I mean the proposed Federation of the British American Provinces. (Hear, hear.) I hope I may regard that Federation as a measure tending to constitute a power strong enough, with the aid of this country, which I trust may never be withdrawn from those provinces, to acquire an importance which, separately, they could not obtain. (Hear, hear.) If I saw in this Federation a desire to separate from this country, I should think it a matter of much more doubtful policy and advantage; but I perceive with satisfaction, that no such wish is entertained. Perhaps it is premature to discuss, at present, resolutions not yet submitted to the different provincial legislatures, but I hope I see in the terms of that Federation an earnest desire on the part of the provinces to maintain for themselves the blessing of the connection with this country, and a determined and deliberate preference for monarchical over republican institutions.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    16. “We are supposed, by one of these noble lords, to bo taking a step analogous to that taken by the authors of the Declaration of Independence ; and by the other, to be moved by the same impulse of empire that has been leading to the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    17. the northern provinces of British America. I heartily concur in all—[the all being as we have just seen, not much]—that has been said by my noble friend the mover of this address in his laudation of that project. It is, my lords, a most interesting contemplation that that project has arisen, and has been approved by Her Majesty’s Government. It is certainly contrary to what might be considered the old maxims of government in connection with the colonies, that we should here express —and that the Crown itself should express— satisfaction at a measure which tends to bind together, in almost independent power, our colonies in North America. We do still believe that though thus banded together, they will recognize the value of British connection, and that while they will be safer in this amalgamation, we shall be as safe in their fealty. The measure will no doubt, my lords, require much prudent consideration and great attention to provincial susceptibilities.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    18. Why should these resolutions suggest to any one’s mind the declaration of independence? Did the gentlemen who signed these resolutions in order to authenticate them—pledge their lives and fortunes, and I don’t know what besides, to anything, or risk anything, by appending their signatures to the document? Was it a great exercise of political heroism? Why, the men who signed the declaration of independence qualified themselves in the eyes of the Imperial Government for the pleasant operations of heading and hanging. They knew what they were about. They were issuing a rebel declaration of war. But this is a piece of machinery, on the face of it at least, to perpetuate our connection with the Mother Country! Why then does it suggest the idea that so great a scheme of self-government, or one shadowing forth so many similar and possible changes, ” hardly ever before occurred?” It is because there is, underlying the speaker’s thought, just that idea of the anti-colonial school in England, that we are going to slip away from our connection with the Mother Country; and in this respect, therefore, it seems to him that it is like the declaration of independence. The remaining sentence indicates a curious misapprehension as to the present posture of this question. ” If the delegates of these several colonies finally agree to the resolutions framed by their committee, and if these resolutions be approved by the several legislatures of the several colonies, Parliament will be asked to consider and complete this federation of our Northern American possessions.” The noble lord, the mover of the Address, seems to take the resolutions for a mere report of a committee which (on their way here) had yet to be submitted to the consideration of the delegates ! Next, I turn to the language of Lord HOUGHTON, the seconder of the Address ; and from his lips too, we have an almost distinct utterance of the idea of our coming independence. He says :—

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    19. If it is a declaration that this thing is a treaty, which may not be amended by us without flying in the face of Her Majesty’s Government, I do not understand the meaning of words. (Hear, hear.) In connection with the Speech from the Throne, we had, the other night, some notice taken, on the floor of this House, of language used in discussing the address in the Imperial Parliament. Lords CLAREMONT, HOUGHTON, GRANVILLE and DERBY had something to say in respect of this scheme in the House of Lords ; as also, Mr. HANBURY TRACY in the House of Commons. I do not attach great weight to what was there said, because there really was little said any way, and that little could not indicate any great amount of knowledge upon the subject treated. However, I will quote first what the mover of the address, the Earl of CLAREMONT, said. After referring to the war in New Zealand, he went on :— My Lords, although these operations in India, New Zealand, and Japan, are matters of more or less interest or concern to the nation, and, as such, are fully deserving of notice, yet they are small in comparison to the importance of the probable change in the constitution of our North American Colonies. Since the declaration of independence by the colonies, since known as the United States of America, so great a scheme of self-government, or one shadowing forth so many similar and possible changes, has not occurred.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    20. These delegates adopted resolutions having for their object a closer union of those provinces under a central government. If those resolutions shall be approved by the provincial legislatures, a bill will be laid before you for carrying this important measure into effect”

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    21. The language addressed from the Throne to the Imperial Parliament is this: ” Her Majesty has had great satisfaction in giving Her sanction—”to what?—” to the meeting of a conference of delegates from the several North American Provinces, who, on invitation from Her Majesty’s Governor General, assembled at Quebec.”

