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Constitution of tlie Dominion of Canada 




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CERTiriEi) Copv of a Report of a Comviittee of the Honoiirahle the Privy Council, 
approved by His Excellency the (lovernor General in Council on the lith April, 

T lie Committee of the Privy Council have hud their attention called to a Cir- 
cular Despatch of the iJ6th of March, 1888, and to Despatch (general) of the 18th of 
December, 1888, from the Eight Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 
requesting that Your Excellency will at your earliest convenience give him the 
informsition therein requested for presentation to the House of Commons, respecting 
the Executive, etc., of the pominion. 

The Seci'ctary of State, to whom the Despatches were referred, has caused to be 
prepared a paper herewith, giving a general view of the Constitution of the Dominion, 
including also a section devoted exclusiveb' to the Constitution and powers of the 
Local or Provincial Cxovernments, as well as to the Judiciary and Municipal sj'stem. 

The Minister observes that introductory to the paper a few necessary historical 
notes have been given, touching the growth of Parliamentary institutions and 
Responsible Government in the several Provinces of Canada. 

The Committee recommend that Your Excellency be pleased to forward a copy 
of this minute, together with the paper submitted to the Colonial OflSce, in answer to 
the cii'cular despatch above mentioned. 

All which is respectfully submitted, 


Clerk, Privy Council. 
The Honourable 

'I'lie Secrotaiy of State. 


1. — IIlSTOllV, 

Caiuida is said to have been discovered in 1497 by John and Sebastian Cabot, 
under commission from. King Henry VII. of England. In 1524, the coast from 
Carolina to Nova Scotia, and all the region lying beyond, was claimed by Jean Ver- 
ra/zani as possessions of Francis I. of France, under the name of "New France," a 
name which was afterwards applied to most of the territory claimed to belong to 
that nation in the New World. Ton years later Jacques Cartier, of St. Malo, 
explored the St. Lawrence, and, in the following year, took possession of certain 
territor\' in Canada, or New Prance, under authoiity from the French King. Nova 
Scotia was first colonized by the French in 1598. Canada proper remained under the 
sovereignty of France up to 1759, when, by force of arms, it passed to English I'ule ; 
it was formally ceded to Great Britain under the Treaty of Paris, 1763. As early as 
1758 representative institutions were granted to Nova Scotia, which then embraced 
New Brunswick also. In 1785 the latter was erected into a sopamte colony, with a 
representative assembly. In 1768, Prince Edward Island was annexed to Nova 
Scotia, but was constituted a separate colony with a Legislature in 1770. In 1791, 


Canada proper (i. e., the prosoiit Proviiicos of Ontario and Qtiobco) waH divided into 
two Provinces with roproHontativo institutions. Those Provinces, now to he known 
as Upper and Lower Canada, remained with heparato Logisladires until 1841, when 
they wore united in a Legislative Union under the name of Canada. In that year 
also Eesponsible Government was conceded to Canada, which was the firoL British 
dependency whei'ein this important measure of Colonial administrative reform was 
introduced ; but the principle was not definitely established until 1847. In the fol- 
lowing year Eesponsible Government was introduced in Nova Scotia and also in New 
Brunswick. It was not. however, established in Prince Edward Island until 1851. 
The several British North American colonies remained in this position until the 27th 
May, 1867, when, under the British North America Act of that year (IJO Vic, cap. 8, 
Imperial Statutes), popularly known as the Act of Confederation, the Provinces of 
Canada (i, e.. Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, were tederally 
united as a Dominion under the name of Canada. Since then the Provinces of 
Manitoba, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, with the unorganized terri- 
tories of the North West, have been incorporated in the Union, leaving, at the pre- 
sent time, but one Colony of the British North American group (Newfoundland) to 
be admitted therein to complete the great design of Canadian Confederation. The 
total estimated area of the Dominion is 3,610,257 square miles ; the total estimated 
population about five millions. 


The system of Government established in Caiuida under the Act above cited, 
and which system was unknown in Great Britain or her Colonies until so inti-oduced 
and applied, is a Federal Union, having a General or Central Government controlling 
all matters essential to the general development, the permanency and the unity of 
the whole Dominion, and a number of Local or Provincial Governments, having the 
control and management of certain matters naturally and convenientl3' falling within 
their defined jurisdiction, while each Government is administered in accordance with 
the British system of Parliamentary Institutions. By this Act the Imperial Parlia- 
ment practically gave to the Dominion Parliament the largest possible rights 
which can be exercised by a Colonial dependency of legislating on all matters 
of importance to the Union generally. The position Canada consequently occupies is 
that of a semi-independent power. The powers vested in the Pai-liament of Canada 
are set forth in the 91st section of the Confederation Act, which provides that the 
Queen, with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons, may 
" make laws for the peace, order and good Government of Canada, in relation to all 
" matters not coming within the classes of subjects by this Act svssigned exclusively 
"to the Legislatures of the Provinces ;" and for greater certainty it is declared that 
" the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to all 
matters coming within the classes of subjects next hereinaftci- enumerated," that is 
to say : — 

1. The public debt and property. 

2. The regulation of trade and commerce. 

3. The raising of money by any mode or system of taxation. 

4. The borrowing of money on the public credit. 

5. Postal service. 

6. Census and statistics. 

7. Militia, military and naval service and defence. 

8. The fixing of and providing for the salaries and allowances of civil and 
other ofiicers of the Government of Canada. 

1). Beacons, buoys, light-houses and Sable Island. 

