Article Title
Page Number
Article Type
Article Contents
Wednesday, April 25. Mr. Thompson moved the House into a committee of the whole to consider a bill to amend an act to provide a system of sewerage and water supply for the city of Fredericton, Mr. Tibbits in the chair. Mr. Thompson said the act passed last session provided for the issue of debentures to the amount of $80,000, but this sum was based on a calculation or preliminary survey of the engineer and was not quite sufficient to cover all expenses so that this bill is introduced to obtain authority for the issue of further debentures, to the amount of $10,000, to cover unforeseen expenses. It also fixes the rate at which taxation may be imposed. The bill was agreed to. Hon. Mr. Turner moved the House into a committee of the whole to consider a bill to incorporate the Baptist Annuity Association of New Brunswick, Mr. Ellis in the chair. The object of the bill is to furnish relief to aged Baptist ministers. The bill passed with a slight amendment proposed by the committee on corporation. Mr. Morton moved the House into committee of the whole to consider a bill to incorporate the Hampton Rural Centenary Co., Mr. Burchill in the chair. The bill was agreed to. Dr. Lewis moved the House into a committee of the whole to consider a bill to further amend the act to incorporate the Albert Southern Railway Co., Mr. Colter in the chair. Dr. Lewis said there was an extension of sixteen miles which this company proposed making. The company is about beginning operations on the road, and they wish the power to increase their issue of bonds. Mr. McLellan introduced a bill to incorporate the New Brunswick Quarantine Co., with a petition of Amos C. Botsford, C.W. Weldon, Hon. I. Burpee, Simson Jones, J.S. Peters, and others, praying that the bill may become law. Mr. Mcleod moved the House into a committee of the whole to consider a bill to invest the appointment of the chief of police of the city of St. John in the Common Council. Mr. Mcleod said the Common Council claimed that they should have the appointment, as they supply the money to pay the different police officers. The motion to read the bill section by section was defeated by a large majority. Hon. Mr. Gillespie moved the House into a committee of the whole to consider a bill for further continuance of chap. 119, Consolidated Statues, providing for the destruction of bears, Mr. Wetmore in the chair. The bill passed the committee. Mr. Wetmore moved the House into a committee of the whole to consider a bill in addition to the several acts relating to the city of Fredericton. Mr. Wetmore said the object of the bill was to provide that when a complaint for doing business without a license is brought against a man by the city, the burden of the proof will be with the defendant to show if he is a ratepayer. In the second place it is to compel something tangible to be paid by non-resident rate-payers, not a nominal sum, such as seven cents, which at present is the sum that a number of men pay, which accordingly makes them ratepayers of the County of York. The bill provides that to be allowed to do business in the city taxes must be paid on $100. Mr. Ellis said he was opposed to giving Fredericton anymore power in reference to this system than they now had. The law was too restrictive, and, for one, he was opposed to it. In 1820, the citizens tried to adopt the same principle in St. John, but they had grown out of it. Man had a right to travel the earth and do business where he wished. On the same principle they might tax persons coming into the city to buy goods. He did not think the committee would pass the bill. Mr. Morton said he had observed that this beautiful little city of Fredericton, during the past few years, has had considerable trouble in extorting money from so called commercial travellers. He contented that the member of York came on the floor of the House and advocated principles derogatory to common sense, notwithstanding the fact that this is the educational centre of the Province. As far as he could find out the only stir in the town is occasioned by commercial travellers. He believes the citizens of Fredericton should arise in their might and wipe out this statute. It was a shame to have these commercial men , when they come here, “bamboozled,” as they are at present. He looked upon the law as a species of internal restriction of trade and he would accordingly vote against it. Mr. McLeod thought if there was a law it should be carried out. He was opposed to the principle. Mr. Park thought the less restrictions put on trade the better. In the case of peddlers, he thought they should be taxed. In respect to this bill, he could not see why the burden of the proof should fall on the defendant. He thought it Un-British, and would oppose the bill. Mr. Wetmore said, as far as the principle was concerned, he was opposed to it; but, having the law on the statue book, he contended that they should have all possible means to have it carried out. After some further discussion by Messrs. Wetmore, White, and Ritchie, progress was reported on the bill and leave asked to sit again. At 2.45 the order of the day was taken up and Mr. Landry resumed his remarks. After briefly summarizing the arguments advanced by him yesterday, he claimed that at the end of 1882, the total floating indebtedness of the Province was $39, 473.60, but that from this should be deducted the expense account of $13,000, four-fifths of which can justly be reckoned on being received back by the Province. He criticized the proposition of the Government to issue debentures to the gross amount of the floating debt, together with what he claimed the unfair manner in which bonded and floating debts were shouldered on the late administration, as well as the items in the comparative statement between the Receiver General’s account and the advances made by check up to the 31st of October, 1882. These, he argued, were deceptive, unintentionally so, he presumed. He challenged the Government to show where they had exhibited anything which had not already been shown by the late Government. After briefly touching on the estimate of income and expenditure, he then took up the result of the election in June going