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    22. It is true we are not actually giving up the American colonies,—nay, the despatch we are quoting does not contain the slightest hint that such a possibility ever crossed the mind of the writer; but yet it is perfectly evident—and there is no use in concealing the fact—that the Confederation movement considerably diminishes the difficulty which would be felt by the colonies in separating from the Mother Country. Even now the North American Confederation represents a state formidable from the numbers of its hardy and energetic population, and capable, if so united, of vigorously defending the territories it possesses. A few years will add greatly to that population, and place Canada, Hochelaga, Acadia, or by whatever other name the Confederacy may think fit to call itself, quite out of the reach of invasion or conquest. Such a state would not only be strong against the Mother Country under the impossible supposition of our seeking to coerce it by force, but it might be separated from us without incurring the disgrace of leaving a small and helpless community at the mercy of powerful and warlike neighbors.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    23. we are trying to strengthen our union with the Mother Country—that we care far less about a mere union with neighboring provinces, which will frighten no one in the least, but that we arc determined to maintain at all hazards and draw closer, that connection with the Mother Country which alone, so long as it lasts, can and will protect us from all serious aggression. (Hear, hear.) But we are told that, on account of a variety of considerations connected with the state of opinion at home, and out of deference to that opinion, we must positively carry out this scheme.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    24. If, now, a different idea is to prevail—if the notion is to go abroad that we are, by creating ourselves into a new nationality, to be somewhat less connected with the Empire than these provinces heretofore have been, then I do apprehend that a very different future is before us, and that in all sorts of ways, by vexations of all kinds, by the fomenting of every trouble within our own borders, whether originating from abroad, or only reacted on from abroad, we shall be exposed to dangers of the most serious kind.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    25. In and before 1840, after the troubles which had been distracting Canada were put down, it was declared, and perfectly well understood, that the Imperial Government was simply determined to hold on to the connection with this country.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    26. We are here proposing to create in this part of the Queen’s dominions a mere sub-federation, so to speak, tending, so far as it tends to anything, towards the exclusion of this kind of provision.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    27. if our connection with the Empire is to last, we must have—this department of our public affairs attended to by a regularly appointed Minister of the Crown here, who, whenever occasion requires, may explain them and who shall be responsible to this House. Of course, nobody denies that the Governor General is the channel of communication between us and the Imperial Government. He is the Queen’s representative and servant, and his communications with the Home Government must be of the most confidential character, except in so far as he may see fit to make them known. But fully admitting this, still besides those communications of this character which he may, have and indeed at all times must have unrestrictedly with the Imperial Government, there should be—and, if our Imperial relations are to be maintained, there must be—a further class of communications between the two governments, as to which the Governor should be advised by a minister whose particular duty it should be to manage affairs between the Mother Country and ourselves, and to be in effect a local adviser, as to such matters, of the Imperial advisers of the Crown in England.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    28. dency. (Hear, hear.) All the great provinces are flying off too much, attending too exclusively to mere local considerations, too little to those of the general or Imperial kind. And at home, as we seem to be flying off, they, too, are thinking of us and of the interests they and we have in common less and less. What is wanting, if one is to look to the interest of the Empire, which is really that of all its parts—what is wanting, as I have said, is an effective federalization of the Empire as a whole, not a subordinate federation here or there, made up out of parts of it. I have neither time nor strength to-night to go fairly into the question of how this thing should be done; but a few words more as to that, I must be pardoned for.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    29. Your Federal Government will occupy about as anomalous a position between the Imperial and provincial governments as I showed, last night, will be occupied by your lieutenant governors between the Federal authority and the provinces. Both will be out of place, and to find themselves in work they must give trouble. I do not see how they can do good, but I do see how they can do any quantity of harm. (Hear, hear.) The real difficulty in our position is one that is not met by the machinery here proposed. What is that difficulty? In the larger provinces of the empire we have the system of responsible government thoroughly accorded by the Imperial Government, and thoroughly worked out; and the difficulty of the system that is now pressing, or ought to be, upon the attention of our statesmen is just this—that the tie connecting us with the Empire, and which ought to be a federal tie of the strongest kind, is too slight, is not, properly speaking, so much as a federal tie at all. These provinces, with local responsible government, are too nearly in the position of independent communities; there is not enough of connection between them and the parent state to make the relations between the two work well, or give promise of lasting long. There is in the machinery too much of what may be called the centrifugal ten-

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. they have declined to allow us to understand what sort of a local legislature we are to have They will not tell us how our Executive is to be formed. They will not tell us whether we are to have legislative councils in Upper and Lower Canada, and whether or not they will be elected councils. They will not tell us what number of members will constitute the Executive Council of the Confederation, nor what influence each individual province will have in that government. They will not bring down the scheme for the local legislatures. They tell us that it is better to withhold those details—that we are dealing with Federation alone, and have no business discussing local governments What is the object of all this vagueness ?

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. The Federal character of the United States Government has been referred to prove that it has increased the prosperity of the people living under it; but in point of fact the great and relentless war that is now raging there—that fratricidal war in which brother is arrayed against brother, filled with hatred toward each other, and which has plunged the country into all the horrors of the deadliest strife—is the strongest comment upon the working of the Federal principle—the strongest argument against its application to these provinces. (Hear, hear.) The French element in Lower Canada will be separated from us in its Local Legislature and become less united with us than it is now ; and therefore there is likely to be disagreement between us. Still more likely is there to be disagreement when the people of Upper Canada find that this scheme will not relieve them of the burdens cast upon them, but, on the contrary, will subject them to a legislature that will have the power of imposing direct taxation in addition to the burdens imposed by the General Government. When they find that this power is exercised, and they are called upon to contribute as much as before to the General Government, while taxed to maintain a separate Local Legislature—when they find that the material question is to weigh with them, they will look to the other side of the line for union. I feel that we are going to do that which will weaken our connection with the Mother Country, because if you give power to legislate upon the same subjects to both the local and the federal legislatures, and allow both to impose taxation upon the people, disagreements will spring up which must necessarily have that effect. (Hear, hear.) Then again, by this scheme that is laid before us, certain things are to be legislated upon by both the general and the local legislatures, and yet the local legislation is to be subordinate to the legislation of the Federal Parliament. For instance, emigration and agriculture are to be subject to the control of both bodies. Now suppose that the Federal Legislature chooses to decide in favor of having emigration flow to a particular locality, so as to benefit one province alone—I do not menu this expression to be understood in its entire sense, because I think that emigration in any one portion will benefit the whole, but it will benefit the particular locality much more at the time—and if provision is made by the General Legislature for emigration of that kind, and grants are made from the public funds to carry it out, it will cause much complaint, as the people who are paying the greatest proportion of the revenue will be subject to the drafts upon them as before.

      Preamble, §§.91, 92, and 95 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. I believe that when these colonies are combined, acting in concert, and quickened and invigorated by a feeling of mutual dependence and interest, the tendency will be to increase their wealth and manufactures, and general strength. And, sir, I am satisfied one of the great advantages cf this union will be found in this that wk. will be raised above our sectionalisms, and come to feel and to act as the citizens of a great country, with destinies committed to us such as may well evoke the energies of a great people.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. Ourselves from that protection we have so long enjoyed; but we desire, while remain- in under that protection, to do all that lies in our power for our self-defence, and for the development of all the great interests which Providence has committed to our trust; and we seek at the hands of the British Parliament such legislation as will enable us to accomplish these great ends for the whole of British America.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. But, as I have stated, I think the Conference has been exceedingly happy in the plan they have submitted for our adoption A community of British free- men as we are, deliberately surveying our past as well as our present position, and look- in forward to our future, we in effect resolve that we will adhere to the protection of the British Crown; that we will tell the GOLDWIN SMITH school–these who are crying out for cutting off the colonies—that we will cling to the old Mother Land –(hear, hear)–we desire to maintain our connection; we have no desire to withdraw