10. Navigation and shipping. 

11. Quarantine and the establishment and maintenance of Marine Hospitals. 

12. Sea-coast and inland fisheries. 

13. Ferries between a Province and any British or foieign country or between 
two Provinces. 


14. Currency and coinnge. \ 

15. Banking, incorporation of banks, and the issue of paper money, 
IC. Savings' Banks. 

1*7. Weights and Measures. 

18. Bills of exchange and promissory notes. 

19. Interest. 

20. Legal tender. 

21. Bankruptcy and insolvency. 

22. Patents of invention and discoveiy. 

23. Cop3'right8. 

24. Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians. 

25. Naturalization and aliens. 

26. Marriage and divorce. 

27. The Criminal law, except the constitution of courts of criminal jurisdic- 
tion, but including the procedure in criminal matters. 

28. The establishment, maintenance and management of Penitentiaries. 

29. Such classes of subjects as are expressly excepted in the enumeration of 
the classes of subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the 

By the 92nd section the Act defines the powers of the Local Legislatures, which 
in each Province may exclusively make laws in relation to matters coming within 
the classes of subjects next hereinafter enumerated, that is to say: — 

1. The amendment, from time to time, notwithstanding anytning in this Act, 
of the Constitution of the Province, except as regards the office of Lieutenant 

2. Direct taxation within the Province, in order to the raising of a revenue for 
Provincial purposes. 

3. The borrowing of money on the sole credit of the Province. 

4. The establishment and tenure of Provincial offices and the appointment 
and payment of Provincial officers. 

5. The management and sale of the public lands belonging to the Province 
and of the timber and wood thereon. 

fa". The establishment, maintenance and management of public and reforma- 
tory Pj'isons, in and for the Province. 

7. The establishment, maintenance and management of hospitals, asylums, 
Charities and eleemosynary institutions in and for the Province, other than Marine 

8. Municipal institutions in the Province. 

9. Shop, saloon, tavern, auctioneer and other licenses, in order to the raising 
of a revenue ifor Provincial, local or municipal purposes. 

10. Local works and undertakings other than such as are of the following 
classes : — 

(a.) Lines of steam or other ships, railways, canals, telegraphs, and other 
works and undertakings connecting the Provinces with any other or others of the- 
Provinces, or extending beyond the limits of the Province. 

(b.) Lines of steamships between the Province and any British or foreign 

(c.) Such works as, although wholly situate within the Province, are, before or 
after their execution, declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the general 
advantage of Canada or for the advantage of two or more of the Provinces. 

11. The incorporation of companies with Provincial objects. 

12. The solemnization of mai-riage in the Province. 

13. Property and civil rights in the Province. 

14. The administration of justice in the province, including constitution, 
maintenance and organization of the Provincial courts, both of civil and of criminal 
jurisdiction, and including procedure in civil matters in these courts. 


-3 .;' 

15. The imposition of panislimont l)y fine, ]>on!ilty oi' impriHonmont, tor 
oiiforcin<^ any law of tho Trovinco mudo in iclution to any nmttor coming within 
any of Iho clasnoH of subjects onumora'od in tliiw section. 

1(5. Genenilly all matters of a merely local or private nature in tho Province. 

On the subject of eilucation, the Act provides that while tho Legislature of a 
Province may exclusively make laws on education, nothing therein shall ])rejudi- 
cially affect any of the denominational schools (i, e. separate schools for the religious 
minorities in several of the Provinces) in existence before July, 1807, when iho Act 
camo into force. An appeal lies to tho CJovernor General in Council from any Act 
of the Provincial authority attecting any U'gal right or privilege that the Protestant 
or Catholic minority enjoyed at the Union. In case the Provincial authorities refuse 
to act for the due protection of tho rights ot the minorities, in accoiniancc with tho 
provisions of tho Constitution then the Pai-liament of Canada may provide a I'omody 
for the due execution of the law. [t may bo stated that Parliament has not, so far, 
been called upon to act on this provision. There are certain rights which tho 
Dominion and Local Governments may oxoroise in common, among which are 
agricuHuro and immigration, respecting which the General Parliament may make 
laws for any or all of tho Provinces, and each Legislature may do the same for tho 
Province over which it has jurisdiction, ])rovided no Provincial Act is repugnant to 
any Dominion Act. Kither tlio English or French language may be used in the 
Debates in Parliament, and in the Legislatures of Quebec, Manitoba and tho Nortli- 
Weat Territories ; and both these languages shall be used in the respective records 
and journals of those Houses and in the publication of the laws of Quebec. M.ii.itoba, 
and the North-West Territories ; and it may be added that eithei" language may bo 
used in pleadings or processes in the courts of Canada and in (Quebec and .Manitoba. 