fully into the details of the number elected from the different counties in support of the late administration and justifying that administration for holding the reins of power as long as it did. His allusions to a number of gentlemen, especially Mr. McManus, considerably astonished the House, being different from his usual style of reference to opponents. Some of the epithets applied were quiet strong, especially when Mr. McManus denied that he was not elected to support the late Government. His charge against Dr. Vail was promptly and emphatically denied by that gentleman; but, notwithstanding the denials made to his assertions, Mr. Landry said the majority were elected in favor of the late Government, and that the Government was justified in supposing they had been victoriously returned. Besides all by-elections were emphatically in favor of the late Government, and they could not be blamed for holding on to the reins of power. It was known when the House met how each had acted, and to their constituents they were answerable, and he would have nothing now to say on the subject. There was one more matter he had to allude to before taking his seat and that was the subject of French domination, which, for the purpose of exciting sectional feeling, had been treated in some of the papers of the day. He then read extracts from articles which appeared in the St. John Globe, Moncton Transcript, and Fredericton Reporter. He said he took this opportunity of answering these matters because the House of Assembly was the only available place for a public man to make such a reply. He was astonished that the people had the audacity to intimate that he was not allowed to hold a seat in the Government because English was not his mother tongue. In a free country like this it was but right for him to use any power at his disposal which was honorable, and when he was not allowed to join his interests with other men to run in an election in Westmoreland, using all fair means at his disposal for bringing about success. When the time arrived that he could not give expression to his views and express his sympathy for one man or another, he will feel that the time has arrived when he had better withdraw from public life; but the attempts to wage war against him because he was French was answered at the last election, when he had more men at his back than any other man in the Province and with the exception of five, to any man elected to the Dominion Parliament. He denied that there had ever been any French denomination. Until recently the French in the Province had been behind in various respects; they are now awakening and while they receive a little more of public patronage he did not believe they had more than their share, nor had they received it to the detriment of any other persons. Instead, then, of being worthy of condemnation, this ambition was laudable and praiseworthy. Why was the cry of French domination raised? Such a cry was shameful, discreditable, and bore not a shadow of fairness. In proof of his argument, Mr. Landry read a carefully prepared statement of the number of officials employed by the Dominion Government, and the amount of the salaries received, drawing a comparison between the amounts they received and the amount deservedly falling to the share of the French, and claimed that it was a sufficient answer to the cry of French domination. He concluded at 5.45, his whole speech occupying six and a half hours. Mr. Ellis replied to the accusations made in reference to the cry of French domination in the Globe, and similarly disposed of them. He said the Legislature was not intended as a place to discuss the action of provincial newspapers. However, no newspaper had treated the hon. gentleman with greater fairness than the Globe had. He (Ellis) had not, or ever had, any feeling against him (Landry). As editor of the Globe, he had a right to indite an article on the elections, if he wished, and that relating to the elections was verified as soon as the House met. The hon. gentlemen had represented him as saying that the French had placed themselves in antagonism to reforms and anything tending to the benefit of the Province. That he (Ellis) had emphatically denied. Nor did he object to the French or any other nationality aspiring to offices of dignity, but he objected to their getting them simply because they were French. He repudiated Mr. Landry’s attack in this direction, which he said was unfair. He could show by reference to the files of his paper that again and again he had done what he could to aid the French in any under taking and supported them when opportunity offered. He admitted that he had said Mr. Landry held the late Government in his hands, and he said so now. The reconstructed Government, without Mr. Landry, would have stood a much shorter time than it did, and Mr. Landry was the life of it. Mr. McManus briefly answered the charge made against him by Mr. Landry. He denied that he had promised to support the late Government, and he challenged Mr. Landry to bring one man from Gloucester to say that he (McManus) ever did so. He was amenable to Gloucester for his conduct, not to this House nor to Mr. Landry, and he was not afraid to meet his county. When his constituents thought he had served them long enough, he would be willing to give place to another man. He had been ridiculed for not supporting the late administration, but surely he (Landry) could remember that not many years ago he had taken a more abrupt turn than he (McManus) had done. He considered that his course was one he could justify, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that he had served his county to the best of his judgement. Mr. Labillois said certain circumstances has led him to address this House earlier than he intended. Certain charges made by Mr. Landry to-day called for a reply. On the hustings he had not pledged himself to either side, because he had only been in the Province a short time and he did not feel like joining either party until he learned more of them. He did not deny that he had been in financial difficulty, but he defied any man to show that in that he had not acted fairly and honestly. Hon. Mr. Blair said he did not propose to say anything about the