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. The great weakness of the American system has lain in the fact that the several states, on entering the union, claimed independent jurisdiction ; that they demitted to the Central Government certain powers, and that they claimed equal and sovereign powers with regard to everything not so delegated and demitted. The weaknesses aid difficulties of that system have been avoided in the project now before us, and we have the central power with defined and sovereign powers, and the local parliaments with their defined and delegated powers, but subordinated to the central power. The article says: — It is quite clear that the Federal Constitution of the United States of America forms a precedent which cannot possibly be followed in its principles or details by the united colonies, so long as they remain part of the dominions of the Imperial Crown. The principle of the American Federation is, that each is a sovereign state, which consents to delegate to a central authority a portion of its sovereign power, leaving the remainder, which is not so delegated, absolute and intact in its own hands. This is not the position of the colonies, each of which, instead of being an isolated sovereign state, is an integral part of the British Empire. They cannot delegate their sovereign authority to a central government, because them do not possess the sovereign authority to delegate. The only alternative as it seems to us would be to adopt a course exactly the contrary of that which the United States adopted, and instead of taking for their motto E Pluribus Unum, to invert it by saying In Uno Plural.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. that prestige and power which go with every British subject to every civilized part of the globe, enabling him to say, like the old Roman, ” I am a British citizen.” EARL GREY states that :— The possession of a number of steady and faithful allies, in various quarters of the globe, will surely be admitted to add greatly to the strength of any nation ; while no alliance between independent states can be so close and intimate as the connection which unites the colonies to the United Kingdom as parts of the Great British Empire. Nor ought it to be forgotten, that the power of a nation does not depend merely on the amount of physical force it can command, but rests, in no small degree, upon opinion and moral influence. In this respect British power would be diminished by the loss of our colonies, to a degree which it would be difficult to estimate. Passing on a little, we find him saying :— To the latter [i. e. the colonists] it is no doubt of far greater importance than to the former, because, while still forming comparatively small and weak communities, they enjoy, in return for their allegiance to the British Crown, all the security and consideration which belongs to them as members of one of the most powerful states in the world. No foreign power ventures to attack or interfere with the smallest of them, while every colonist carries with him to the remotest quarters of the globe which he may visit, in trading or other pursuits, that protection which the character of a British subject everywhere confers. (Hear, hear.) But to view the subject in another aspect. I believe it will be found that all the conditions are combined in the scheme now before us, that are considered necessary for the formation on a permanent basis of a Federative union. I hold in my hand a book of some note on Representative Government, by JOHN STUART MILL, and I find that he lays down three conditions as applicable to the union of independent states, and which, by parity of reasoning, are applicable to provinces which seek to have a closer alliance with each other, and also, thereby, a closer alliance with the Mother Country. The conditions he lays down are first,— That there should be a sufficient amount of mutual sympathy among the populations. And he states that the sympathies which they should have in common should be— Those of race, language, religion, and, above all, of political institutions, as conducing most to a feeling of identity of political interest.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    6. I proposed and drew up a plan for the union of all the colonies under one government, so far as might be necessary for defence and other important general purposes. By my plan, the General Government was to be administered by a President- General, appointed and supported by the Crown, and a General Council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the several colonies, met in the respective assemblies. The plan was agreed to in Congress, but the assemblies of the provinces did not adopt it, as they thought there was too much prerogative in it, and in England it was judged to have too much of the democratic. The different and contrary reasons of dislike to my plan made me suspect that it was really the true medium, and I am still of opinion it would have been happy for both sides if it had been adopted. The colonies so united would have been strong enough to have defended themselves; there would then have been no need of troops from England ; of course the subsequent pretext for taxing America, and also the bloody contest it occasioned, would have been avoided.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    7. The New York Conner and Inquirer, in an article published at that time, came to the conclusion “that the union would, in fact, be an argument for a continuance of the existing relations between the two countries: is a matter of policy and gratitude, and that such a change of government could be met with no objection of any weight.”

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    8. But I will state why this union is c: inculcated to prolong our connection with Britain. I t is well known that there has been an entire and radical change of late in the colonial policy of England. That policy has been to extend to us the utmost liberty in our relations to the Empire. What is after all the nature of the bond, which links us to Great Britain, apart from our allegiance and loyalty? What is it but a Federative bond ? That is what links us to Britain,and I feel quite satisfied, in the words of an English publicist of some eminence, that ” the new colonial policy is calculated to prolong the connection of the colonies with the Mother Country.” I believe it will raise these provinces as part of the British Empire, and so secure to us the permanency of British institutions, and bind us more closely to the Crown.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    9. He had looked at it in this way. The time had been when the people of Upper Canada imagined that the Lower Canadians were afraid to grant representation by population lest western reformers should interfere with their religious institutions. He was fully satisfied that that idea was entirely erroneous—that the French people never had the slightest fear of the kind, because they knew it would be political suicide, it would be absolute ruin to any political party having the administration of affairs in their hands, to perpetrate injustice on any section of the people, to whatever church they belonged. (Cheers.) There was one element, however, which always entered largely into the discussion of all our national questions, and that was that the French people were a people entirely different from ourselves in origin, and largely in feeling. We all had a certain pride in our native country, and gloried in the deeds of our ancestors. The French people had that feeling quite as strongly as any of us ; this reason, and also because they were a conquered people, they felt it necessary to maintain a strong national spirit, and to resist all attempts to procure justice by the people of the west, lest that national existence should be broken down. He (Mr. MACKENZIE) felt for one that mere representation by population, under such circumstances, would perhaps scarcely meet the expectations formed of it, because although Upper Canada would have seventeen more members than Lower Canada, it would be an easy thing for the fifty or fifty-five members representing French constituencies to unite with a minority from Upper Canada, and thus secure an Administration subservient to their views.