Tho seat of Government of Caiuida is fixed at Ottawa, until the Queen otherwise 

A. — Executive Power. 

Tho chief executive government and authority in Canada is vested in tho Queen, 
in whom also is vested tho chief command of the militia, and of all naval and military 
forces of or in Canada. Her Majesty is represented by a (iovernor General, 
apijointod by tho Queen in Council, but paid by Canada, whose teini of office 
usually lasts five years. The Governor General's salary is fixed at £10,000 sterling, 
and forms tho third charge on the consolidated revenue of the country. The Gov- 
ernor General is bound by tho terms of his commission, and can only exercise such 
authority as is expressly entrusted to him. He governs under tho advice of a 
Council or Ministry, known as the Privy Council for Canada, which is responsible 
to Parliament. The Governor General, as the acting head of the Executivo, summons 
assemblies, prorogues and dissolves Parliament, and assents to or reserves Bills in 
the name of Her Majesty, but in the discharge of these and other Executivo duties, 
acts entirely by and with the advice of his Council ; even in matters of Imperial 
interest affecting Canada he consults with his Council, and submits their views 
to tho authorities in England. The Koyal prerogative of mercy in capital cases, 
formerly exercised on the Governor General's own judgment and responsibility, is 
now administered as in England, pursuant to tho advice of the Ministry. Tho 
number of the members of tho Privy Council in office varies from thirteen to fifteen, 
of whom thii'teen are Heads of Departments, whose functions are regulated by 
Statute. There are: 1. President of the Privy Council; 2. Minister of Public 
Works; 3. Minister of Iliiilvvays and Canals; 4. Minister of Customs; 5. Minister 
of Militia and Defence; C. Minister of Agriculture; 7. Atinister of Inland Eevenue ; 
8. Secretary of State; 9. Minister of Justice; 10. Minister of Finance; 11. Min- 
ister of Marine and Fisheries ; 12. Postmaster General ; 13. Minister of tho Interior 
and Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs. They are paid an annual salary of 
$7,000, with an additional $1,000 to the Prime Minister. As the members of the 
Council occupy office only while they retain tho confidence of the Lower Chamber 
or House of Commons, the majority necessarily sit in that body, though there is 

alwuyH u cortiiiri rcprosoiitat'on (two iit ilio jncHoiit tirno) in tlio Upper Hnincli or 
Serinto. An adminiHt ration, when dofoiitcd on im iijtponl to tho country, UHually I 
rotiri'H at onco without waitini^ foi- tlio assombliiif^ of rarlianient. Since Confedera- 
tion came into otlbct there have been hut tliroe i)oininion Administrations, vi/,. : 1. 
Tho Government of Sir John A. Macdonaid, formed 1st July, 1867 ; resi^nod 5th 
November, 1873. 2. Tiio frovornmcnt of lion, Alexander Mackenzie, formed 7th 
November, 1873 ; resigned 10th October, 1878. 3. The second (iovornment of Sir 
.Fohn A. Macdonaid, formed 17th October, 1878, — which rcMnains in office. 

It should he added that tho (roveriior (leneral has authority to a|)point a 
Deputy or Deputies, to whom ho may delegate such of his functions and powers as 
ho may deem expedient to assign to such officer or officers. 


B. — The Legislative Power. 

Following the British model as far as circumstances permit, tho Parliament of 
Canada consists ot the Queen, an Upper House called the Senate, and a Lower 
House called the House of Commons. Tho privileges and immunities of the two 
Houses aro defined by tho Parliament of Canada, but must not exceed those enjoyed 
by the Imperial House of Commons in 1867. Tho sittings ai'o annual, but may be 
oftener. Senators are appointed by the Governor General under the Groat Seal, 
upon the recommendation of his Council. They hold office under certain prescribetl 
conditioi's, for life, and must be of tho full ago ol thirtyyoars, and have real and per- 
sonal ])roporty woith $4,000 over and above all liabilities. The, Senate is at present 
composed of 80 members, apportioned territorially as follows: Ontario, 24 ; Quebec, 
24; Nova Scotia, 10; Now Brunswick, 10; Manitoba, 3; British Columbia, 3; Prince 
Edward Island, 4 ; and the N/rth-Wost Territories, 2. Tho Senators from Quebec 
must reside in their own divisions or have their property qualification therein, but 
while it is required that in the case of 0i;?er Provinces Senators must reside with- 
in the Provincial limits, there is no legal necessity that thoy should live in a par- 
ticular county or district or have their property qualification therein. All revenue i 
or money Bills can alone originate in tho Commons, and tho action of the Senate 
concerning such measures is confined by usage to their rejection, a rejection jus- 
tified only by extraordinary circumstances. Divorce bills originate in the Senate, 
but this is a matter of convenience to which the Commons agrees without objection, 
since, under the Constitution, the Upper House has no special privileges in this 
respect. During the Session of Parliament the Senate holds a daily sitting, com- 
mencing at 3 p.m., Saturdays excepted, unless otherwise ordered. The proceedings 
commence with prayers taken from the English liturgy, and read by the Chaplain, 
a paid official. The Senate is pi'osided over by a Speaker, who must be one of their 
boiiy, who is appointed by the Governor in Council, by Commission under the 
Great Seal. Fifteen members, including the Speaker, constitute a quorum. Ques- 1 
tions are decided by a majority of voices, the Speaker having always a vote, and ' 
when the voices are equal, the decision is deemed to be in the negative. Every 
Senator and member of the House of Commons, and of tho several Local 
Legislatures, must take the oath of allegiance before taking his seat. No Senator 
can hold a scat in tho House of Commons. The House of Commons, which is 
elected by tho people for a tei-m of live years, enjoys both legislative and execu- 
tive functions, since, through a committee of its own, it governs the country. At 
the present time the House of Commons contains 215 members, oraboutone member 
for every 22,000 of the jiopulution of the Dominion. Tho ropi'osentation is re-arranged 
after every decennial census hy Act of Parliament, in accordance with the Con- 
federation Act. The Province of Quebec has the fixed number of 65 members, which 
forms the ratio of representation on which a decennial re-adjustment is based. Each 
of the other Provinces is assigned such a number of representatives as will leave the 
same proportion to the number of its population as the number 65 bears to the 
population of Quebec, when ascertained by a census. The Province of Ontario, with 
nearly two millions of people, is now represented by 92 members ; Nova Scotia has 21 
members; New Brunswick, 16; Manitoba, 5; British Columbia, ; Princo Edward 