latter part of Mr. Landry’s speech, as it did have reference to the subject before the House. He (Landry) appeared extremely dissatisfied at different things. He said that he never, when in office, paid much attention to the finances, and had asked the indulgence of the House for the ignorance he had shown about them. From what the hon. gentlemen had said the House was evidently to understand that because he did not understand the figures they must be wrong. The few points he had attempted to make can be shown to be fallacious. When the Province entered Confederation it started without any debt chargeable against its revenues. It was needless to take up each year, but commencing later he could show that instead of the late Government paying off some of the debt as he (Landry) had claimed, the debt had been increased each year. At the time he (Landry) entered the administration the public knowledge of the finances of the country was scanty and a full and accurate statement was elicited only after a resolution or demand of the Opposition. He (Blair) learned from an authentic report what the Secretary had said in 1879, and he (Landry) had heard it, and by his silence acquiesced, and on that statement he proposed to build his structure. This statement was that at that time there was $29,000 in the treasury, and it conveyed the idea that all the debt was cleared off. At a corresponding date in 1883, the returns show that $30,000 were drawn on advance from the Dominion Government and $40,000 borrowed from the People’s Bank. This has been drawn on the future income of the Province, with not a single dollar in the treasury to-day. These, with the $20,000 in 1879, make $99,000. The late Government would not have had a dollar in the fall of 1882, had they not borrowed from the Dominion Government. He knew that certain debts which should have been met in October had been deferred until next fiscal year. The House has been given to understand that the financial condition of the Province was good. He would not deny this, but he would say that when the House finds out what the condition of the Province they will say that correct disclosure has been made. In March, when the present Government assumed the responsibility the treasury was empty, and $160,00 was needed to meet expenses to July 1st. To state that fact is to state the condemnation of the Administration. The public service has been carried on at the mercy of the Dominion Government and the different banks by paying 7 per cent interest. Such was far from what he imagined was a prosperous condition of financial affairs. Still they called themselves able financiers. Mr. Blair, after an answerable rebuttal of what Mr. Landry charged as the object of the proposed change in the fiscal year, took up the question of the bonded and floating debt, which he dealt with in an able manner. In July, 1883, there will only be $77,000 due from the Dominion Government and from that to the end of the year the Government will have nothing to carry on the affairs unless a sum is borrowed, as has been, done in the past, from the Dominion Government. In reference to the charge that the estimates are as large as in former years they found it impossible to make them less owing to the condition in which they found affairs when they came into their hands. The sum was no larger than the late Government would have asked, besides during the past the Government have been in the habit of asking less than was actually required which, he claimed, was wrong. The House are asked a larger amount for public works, not because the Government wants to spend more, but to overtake if possible the errors. Claims are coming in everyday, and he considered it would require more than the large amount of $113,000 asked. Every dollar is now owed by the Government, except $3,000. All the money is required to meet the demands incurred by its predecessors, and which they have not the manliness to acknowledge. The Government should have asked $50,000 more, but have declined to do so. Another matter taken up by the Opposition is the Stock Farm grant. It was large last year; it is larger this year. Mr. Blair then gave in detail the circumstances connected with this farm and what was said by the late Government when the farm was established. Instead of furnishing sufficient land to keep the stock, they now find the farm will not produce more than half enough to keep them and the sale of the stock will not amount to one third the cost of keeping. This was one proof of the capabilities of their predecessors. Another thing is they have carried the estimates to the end of the proposed fiscal year. Then in respect to the issuing of debentures to cover the different debts, no man could show that it would be detrimental to the Province. The Government will not carry on Provincial affairs by borrowing as the late Government had done. This, he considered, covered the points made by the late Provincial Secretary in his six hours’ speech, and he therefore would no longer ask the attention of the House. Mr. Hanington followed, criticizing the speech of the leader of the Government, loudly condemning the course to be pursued and prophesying the speedy downfall of the present administration. He claimed that the speech delivered tonight was the same as he (Blair) had made in Westmorland. It was not a refutation of Mr. Landry’s remarks, and, in short, was simply a garbled statement intended to deceive. The establishment of the Stock Farm, he maintained, was a subject of congratulation to the Province and was a source of good. The changing of the fiscal year was another way in which the Government were deceiving the county. They had placed matters in a false light. He then took up the different items in the estimates. His allusions to some of them were of extremely lively character, and furnished considerable amusement to the House and the spectators, but they were marked rather by violence than by logical reasoning. In reference to the fact of demands being made on the Government on account of old chains, he said most all of the claims were met. Some they did not think should be paid. Mr. Hanington concluded his address at 11.15. The House adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.