      Preamble, §§.51, 52, and 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. It is a principle of the British Constitution that the appropriation of any moneys from the taxes paid by the people, shall beat the disposal of Parliament.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. We will be enabled shortly, I trust, to commence to bring from the Mother Country a constant stream of immigration by which those sentiments of attachment to home and devotion to the Crown will be perpetuated. And in this continuous recruiting of our population I see one of the great elements we will have to look to for the perpetuation of the attachment of this country to the Crown

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. That there should be in every polity a centre of resistance to the predominant power in the Constitution—and in a democratic Constitution, therefore, a nucleus of resistance to the democracy— I have already maintained ; and I regard it as a fundamental maxim of government. If any people who possess a democratic representation are, from their historical antecedents, more willing to tolerate such a centre of resistance in the form of a Second Chamber or House of Lords, than it; any other shape, this constitutes a strong reason for having it in that shape. He admits that a check can be used, and properly used, by a House of Lords or a Legislative Council. Then he goes on to say that he does not think this the best check, and prescribes a plan of his own ; but his statement on this point is too long to enter upon now.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. My honorable friend quoted some part of a work by Mr. JOHN STUART MILLS, a celebrated writer on Representative Government, but he did not go far enough. Mr. MILLS says :— The consideration which tells most in my judgment in favor of two Chambers (and this I do regard as of some moment), is the evil effect produced upon the mind of any holder of power, whether an individual or an assembly, by the contagiousness of having only themselves to consult. This is perfectly true. But what does my honorable friend advocate? He advocates that the whole power shall be concentrated in the General Government; that they shall have the power to create this House, so that the whole power shall be legally centred in ” one body.” The writer he quoted goes on and condemns that principle in the following words :— If the writings by which reputation has been gained are unconnected with politics, they are no evidence of the special qualities required, while, if political, they would enable successive ministries to deluge the House with party tools.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. The objections which have been raised to nomination by the Crown or the Executive Government are of very little effect at this time of day. For myself I should have preferred to have the nomination of legislative councillors vested in the Crown independently cu the recommendation of the Local Government, so as to have left die prerogative unfettered. They is no doubt that abuses formerly existed in Canada when the nominative system was in force—before responsible government was established and when the Colonial Office meddled a good deal with the affairs of the province; but now every honorable gentleman with any knowledge of historical events in Canada will say at once the case is altogether altered. So far from interfering in our internal matters, the Colonial Office now leaves us a great deal to ourselves and lets us do as we please. There never was a freer Constitution than ours. Under these altered circumstances, I should have preferred, I say, that in order to avoid all appearance of nominations for party purposes, the direct nomination of legislative councillors should have been left to the Crown or the Crown’s representative in the Confederation. (Hear.) There was one remark made by the hon. member for Wellington in reference to Mr. CARDWELL’S letter, which I think was made in error. He inferred from that despatch that Mr. CARDWELL was opposed to the nominative system. Now, the passage he alluded to was this : — The second point which Her Majesty’s Government desired should be reconsidered is the Constitution of the Legislative Council. They appreciate the considerations which have influenced the Conference in determining the mode in which this body, so important to the constitution of the Le-

      Preamble, §.24 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. We would seem to have overlooked a fundamental principle of all free governments, that governments should be carried on for the good of the governed ; and the principle of responsible government, according to which government must be carried on according to the well-understood wishes of the people. HON. MR. MCCREA—As expressed by their representatives. HON. MR. REESOR—AS expressed, my honorable friend says, by their representatives.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. Failing to do that, and failing to consent to any alteration in any one of the resolutions, however objectionable, I think it is our duty to refer it to the people for their decision upon it. I know I will be met with the objection that this is contrary to British practice—that a reference to the people in the manner I propose is unknown to the British Constitution.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    6. I vote for Confederation because I consider it essential to the maintenance of British connection, and to preserve that, I for one am prepared to make many sacrifices.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. What, therefore, do honorable gentlemen ask, when they ask that the scheme be submitted to the people ? They ask us as a Government to leave that which we consider the safe, sound, British constitutional mode of procedure, and resort to the American system of obtaining assent to constitutional alterations, by taking the votes, yea and nay, of the individual members of the whole community. What sort of a conclusion could be arrived at by that mode of procedure ? Is it possible that any hon. member of this House desires that the people should have the opportunity of saying yea or nay to each clause of these resolutions ?

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. Because the introduction of the elective principle into the Constitution of the Upper Chamber gives an undue preponderance to the popular element ; diminishes the proper influence of the Crown, and destroys the balance that has acted as a proper check upon both since representative institutions were given to the colony.

      Preamble, §.24 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. After speaking of the visit of Mr. WATKIN to this country, he closes with the following :— If our Government were to rush into the railway project, expend a large sum of money upon the road, and form a compact immediately with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, both the alliance and the road would be carried out mainly for the benefit of the dominant power in this province at this moment ; we need hardly say we mean Lower Canada. The important question to Upper Canada—her connection with the North-West Territory—would be altogether ignored, Quebec would be made the capital of the Federation, representation by population would form no part of the compact, and, instead of having one leech draining her of her resources, Upper Canada would have three. Before entering into new alliances, it should be the effort of Upper Canadians to regulate the affairs of their own province, to obtain representation by population, and to open the North-West Territory, so that when the Federation of all the British American provinces does come, it may be found with Upper Canada as the central figure of the group of states, with western adjuncts as well as eastern. Not even the most ardent supporter of the union of all the provinces can allege that there is any absolute necessity for haste in carrying out the project. Nobody is being hurt by the provinces remaining in their present condition ; no one single material interest, either in Canada or the Lower Provinces, would be enhanced in value by the union. This appeared in the Globe in 1863.