iNliind, fi; 1111(1 tlio Noi'lli-VVoHt TorritorioH, I-. ProvioiiH to 1885 tho frHiicluKC for 
tlio Hovoriil I'roviiKiiul Lo,u;iHlatiircs wan tlio fraiiciuHO tor (ho JIouho of (JotnmoiiH, 
butin tliatyoiir tin Kloctoral KranciliiHo Act wiih puHHod lor tho whole I)orniiiloii. Tho 
frunchiHomloptc'd thoii/^h somowliat coinpliciitod in it.s detailH, in ho broad aH practically 
to bo on tho border of univorriiil HiillVago. Kvoiy intcllif^ont, indiistriouH man, who 
in a British Hubjoct by Itirth or naliiializatioii, and not a convict or a lunatic, or 
othorwiso diH(|ualitiod by law, in in u position to ([ualify hiiusolt to vote for a mom- 
bor of the Commons. Tho (pialiticatioiiH of oloctors arc moro fully Hot forth in tho 
nccompanyinj^ tabic : — 

Title (if Voter». 

Bfcil Proper! II Friinchhi. 

1. Owner. 

(ii). In liin own ri^flit. 
(//). In rifflit of wife. 
((•). HIn wife owner. 
'2. OccuiHint. 

(i(). In liiH own riKlit. 
(/(). In ri^'lit of wife. 
((•). Ilin wiftt (K:cil|iillit. 
Karnu^r's Hon. 
(((). Fatlidi' own(^r. 
(b). Motlit'i' owner. 


4. ()wn(>r'M Son. 

(«). Father owner. 
('(). Motlier owner. 

5. Tenant. 

(i. Tenant- Farnier'.s Son. 
(f(). Father tenant. 
(h). Mother tenant. 

7. Fisliennan (owner). 

8. Indian. 

Income Franchhc. 

9. Income. 

10. Annuitant, 

Occupation of I'reiniseR, or Utwidenct' 

in the 

Fleetorul DiNtrict. 


Ownertthi]) jirior to or at the date of OitieH, iSCtlX) ; tow; 
! revision of the voters' ' 


phu'eM, *1.50. 

•lldlMl ; other 

Hotli occupation and residence for one Farm or other real proiMTty, if 

e(|\iallydividedainonjf tliefatiier 

year next hefoic : (1) the date of his 
l)ein>f placed upon tlie list of voters ; 
or (2) the date of tlie application for 
the placini,' of his name on thi^ list 
of Noters. 

and sons or (if mother the owiutr) 
amontf the sons, siitticient, ac- 
cordinj? to the alnive values, to 
Kiv(f e.icli a vote. 

!SI2 monthly or sjli quarterly, or.?12 
hall ."early, iJlJO y(uirly. 

Prior to or at tiie date of the revision !Sir)0,land,lK)ats,fishinK tiK'kl(>, ftlld 
of the voters" lists. I $150 of iinin'ovement. 

Prior to or at the date of the revision 9300 a year. 

of the voters' lists, and one years' 

residence in Canada. 
Residence for one year prior to the .'SKM) a year. 

revision of the voters' lists. I 

Persons specially disqualified from voting by the Franchise Act are : Ist, tlio 
judges of the various courts; 2nd, revising and I'oturning officers and election 
clerks; 3rd, counsel, agents, attornies and clerks employed by the candidate, either 
before or during the election, and who have received or expect to receive any sura of 
money, foo, office, place or employment from any candidate; 4th, Indians outside of 
the four original Provinces ot the Coiifedeiation, Voting in elections, except in tho 
North-West Territories, is by ballot. No property qualification is demanded from a 
member of the Commons, nor is he limited to a residence in tho district for vyrhich 
ho is elected. 

The laws enacted for the presorvatioi: of the independence of Parliament and 
the prevention of corrupt practices at elections are in principle and details practi- 
cally those in operation in the Mother Country. Members of the House, when called 
to the Government as Heads of Departments, must at once resign their seats and be 
re-elected, though an exchange of office can take place between Ministers after their 
election under tho conditions laid down in the law. All officers of the Public Service 


urid conlractoi'H with tlic (lovcnirnont iiro forMddon (o eit in Parlmmont, an oxcop- 
tion boiiif^ niiulo, um in Kn^liind, of oflifoi'H in tlio militiiry Horvico. 

Since 1H74 the IIoiiko Huh i^ivcn up its juiiHdiction ovci- the trial of controvoitcd 
oioctionH, which provioiiHly had boon conaidorod by comrnittocH. The courtH in tho 
Hovoral ProvincoH are now tho tribunalH tor tho trial ot all Huch contested elcctionH. 

The lawH tor tlio provontif)n of bribery and corruption are Irict, and inoniborH 
are frequently unHoatcd for trivial breaches of tho law, committed by their a^entw 
throu|y;h iu;norance or caroleHsnoss. The election expe;iKort of candidatcH muHt bo 
published by their lo^al ai^onts alter election. Tho whole iiitont of tho law is to 
maUo oloctiouH as economical as possible, iiud ))revent all kinds of corruption. A 
candidate may bedisquali. 1 from silting in the (Jonnnons or voting, or holding any 
office in tho gilt of the Crovvu for seven years, when lio is proved personally guilty 
of bribery. 

