HL Deb 23 May 1871 vol 206 cc1171-2

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, that the Bill was intended to remove doubts which had been cast on the validity of certain Acts of the Canadian Parliament. The Act of Confederation of the North American Provinces gave power to the Parliament of Canada to establish Provinces in territories admitted, or hereafter to be admitted, into the Dominion of Canada, and to provide for the representation of such Provinces in Parliament; but an Order in Council was necessary, and prior to the issue of such an Order in July last the Canadian Parliament passed two Acts providing for the temporary government of Rupert's Land and the North Western Territory, and to establish the Government of the Province of Manitoba—formerly known as the Red River Settlement. The Law Officers of the Crown were of opinion that these Acts were valid, as not being beyond the powers of the Canadian Parliament; but doubts having been expressed the Canadian Parliament had addressed the Crown for an Act in the Imperial Parliament confirming their validity. The Bill would give the Canadian Parliament power to establish new Provinces and provide for the constitution, &c, thereof much in the same way as the United States Government dealt with territories; it gave power to alter the limits of constituted Provinces; and enabled the Canadian Parliament to legislate for any territory not for the time being included in any Province. He would take this opportunity of mentioning the success of last year's expedition to the Red River—or Manitoba, as it was now called—and the discretion and energy displayed by Mr. Archibald, the gentleman appointed Governor by the Canadian authorities, whereby a serious difficulty was adjusted. A provincial Legislature had been elected in Manitoba, fairly representing the different races and opinions, the accession of British Columbia to the Confederation secured, and there was a prospect of railway communication between it and the Atlantic Provinces. He augured a flourishing future for a terri- tory which, till recent times, was only inhabited by the buffalo and the Red man.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Kimberley.)

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday the 5th June next.