      Preamble, §.146 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. Sir, if a legislative union of the British American Provinces is attempted, there will be such an agitation in this portion of the province as was never witnessed before—you will see the whole people of Lower Canada clinging together to resist by all legal and constitutional means, such an attempt at wresting from them those institutions that they now enjoy.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. We have the history of the Greek race, having at one time a population of six millions, dwindling down to seven hundred thousand, and we find them even then, after several centuries of oppression, rising up and asserting their rights. (Hear, hear.) We have the same circumstance in the history of Belgium, which was united to Holland with a view to secure the assimilation of the two countries, but fifteen years of trial had hardly elapsed when the whole of the Belgium people and Government rose en masse to protest against that union, and to assert their separate nationality.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. I can tell those gentlemen that the people of Lower Canada are attached to their institutions in a manner that defies any attempt to change them in that way. They will not change their religious institutions, their laws and their language, for any consideration whatever. A million of inhabitants may seem a small affair to the mind of a philosopher who sits down to write out a constitution.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. Memorandum—Confidential. The Government are prepared to state that immediately after the prorogation, they will address themselves, in the most earnest manner to the negotiation for a Confederation of all the British North American Provinces. That failing a successful issue to such negotiations, they are prepared to pledge themselves to legislation during the next Session of Parliament for the purpose of remedying the existing difficulties hy introducing the Federal principle for Canada alone, coupled with such provisions as will permit the Maritime Provinces and the North-western Territory to be hereafter incorporated into the Canadian system. That for the purpose of carrying on the negotiations and settling the details of the promised legislation, a Royal Commission shall be issued, composed of three members of the Government and three members of the Opposition, of whom Mr. BROWN shall be one, and the Government pledge themselves to give all the influence of the Administration to secure to the said Commission the means of advancing the great object in view. This was the first memorandum communicated to the member for South Oxford, but that hon. member did not accept of it. This memorandum proposed the scheme which is now brought to the House, and I repeat, that scheme was not accepted by the honorable member for South Oxford, but an understanding was come to, which is to be found in the next memorandum, which was communicated to the House in these terms :— The Government are prepared to pledge themselves to bring in a measure next session for the purpose of removing existing difficulties, by introducing the Federal principle into Canada, coupled with such provisions as will permit the Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory to be incorporated into the same system of government. And the Government will seek, by sending representatives to the Lower Provinces and to England, to secure the assent of those interests which are beyond the control of our own legislation to such a measure as will enable all British North America to be united under a General Legislature based upon the Federal system. There is a vast difference, Mr. SPEAKER, between these two propositions. The first was that the Government would pledge themselves to seek a Confederation of the British American Provinces, and if they failed in that to Federate the two Canadas, and this was rejected ; the second, which was accepted by the President of the Council, pledged the Government to bring in a measure for the Confederation of the two Canadas with provision for the admission of the other provinces when they thought proper to enter.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. I would even say that the scheme of the delegates to the Quebec Conference does not go far enough. I contend that, instead of merely taking in the provinces to the east of us, the scheme should have embraced British Columbia and the whole of the territory to the west.

      Preamble, §.146 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. I think that the engrafting of this system of government upon the British Constitution has a tendency to at least introduce the republican system. It is republican so far as it goes, and that is another reason why I do not approve of it. If we commence to adopt the republican system, we shall perhaps get the idea of continuing the system until we go too far. I t is also said that we are to have a new nationality. I do not understand that term, honorable gentlemen. If we were going to have an independent sovereignty in this country, then I could understand it. I believe honorable gentlemen will agree with me, that after this scheme is fully carried into operation, we shall still be colonies. HON. SIR E. P. TACHÉ—Of course. HON. MR. MOORE—NOW, that being the case, I think our Local Government will be placed in a lower position than in the Government we have now. Every measure resolved upon in the Local Government will be subject to the veto of the Federal Government—that is, any measure or bill passing the Local Legislature may be disallowed within one year by the Federal Government. HON. SIR E. P. TACHÉ—That is the case at present as between Canada and the Imperial Government. HON. MR. MOORE—I beg to differ slightly with the honorable gentleman. Any measure passed by this province may be disallowed within two years thereafter by the Imperial Government. But the local governments, under Confederation, are to be subjected to having their measures vetoed within one year by the Federal Government, and then the Imperial Government has the privilege of vetoing anything the Federal Government may do, within two years. The veto power thus placed in the hands of the Federal Government, if exercised frequently, would be almost certain to cause difficulty between the local and general governments. I observe that my honorable friend, Sir ETIENNE P. TACHÉ, does not approbate that remark. HON. SIR E. P. TACHÉ—You understand me correctly.

      Preamble and §.90 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. But in regard to a change effected in the manner in which this is proposed, by the united wisdom of the several governments, without any convulsion

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. It is very true that the scheme of a Federal union of all the provinces has been spoken of for a quarter of a century by eminent men of all shades of politics. We may refer to the convention that was held at Kingston, at which the British American League was formed. That convention was convened by the Conservative party of Upper Canada. Subsequently, the great meeting— if I may use that expression—that was convened in the city of Toronto, referred to the same question. But I go back and appeal to the fact that at the last general election, it was not one of those questions that were referred to the arbitrament of the people to decide by their votes as to the desirability of union.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. In the discussion of so important a question as the change of the Constitution of the country, the laying aside of the old Constitution and the adoption of a new and very different one, we all ought to endeavor to find common ground of agreement.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. the same great principle is the basis of both—that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the unalienable rights of man, and that to secure these rights, governments arc instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. This is the secret of the strength of the British Constitution, and without a free and full recognition of it, no government can be strong or permanent. I am free to admit that the scheme before us has some defects, which, in my judgment, will mar its well-working ; but, at the same time, I am confident that, if it should become law, those defects can and will be remedied.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. The Federal Government will have the right of imposing taxes on the provinces without the concurrence of the local governments. Under article five of the 29th resolution, the Federal Government may raise moneys by all modes or systems of taxation, and I look upon this power as most excessive. Thus, in case it should happen, as I said a moment ago, that the Lower Canada Government refused to undertake the payment of the debt contracted for the redemption of the Seigniorial Tenure, the Federal Government would have two methods of compelling it to do so. First, by retaining the amount out of the eighty cents per head indemnity to be accorded to the Local Government, and secondly, by imposing a local and direct tax. The Lieutenant Governor of the Local Government will be appointed by the Federal Government, and will be guided by its instructions. We are not told whether the Local Government will be responsible to the Local Legislature; whether there will be only one or two branches of the Legislature, nor how the Legislative Council will be composed, if there is to be one ; we are refused any information whatsoever on these points, which are nevertheless of some importance.

      Preamble, Part V, §§.90 and 91(3).