The classes of sul incts respecting which tho Parliamont of Canada may exclu- 
sively make laws ai 'Ot forth in I'.o piocoding section of this report, and thoro- 
foro need not agaiii bo onuin'M-atoU. The fullest discussion is allowed on all quoH- 
tions, and the JIousos have r.^ver been compollod by obstruction as in England, to 
resort to "closure" of debate. As previously staled, either the Knglish or l<'ronch 
language may bo used in debate. The Standing Comnuttees of the Commons arc 
few in number, and include. 1st, the Committee of Public vXcconnts; 2nd, tho Com- 
mittee of Agriculture and Colonizat'"'<n ; JJnl, the Committee of Privileges and 
Elections, — and four Committees to whicli all Private Bills respecting Banking and 
Commorcc, Navigation and Shipping Hidlvvays and Canals, Telephone and Telegraph 
lines, Bridges, .iisuranco and tho Incorporation of Companies for < ther pur- 

fosos are referred. There are also two Committees on which members from the two 
louses sit to consider the pi'inting of dociinu nts and tho management of tho 
Library, which are mattei'S of common interest and care. The publication of the 
Del)ates of tho House of Commons is under the control of a Special Committee of 
tho House. The membership of these bodies varies in number from 2<! to over 160 
meml)ers. The most numerous is the Kailway Committee which has ]')4 members; 
Agriculture and Colonization, 10(J ; Banking and Commerce, 104; Miscellaneous 
Private Bills, 75. The committees are appointed by a Committee of Selection, on 
which the Government of the day has a majority, and both sidee of the House are 
fully represented. 

The House holds daily sittings during the SossioiiofParlia^nont, commencing at 
3 p.m. (Saturdays excepted, unless otherwise ordered), and, as la tho S'-^nate, the pro- 
ceedings commence with prayer, i-ead, alternately in English and French, by tho 
Speaker. The order of business laid daily on tho desk of each member is divided 
into Government Orders, Public Bills and Orders, and Private Bills, besides Ques- 
tions put to tho Government, and Notices of Motion, all of which are taken upon par- 
ticular days, in accordance with the rules of the House. Certain days are set apart 
for the Government business, and others for private members but near the close of 
the Session the Government control every day in the week. Tho Private Bills, 
which always outnumber the Public and Government measures, are presented and 
passed in conformity with special rules, which do not apply to the other classes. 
The Crown, with tho advice of tho Privy Council, recommends all appropriatioi's 
of public money. All measures of taxation can only be introduced by Min- 
isters of tho Crown, and must be shown necessary for the public service. 
The Speaker of the Commons, who, like the Speaker of the Senate, receives a salary 
of $4,000 per annum, is elected by tho majority at the opening of a new Parliament, 
and holds office until Parliament is dissolved or he resigns. Ho presides at all 
sittings of the House, and, in his absence at any time, is replaced by a Deputy 
Speaker, or Chairman of Committees, who is elected from the members of tho House, 
in like manner to the Speaker, at the commencement of a new Parliament. The 
latter also is paid an annual salary amounting in his case to $2,000. The Speaker 
and four morabcrs of tho Privy Council sitting in the Commons, compose a Commis- 
sion, annually appointed, for regulating the Internal Economy of the House, the 

I I 

Speaker being Chuirman of the Board. The direction and control of the Libraiy of 
Parliament, and of its officers, are vested in the two Speakers, assisted during the 
Session by a Joint Committee appointed by the two Houses. Members of the Com- 
mons and the Senate receive a setisional indemity at the rate of $10 per diem if the 
Session is less than thirty days, and $1,000 a Session if it extends beyond that time, 
together with an allowance of 10 cents per mile for travelling expenses. Twenty 
members, including the Speaker, coiistitnte a quorum. Questions arising in tlio 
Commons are decided by a majority of voices other than that of the Speaker, and 
when the voices are equal, but not otherwise, the Speaker shall have a vote. 

At th-^ last general election for the House of Commons, held in February, 18S7, 
the total number of electors on the voters' lists (excluding the North-West Territo- 
lies, where there wei-e no lists) amounted to 983,5'JO. 

C. — Local Legislatures, 

The Constitutions of the four Provinces, viz., Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and 
New Brunswick, which composed the Dominion in IHfil, when the Confederation 
Act was passed, are the same in principle and details, except in the case of Ontario, 
whei'e there is only one Chamber, a Legislative Assembly. The same may bo said 
of the other Provinces that have been admitted into the Union since the date men- 
tioned. All the provisions of the Confederation Act that applied to the original 
Provinces were, as far as possible, made applicable to them, just as if they had 
formed part of the Union in 1867. Manitoba was given a constitution similar to the 
other Provinces, and it was expressly provided in the terms of Union with British 
Columbia that the Government of Canada woukl consent to the introduction of 
Responsible (xovernment into that Province, and that the constitution of the Legis- 
lature should be amended by making a majority of its members elective. Imme- 
diately upon the union with Canada these reforms were carried out and the Province 
was placed on the same footing as all the other Provinces. All the Local or Provin- 
cial Constitutions are now, theiefore, practically on an equality, so far as the Execu- 
tive, Legislative, and all essential powers of self-government are concerned; and all 
of them have the authority, under the fundamental law, to amend their constitutions, 
except as regards the office of Lieutenant Governor. British Columbia and Manitoba 
have accor'Ungly availed themselves of their constitutional privileges, and there is 
now only one House, elected by the people, in those Provinces, in all the Prov- 
inces, at the present time, there is a very complete system of local self-government, 
adm nistered under the authority of the Confedei-ation Act, and by means of the 
follo^wing machinery : — 