  3. Aug 2018
    1. The Prime Minister stated that the object of Confederation was to strengthen the monarchical principle in this country. I do not see that it is necessary to confer upon the Crown greater privileges than it already possesses in England itself. In England the members of the House of Lords are not appointed by the Crown ; succession in the peerage goes down hereditary from father to son ; but here it is proposed that the members of the Legislative Council, which body corresponds to the House of Lords, should be selected by the Crown. Why should this be ? Why go beyond what is done in England itself? Is it that the Crown complains that it has not sufficient power here ?

      Preamble and §§.9 and 24 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. The 29th section of the scheme submitted to us says : ” The Federal Parliament shall have the power of making laws for the peace, the well-being, and the good government of the Confederate provinces, and in particular in respect of the following matters.” The powers of the Federal Government will be in reality unlimited. The fact of the enumeration of these thirty-seven heads does not in the least restrain the power of the Federal Government from legislating on everything. The exceptions are few. I would ask the Honorable Premier, for instance, whether the Federal Government has not the power to enact that marriage is a civil contract ? He cannot deny it, and I do not believe that that clause will in any way suit Lower Canada. In a matter of divorce, I consider that the power of legislating upon it ought to be vested in the Federal Government ; but as to the passing of a marriage act, we have the authority of the past to convince us that Lower Canada will never be satisfied with what is proposed in the plan of Confederation. On a former occasion, when a member of the Parliament of Canada moved to enact that marriage should be made a civil contract, all the members for Lower Canada voted against the motion, and the whole country was opposed to it. I shall also inquire whether the Federal Government will not have the right to enact that religious corporations shall no longer exist in the country, or that they shall not be allowed to hold real property, except what is absolutely necessary for their lodging accommodation. According to the resolutions which have been submitted to us, the Federal Government would certainly have this right. It has been said that article 15 of the 43rd resolution replies to this objection, but I can see nothing in that article which restricts the right of the Federal Government to legislate on this matter. The 43rd resolution defines the powers of the local governments, and article 15 of that resolution declares that they may make laws respecting ” property and civil rights, excepting those portions thereof assigned to the General Parliament.” That article reserves to the local legislatures nothing relative to religious corporations, and the Federal Government would have full power to decree that those corporations shall not hold immovable property. The supreme power is that which has the right to legislate upon, and regulate the existence of, the corporations in question, and they can only possess civil rights so long as the Government permits them to exist. The same might be said of most of the institutions to which Lower Canada is attached. I am therefore right in saying that, so far as those things which Lower Canada most holds to are concerned, Confederation is in fact a Legislative union, because upon the Federal Government is conferred the right of legislating upon those subjects which Lower Canada holds most dear.

      Preamble and §§.91(26)(29), 92(11)(12)(13), and 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. be more disposed to stretch its prerogatives and to trench upon the domain of the local governments than to narrow down and retain its authority. The scheme then, in my opinion, is defective in that it inverts this order and gives to the General Government too much power and to the local governments too little. As it is now, if the scheme goes into operation, tlie local governments will be in danger of being crushed (écrasés) by the General Government. The tendency of the whole scheme seems to be one of political retrogression instead of advancement.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. My opinion is, that as much power as possible should have been entrusted to the local governments, and as little as is consistent with the functions it will have to discharge to the Central Government, and my reason for entertaining this opinion is, that the Supreme Government, with its power of purse and its control of the armies, will always

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. If the Honorable Premier had shown that the proposed union would in reality give us strength, and place us in a position to improve our defences, then I would admit he had made a good case.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. would be productive of two special advantages to Canada ;—they would give us strength and durability, and at the same time settle the difficulties under which the province has labored for some years.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. in favor of the principle of the resolutions ; in other words, of a Confederation of Canada and the Lower Provinces, but I do not believe they are in favor of all the details of the project.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. It is a principle that runs through all the history of civilization in one form or another, and exists alike in monarchies and democracies; and having adopted it as the principle of our future government, there were only the details to arrange and agree upon. Those details are before you.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. The principle of Federation is a generous principle. It is a principle that gives men local duties to discharge, and invests them at the same time with general supervision, that excites a healthy sense of responsibility and comprehension. It is a principle that has produced a wise and true spirit of statesmanship in all countries in which it has ever been applied. It is a principle eminently favorable to liberty, because local affairs are left to be dealt with by local bodies and cannot be interfered with by those who have no local interest in them, while matters of a general character are left exclusively to a general government. It is a principle coincident with every government that ever gave extended and important services to a country, because all governments have been more or less confederations in their character.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. And one of the foremost statesmen in England, distinguished alike in politics and literature, has declared, as the President of the Council informed us, that we have combined the best parts of the British and the American systems of government, and this opinion was deliberately formed at a distance, without prejudice, and expressed without interested motives of any description. (Hear, hear.) We have, in relation to the head of the Government, in relation to the judiciary, in relation to the second chamber of the Legislature, in relation to the financial responsibility of the General Government, and in relation to the public officials whose tenure of office is during good behaviour, instead of at the caprice of a party—in all these respects we have adopted the British system

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. HON. MR. BROWN—I come now to the great meeting of the Reformers of Upper Canada, known as the Toronto Convention of 1859, and at which 570 delegates were present from all parts of the western province. Here are the two chief resolutions :— 5. Resolved,—That in the opinion of this assembly, the beat practicable remedy for the evils now encountered in the Government of Canada is to be found in the formation of two or more local governments, to which shall be committed the control of all matters of a local or sectional character, and some joint authority charged with such matters as are necessarily common to both sections of the province. 6. Resolved,—That while the details of the changes proposed in the last resolution are necessarily subject fur future arrangement, yet this assembly deems it imperative to declare that no Government would be satisfactory to the people of Upper Canada which is not based on the principle of representation by population.