1st. A Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the Governor General in Council, who 
holds office during pleasure, and shall not be removable within five 3'ears from his 
appointment, except for cause assigned, which, under the constitution, must be com- 
municated to Parliament. He is therefore anofficer of the Dominion, ai^ well as the 
head of the Local Executive, and possesses within his constitutional sphere all the 
authority of a Lieutenant Governor before Confedertion. Ho acts in accordance 
with the rules and conventions governing the relations beween the Governor General 
and his Ministry. He appoints his Executive Council, and is guided by their advice, 
so long as they retain the cor.tidenco of the Legislature. The salaries of Lieutenant 
Governors, which are paid by the Dominion Treasuiy, vary from $7,<»00, given in 
the smaller Provinces, to $10,000, paid in larger and more important Provinces, like 
Ontario and Quebec. These officers are also appointed by Commission under the 
Great Seal, and on appointment must take the Oath of Allegiance. 

2nd. An Executive or advisory Council, responsible to the Legislature, which 
Council comprises from eight members in the larger Provinces to thieein the smaller 
ones. Their official titles also vaiy in some cases, but generally there is in every 
Excutive Council an Attorney-Goneial, a Provincial Secretary and a Commissicmer 
of Crown Lands. In the Ontario Government there is a Minister of Education, consti- 
tuted in view of that branch of the local public service being considered of exceptional 
importance in that Pj,'ovince. All the members of the Executive Council who hold 


jibniiy of 
luring tho 
~ tho Oom- 
iom if tho 
tliat time, 
in;; in tho 
eaker, and 

aiy, 1887, 
Torri to- 


Scolia and 


if Ontario, 

ay be said 

date mon- 

he original 

' they had 

lilar to tho 

ith British 

>duction of 

the Legi.s- 

'e. Immo- 


or Provin- 

tho Exocu- 

od ; and all 


d Manitoba 

nd there is 

the Prov- 


ans of the 

)uncil, who 
s from his 
ist be corn- 
well as the 
ere all the 
01' Gonorul 
eir advice. 
), given in 
/inces, like 
under tho 

uro, which 
ho smaller 
in every 
ion, consti- 
who hold 

departmental and salaried offices must vacate their seats in the Legislature and bo 
re-elected, as in the Dominion Ministry, The principle of ministerial responsibility 
to the Lieutenant Governor and to the Legislature is observed in the fullest sense. 

3i'd. A Logislatui'o consisting of an elective House in all cases, with the addition 
of an Upper Chamber appointed by the Crown in three Provinces, viz,, Quebec, 
No/a Scotia and New Brunswick ; and elected by the people in one, viz,. Prince 
Edw.ard Island, The Legislatures have a duration of four years, (in Quebec tive), 
unless sooner dissolvedby the Lieutenant Goveinor. They are governed by the con- 
stitutional principles which obtain in the General Government at Ottawa, The 
Lieutenant Governor opens and prologues the Assembly, as in Ontario, Manitoba 
and British Columbia, or the Absembly and Legislative Council in the other Pro- 
vinces, with tho usual formality of a speech, A Speaker is elected by the majority 
in each Aspembly, or is appointed by the Crown in the Upper Chamber, The rules 
and usages which govern their proceedings do not differ in any material lespect 
from the procedure in the Dominion Parliament, The rules respecting Pi-ivate Bill 
legislation are also equally restrictive. The same provisions of law apply to the 
Speakership of the Assemblies as obtain respecting the Speakership of the House 
of Commons. The Legislatures of Ontario and Quebec, like the Dominion Parlia- 
ment, must sit once every twelve months; but apart from the existing usage that 
Supply has to be voted every twelve months, the Act demands an annual session. 
The number of members varies from 91 in the Legislature of Ontario to 27 in Bri- 
tish Columbia, Members of the Legislative Council, where they exist, have a pro- 
pert3' qualification, except in Prince Edward Island; but the members of the Assem- 
blies need only be citizens of Canada, and of the age of twenty-one years. They are 
elected in Ontario on a franchise which is manhood suffrage, qualified only by resi- 
dence and citizenship, and the conditions of the suffrage are hardly less liberal in 
nearly all tho Provinces, and vary little from each other, the Province of Quebec 
imposing in a few particulai'S, the most restrictions and showing an indisposition to 
adopt universal sufl'rage. Members are paid an indemnity, which varies from $800 
in Quebec to $172 in Prince Edward Island, with a small mileage rate, in most cases, 
to pay travelling expenses. The laws providing for the independence of the Legisla- 
tures and for the prevention of bribery and corruption are fully as strict as those in 
force for Dominion elections. In all cases the courts are the tribunals for the trial of 
controverted elections. Dual representation is illegal, except in the case of the Quebec 
Legislative Council, wheio a member may also hold a seat in the Dominion Senate. 
Touching the question of disallowance, it may be briefly stated that the Confederation 
Act gives the Lieutcn.ant Governor, as well as the Governor General, the power to 
"reserve" and also to "veto" a Bill when it comes before him. The classes of 
subjects respecting which Local Legislatures may make laws are set forth in the 