      Preamble and §§.51, 91, and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. By this division of power the General Government would be relieved from those questions of a purely local and sectional character, which, under our present system, have led to much strife and ill-will.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. The proposition to federalize the Canadian union is not new. On the contrary, it has been frequently mooted in Parliament and in the press during the last few years. It was, no doubt, suggested by the example of the neighbouring states, where the admirable adaptation of the Federal system to the government of an extensive territory, inhabited by people of divers origins, creeds, laws and customs, has been amply demonstrated ; but shape and consistency were first imparted to it in 1856, when it was formally submitted to Parliament by the Lower Canada Opposition, as offering, in their judgment, the true corrective of the abuses generated under the present system.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. MR. BROWN—No ; the honorable gentleman ought to know that the treaty-making power is in the Crown—the Crown authorized us specially to make this compact, and it has heartily approved of what we did. (Hear, hear.) But, Mr. SPEAKER, I am told, that the people of Canada have not considered this scheme, and that we ought not to pass it without appealing to the electors for their approval. Now, sir, a statement more incorrect than this, or more injurious to the people of Canada, could not be made. They not only have considered this scheme—for fifteen years they have been earnestly considering it—but they perfectly comprehend it. (Hear, hear.) If ever question was thoroughly debated in any country, the whole subject of constitutional change has been in Canada. There is not a light in which it could be placed that has not been thoroughly canvassed ; and if the House will permit me, I will show from our historical record how totally absurd this objection is. The question of a Federal union was agitated thirty years ago, and here is the resolution adopted by both Houses of the Imperial Parliament so far back as 1837 :— That great inconvenience has been sustained by His Majesty’s subjects inhabiting the provinces of Lower Canada and Upper Canada, from the want of some adequate means for regulating and adjusting questions respecting the trade and commerce of the said provinces, and divers other questions wherein the said provinces have a common interest ; and it is expedient that the legislatures of the said provinces respectively, be authorized to make provision for the joint regulation and adjustment of such their common interests.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. By vesting the appointment of the lieutenant governors in the General Government, and giving a veto for all local measures, we have secured that no injustice shall be done without appeal in local legislation.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    6. But there is another reason why the union was not made legislative — it could not be carried. (Hear, hear.) “We had either to take a federal union or drop the negotiation. Not only were our friends from Lower Canada against it, but so were most of the delegates from the Maritime Provinces. There was but one choice open to us—federal union or nothing. But in truth the scheme now before us has all the advantages of a legislative union and a federal one as well. “We have thrown over on the localities all the questions which experience has shown lead directly to local jealousy and discord, and we have retained in the hands of the General Government all the powers necessary to secure a strong and efficient administration of public affairs.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    7. Had we continued the present legislative union, we must have continued with it the unjust system of taxation for local purposes that now exists—and the sectional bickering would have gone on as before. And can any honorable gentleman really believe that it would have been possible for a body of men sitting at Ottawa to administer efficiently and wisely the parish business of Red River and Newfoundland, and all the country between ?

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    8. And first, sir, I am told that we should have made the union legislative and not federal.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    9. And this question of immigration naturally brings me to the great subject of the North-West territories. (Hear, hear.) The resolutions before us recognize the immediate necessity of those great territories being brought within the Confederation and opened up for settlement. But I am told that, while the Intercolonial Railroad has been made an absolute condition of the compact, the opening up of the Great West and the enlargement of our canals have been left in doubt. Now, sir, nothing can be more unjust than this. Let me read the resolutions :— The General Government shall secure, without delay, the completion of the intercolonial Railway from Rivière du Loup, through New Brunswick, to Truro in Nova Scotia. The communications with the North-Western Territory, and the improvements required for the development of the trade of the Great West with the seaboard, are regarded by this Conference as subjects of the highest importance to the Federated Provinces, and shall be prosecuted at the earliest possible period that the state of the finances will permit. The Confederation is, therefore, clearly committed to the carrying out of both these enterprises. I doubt if there was a member of the Conference who did not consider that the opening up of the North-West and the improvement of our canal system, were not as clearly for the advantage of the Lower Provinces as for the interests of Upper Canada. Indeed, one gentleman held that the Lower Provinces were more interested—they wished to get their products into the west—they wanted a back country as much as we did—they wanted to be the carriers for that great country—and they were, therefore, to say the least, as much interested in these questions as we were. But honorable gentlemen lay stress upon the point, that, while the one enterprise is to be undertaken at once, the other is not to be commenced until the state of the finances will permit.

      Preamble, §.146 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    10. When recently in England, I was charged to negotiate with the Imperial Government for the opening up of the North-West territories. In a few days the papers will be laid before the House, and it will then be seen whether or not this Government is in earnest in that matter. Sir, the gentlemen who formed the Conference at Quebec did not enter upon their work with the miserable idea of getting the advantage of each other, but with a due sense of the greatness of the work they had on hand, with an earnest desire to do justice to all, and keeping always in mind that what would benefit one section in such a union must necessarily benefit the whole.

      Preamble, §.146 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    11. Four other colonies are at this moment occupied as we are—declaring their hearty love for the parent State

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    12. And no higher eulogy could, I think, be pronounced than that I heard a few weeks ago from the lips of one of the foremost of British statesmen, that the system of government we proposed seemed to him a happy compound of the best features of the British and American Constitutions.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. Canadian Empire in North America, formed by a Federal Union of all the colonies connected and linked together

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. It was said that nine-tenths of the people were in its favour; he believed that a very large majority approved of the general principle of union, but there were details of the plan which did not pass unchallenged. It was much to be regretted that the resolutions had not been introduced in such a way as would have permitted the House to place upon record its views in respect to any part of them which might be unacceptable, and to suggest to the Imperial authorities who might frame the bill, such amendments as it considered desirable.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. In 1849 and 1852 there were passed acts of our Provincial parliament to give some kind of guarantee for the construction of this (the Intercolonial) Railway.

      Preamble, §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. any proposition which involved the absorption of the individuality of Lower Canada— if I may use the expression—would not be received with favor by her people. We found too, that though their people speak the same language and enjoy the same system of law as the people of Upper Canada, a system founded on the common law of England, there was as great a disinclination on the part of the various Maritime Provinces to lose their individuality, as separate political organizations,
  4. Apr 2018
    1. He was aware that some members of the House, and a number of people in Upper Canada, in Lower Canada and in the Lower Provinces, were of the opinion that a Legislative Union ought to have taken place instead of a Federal Union. He would say, however, at the outset, that it was impossible to have one Government to deal with all the private and local interests of the several sections of the several provinces forming the combined whole.