f)reliminary part of this report As regards the revenues of the Provinces, they are 
argely derived from certain annual subsidies receivable from the General Government. 
The Dominion at the Union assumed tho debts of the several Provinces, agree- 
ing at the same time to pay them an annual subsidy, equal to 80 cents per head of 
the population of tho first four Provinces, as ascertained by the census of 1861, except 
in the case of Now Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where it was arranged that the subsidy 
should increase each decennial census, until the population in each case reached 
403,000, Besides this subsidy, there is given to each Province an annual allowance 
for government and also an annual allowance of interest on the amount of tho debt 
allowed, where the Province has not reached tho limit of the authorized debt. Under 
this arrangement there is now paid annuallj' to the Provinces in subsidies a total sum 
of $4, 169,341, The Provinces also retain possession of tho lands belonging to them before 
eni,ering the Union, Manitoba, having no public lands at the time of its creation as a 
Province has since received a gift of swamp lands from the General Government, The 
great North West Territories, owing to their somewhat remote situation and anoma- 
lous condition, occupy a position by themselves under this division. Previous to 1888, 
the Teri'itories were governed by a Lieutenant Govoi'uor and Council, partly nominated 
by the Governor General in Council, and partly elected by the people. In that year 

■i . i 





legislation was had granting the Territories a Legislative Assembly of twenty-two mem- 
bers, but without ResponsibleGovernment. The Lieutenant-Governor, who is appointed 
by the Dominion authoi'ity tor four years, has, however, therightof choosing from the 
Assembly four members to act as an Advisory Council in matters of finance. Three of 
the judges of the Territories sit in the Assembly as legal experts to give their opinion 
on legal and constitutional questions a,} they arise ; but while they may take part in 
the debates they cannot vote. The Assembly has a duration of three years, and is 
called together at such time as the Lieutenant Governor appoints. It elects its own 
Speaker, and is governed b}' rules and usages similar to those that prevail in the 
Assemblies of the Provinces. Each member receives $500, the legal experts $250 a 
Session, besides an allowance for travelling expenses. The Dominion Treasury pro- 
vides nearly all the funds necessary for carrying on the government and for other 
necessaiy expenses. The elections are by open voting; the electors must ho bond 
fide male residents and householders of adult age, who are not aliens or unen- 
fi-anchised Indians, and who have resided within the district where they live for 
twelve months before the election. The civil and criminal laws of England are in 
force in the Territories, so far as they can be made applicable, and the Lieutenant 
Governor and Assembly have such powers to make ordinances for the government 
of the North-West as the Governor General in Council confers upon them, but 
their powers cannot at any time exceed those conferred by the Confederation Act 
upon the Provincial Legislatures. There is a Supremo Court of the North-West 
Territories, composed of five judges, appointed, like all other members of the judiciary, 
by the Dominion Government, and removable upon the address of Parliament. 
As previously indicated, the Territories are represented in the Senate by two 
Senators, and in the Commons by four members, who vote and have all the other 
privileges of the representatives of the Provinces. It may be added that there are 
in Manitoba and the Terri'ories some 45,000 Indians, who are the wards of the 
Canadian Government. As regards the total number of electors on the several 
Provincial Voters' Lists, it is to be regretted that but three of the Provinces have 
furnished the information on this head desired by the Imperial House of Commons, 
viz., Ontario, which gives an estimated number of half a million, and Quebec and 
British Columbia, whose numbers are 249,519 and 8,163, respectively. In the other 
Provinces, and in the Territories, only the total number of votes polled at the last 
General Election can be given : Nova Scotia, 1 12,773 ; New Brunswick, 118,152; 
Manitoba, 24,527 ; Prince Edward Island, 23,746 ; the Territories, 10,384. 

4th. A Provincial Judiciar}'^, which is treated of separately elsewhere in the 
section devoted exclusively to the judiciary. 

5th. A Civil Service, with officers appointed by the Provincial Government, 
holding office, as a rule, during pleasure, and not removable for political reasons. 

6th. A municipal system, whose organization comprises in Ontario, where 
the sj'stom is to be found in its most complete and symmetrical form (1) 
Townships or rural districts of eight or ten square miles, with a population of 3,000 to 
6,000, administered by a Eeeve and four Councillors ; (2) Villages with a population 

of 750, governed like the townships ; (3) Towns with a population of over 2,000, gov- 
erned by a Mayor and three councillors for each ward if there are less than five wards, 
and two Councillors if more than five. The Reeves, Deputy Reeves, Mayors and Coun- 
cillors are all elected annually by the rate-payers. Above these stands the County 
Municipality, consisting of the Reeves and Deputy Reeves of the townships, villages 
and towns within the county ; one ,of these, who presides, being called the "Warden" 
of the county. Alongside the county stands the city, with a population of over 15,000, 
governed by a municipal body of Mayor and three Aldermen for every ward, with 
powers and functions akin to those of counties and towns combined. The councils 
have power to levy rates, create debts, promote agriculture, trade or manufactures, or 
railways, and powers relating to drainage, roads, paupers, cemeteries, public schools, 
free libraries, markets, fire companies, preservation of the peace, and for all other 
objects falling within the legitimate scope of local municipal requirements. The 
exemptions from taxation comprise all Government and public property, places of 