      Preamble and §§.91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    1. It was in the main formed on the model of the Constitution of Great Britain, adapted to the circumstances of a new country, and was perhaps the only practicable system that could have been adopted under the circumstances existing at the time of its formation.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. ” That the best interests and present and future prosperity of British North America would be promoted by a Federal Union under the Crown of Great Britain,”

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. Thus, we have, in Great Britain, to a limited extent, an example of the working and effects of a Federal Union, as we might expect to witness them in our own Confederation.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

  5. Mar 2018
    1. to the form of government which should be adopted for the administration of the general affairs of the whole union, and that form was copied almost literally from the system existing in the several Provinces.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    2. having decided that the Federative plan, as he had briefly endeavored to explain it, was the one which ought to be adopted, was whether they ought to adopt the mode of government which they now saw in use in the United States, or whether they should endeavor to incorporate in the Union the principles under which the British Constitution had been for so many years happily administered ; and upon this point no difference of opinion arose in the Conference. They all preferred that system which they had enjoyed for the last eighteen years, by which the Crown was allowed to choose its own advisers ; but those advisers must be in harmony with the well understood wishes of the country as expressed by its representatives in Parliament.

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    3. It was therefore proposed, that in the Federation of the British North American Provinces the system of government best adapted under existing circumstances to protect the diversified interests of the several Provinces and secure efficiency, harmony and permanency in the working of the Union, would be a General Government charged with matters of common interest to the whole country, and Local Governments for each of the Canadas and for the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, charged with the control of local matters in their respective sections, provision being made for the admission into the Union on equitable terms of Newfoundland, the North-west Territory, British Columbia, and Vancouver.

      Preamble, §§. 91, 92 and 146 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    4. They were unanimously of the opinion that this system was more likely to operate for the benefit of the people than any attempt to introduce the American system of Government. They certainly believed that they enjoyed more practical freedom under the British Sovereign than they could under a dictator who was chosen for only four years. He believed that the administration of the country could be carried on with more advantage to the people and more in harmony with their wishes if that administration was obliged constantly to retain the confidence of the people ; and if the moment the people ceased to have confidence in those in power, they must give place to others who would be able to govern the country more in harmony with their wishes. The secret of the freedom of the British nation from revolution and disturbance was that the people had at any time the power of making the Government harmonise with their wishes, —it was, in fact, the greatest safeguard the British Constitution gave. No government In Canada could venture to set public opinion at defiance. No government could exist, except for a few short months, unless they had the people at their back ; for although parliamentary majorities could be preserved for a short time against the wishes of the majority of the people still it was impossible to deny that public opinion was, in a complete sense, represented by the opinion or the members of the Legislature. They all knew perfectly well that their representatives were chosen from amongst themselves, and he trusted that we should never in this country lose that control which had been so happily exercised by the people over the government of the day. It was, therefore, concluded that in forming an Union of these Provinces it was desirable, in the interest of the people at large, that the system of responsible government now in force should be maintained.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    5. each Legislature, and especially each Local Legislature—acting within the bounds prescribed by the Imperial Parliament and kept within these bounds by the Courts of Law if necessity should arise for their interference—would find in the working of the plan of Federation a check sufficient to prevent it from transcending its legitimate authority.

      Preamble, §§. 91, 92 and 101 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    6. in laying a basis for the union of these Provinces, it was not proposed that the General Government should have merely a delegation of powers from the Local Governments, but it was proposed to go back to the fountain head, from which all our legislative powers were derived—the Imperial Parliament—and seek at their hands a measure which should designate as far as possible the general powers to be exercised by the General Legislature, and also those to be exercised by the Local Legislatures, reserving to the General Legislature all subjects not directly committed to the control of the Local bodies.

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    7. that the reservation of what were popularly known as State rights had been to a great extent the cause of the difficulties which were now agitating that great country.

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    8. liar. But it must not be supposed, on account of the use of that term, that in the Union now proposed to be established it was intended to imitate the Federal Union which we had seen existing in the United States. In the United States, the general Government exercised only such powers as were delegated to it by the State Governments at the time the Union was formed. Each State was regarded as a sovereign power, and it chose for the common interest to delegate to the general Government the right of deciding upon certain questions, which were expressly stated All the undefined powers, all the sovereign rights, remained with the Governments of the several States

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    9. having unfortunately for our common interests comparatively little intercourse with each other, the difficulty was felt that, if we attempted to make a Legislative Union of these Provinces in the first instance, the dread, in the case of the Lower Provinces and probably of many among ourselves that peculiar interests might be swamped and certain feelings and prejudices outraged and trampled upon, was so great that such a measure could not be entertained and we were compelled to look for what was sought in a form of government that would commit all subjects of general interest to a general Government and Legislature, reserving for local Legislatures and Governments such subjects as from their nature required to been trusted to those bodies. (Cheers.) The term Federation was used with reference to the proposed Union, because it was that with which the public mind was most fami

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    10. to determine whether it should be a Federal or a Legislative Union. A Legislative Union, as they were all aware, had certain advantages over one based on the Federal system. It was a more complete union, and implied a more direct action and control of the government over the interests of the people at large. And, where a people were homogeneous, and their interests of such a character as to admit of – niformity of action with regard to them, it could not be doubted that a government on the principle of a Legislative Union was the one which probably operated most beneficially for all

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    11. the Hon. Mr. Brown and two other gentlemen representing the Liberal party of Upper Canada had entered, to address themselves to the preparation of a measure that would partake of a federal character as far as necessary with respect to local measures, while it would preserve the existing union in respect to measures common to all ; that they would endeavor, if necessary, to strike out a federal union for Canada alone, but that at the same time they would attempt, in considering a change in the Constitution of this country, to bring the Lower Provinces in under the same bond, as they were already under the same Sovereign. It was highly proper that, before touching the edifice of Government that had been raised in Canada they should address the statesmen of the Lower Provinces, and try to induce them to form a common system If it were found impossible to have a legislative union of all the British American Provinces, then they could reserve to the local governments of the several Provinces the control of such subjects as concerned them, while the rest should be committed to the cue of the General Government

      Preamble, §§. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

    12. indeed, extend them in such a way as to promote the peace contentment, and prosperity of the people, at the same time preserving in the new constitution those rights they were afraid would be subjected to injustice.

      Preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867.

  6. Sep 2017
    1. The individual lies at the core of constitutional focus and the ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity animate the vision of securing a dignified existence to the individual.

      the primacy of the individual in the preamble and the constitution