y-two mem- 
ig from the 
ie. Three of 
eir opinion 
ako part in 
jars, and is 
cts its own 
vail in the 
erts $250 a 
!asury pro- 
for other 
1st bo bond 
or unen- 
jy live for 
and are in 
them, but 
ration Act 
'e by two 
the other 
t there are 
rds of the 
ho several 
inces have 
lie bee and 
1 the other 
at the last 
, 118,152; 
ere in the 

il reasons, 
io, where 
form (1) 
of 3,000 to 
2,000, gov- 
ive wards, 
and Conn- 
ie County 
9, villages 
Warden " 
or 15,000, 
ard, with 
Q councils 
ctures, or 
c schools, 

all other 
ats. The 

places of 

worship, and lands connected therewith, and a great number of buildings occupied 
by scientific, educational, and charitable institutions. The official incomes of the 
Judiciary and of all Dominion officials in Ontario are also exempt from taxation. 

• D. — Judiciary. 

By the Act of Confederation it is provided that the Governor General shall 
appoint the judges of the Superior, District, and County Courts, except those of the 
Cfourts of Probate in Nova Scotir and New Brunswick, and that their salaries, 
allowances, and pensions shall be fixed and provided by the Dominion Parliament. 
It is also provided that the judges of the courts of Quebec shall be selected from the 
bar of that Province ; and there is a similar provision for the selection of the judges 
in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, until the laws relative to property and 
civil rights and the procedure of the courts in those Provinces are made uniform. 
The administration of justice in each Province, including the constitution, main- 
tenance,and organization of Provincial courts, both of civil and criminal jurisdiction, 
and also including procedure in civil matters in those courts, is left to the Local 
Government. The highest court in the country is known as the Supreme Court of 
Canada. It was constituted in 1875, in accordance with the lOlst section of the Con- 
federation Act, which provides, " for the constitution, maintenance, and organiza- 
tion of a general Court of Appeal for Canada." This court has an appellate, civil, 
and criminal jurisdiction in and throughout Canada. It has also an appellate juris- 
diction in cases of controverted elections, and may examine and report upon any 
private Bill or petition for the same. The Governor in Council may refer any matter 
to the Supreme Court for an opinion which he deems advisable in the public interest. 
It has also jurisdiction in cases of controversies between the Dominion and the Pro- 
vinces, and between the Provinces themselves, on condition that the Legislature of 
a Province shall pass an Act agreeing to such jurisdiction. Either House of Par- 
liament may also refer to the court any private Bill for its report thereon. The 
court is presided over by a Chief Justice, and .. .e Puisne Judges, two of whom, at 
least, must be appointed from the bench or bar of the Province of Quebec, and all of 
whom must reside at, or within five miles of the City of Ottawa, where the court 
holds its sittings three times a year, viz., in February, May, and October. From the 
decisions of the Supreme Court, an appeal always lies, except in criminal cases, to 
the Sudicial Committee of the Privy Council. 

There is also an Exchequer Court for Canada, presided over by a judge, takeu 
from any of the Provinces, who must reside at Ottawa, or within fives miles thereof. 
The court has exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases in which demand is 
made, or relief sought, in any matter which might in England be the subject of a suit 
or action against the Crown, and in all cases in which the land, goods, or money of 
the subject are in the pc ^session of the Crown, or in which the claim arises out of a 
contract entered into by or on behalf of the Crown. It also possesses exclusive 
original jurisdiction in the matter of various other claims against the Crown. It has 
concurrent original jurisdiction in Canada, in all cases relating to the revenue in 
which it is sought to enforce any law of Canada, including actions, suits, and pro-' 
ceedings to enforce penalties, and proceedings in all cases in which it is sought, at 
the instance of the Attorney-General of Canada, to impeach or annul any patent of 
invention, or any patent, lease, or other instrument respecting lands, in all cases in 
which demand is made, or relief sought, against any officer of the Crown, for anything 
done, or omitted to be done, in the performance of his duty as such officer ; in all 
other actions and suits of a civil nature at common law or equity in which the Crown 
is plaintiff or petitioner. The court may sit at any time or at any place in Canada. 
As regards the Provincial courts, it may be said that, so far as circumstances have 

f)ermitted, the changes in the organization and procedure of the English courts 
)ave been followed in the English-speaking Provinces, and this is especially true of 
Ontario, where the Judicature Act is modelled upon that of England, and provides 
for a Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of two permanent divisions, called, 
respectively, the High Court of Justice for Ontario and the Court of Appeal for 



' I 


Ontario. The first division is again divided into three parts, Queen's Bench, Chan- 
cery, and Common Pleas. In Ontario, as in the other English Provinces, the recent 
practice of England has been followed, and though the title of Chancellor, or Judge 
in Equity, still exists in some courts, there is a fusion of law and equity. The law 
provides every legitimate facility for appeals from every inferior court in a Province, 
and causes may be taken immediately to the Privy Council in England, or, as 

generally happens, to the Supreme Court of Canada, at Ottawa, previously to going 
efore the court of the last resort for the Empire at large. The Criminal Law of Eng- 
land prevails in all the Provinces. The Eoman, or Fi-ench Civil Law exists in Quebec, 
but in the other Provinces the Common Law of England forms the basis of their 
jurisprudence in the latter department. 


t I 

; -, 



•>i-, )' 


tench, Chan- 
's, the recent 
lor, or Judge 
y. The law 
n a Province, 
gland, or, as 
isly to going 
t8 in Quebec, 
basis of their 




7 . ;--i