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Joseph Bishop Keller.

The Mowat government. Fourteen years of liberal legislation and administration. 1871-1885 online

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1/ v:



THE



OWAT GOVERNMENT.



FOUETEEN YEAES



OP



-v-A



eral Legislation and Administration,



18T1-1885.



PRINTED BY HUNTER, ROSE & COMPANY.

1886.



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:sw^^1



CONTEISTTS.



flTTRODUCTrON , . . . • • .

L Legislation

Private Bill Legislation . .

Public Bill Legislation . . . • . . • .

General Legifllation, including Parliamentary, Municipal, Educational, Re
formatory and Charitable Institutions ; Liquor Traffic ; Labour Laws ;
Statistics ; Agriculture ; Crown Domain ; Law Reform ; Insurance
Financial Legislation, including Railway Aid ; Surplus Distribution ; Repeal
of Taxes ; Liquor Licenses ; Drainage Investments ; Audit of Public
Accounts

II. Administration..

Qeneral Administration, including the six Departments of the Public Service.

Financial Administration, including (1) Surplus, (2) Annual Expenditure, and

(3) Comparisons with Quebec and the Dominion

III. Miscellaneous

Reasons for the Premature Dissolution of Parliament
Provincial Rights

IV. Appendices :

A. — The Bribery Case. .
B. — The Boundary Case
C. — Railway Aid
D. — School Grants

E. — Charitable Institutions and Religious Denominations
F. — Grants to Agricultural Societies (1871-85)
G. — Surplus Distribution by Counties (1871-85) . .
H. — Table of Annual Receipts from 1867 to 1885 . .
I.— Table of Annual Erpeuditure from 1867 to 1885
J. — Expenditure on Asylums for the Province
Index



PAGE.
1-2

2-40

3-4

5-40



5-36



36-40

41-67
41-59

60-67

67-73
67-70
70-73

75-77

78-81

82

84-85

86-87

88-89

90-91

97

98

92

93-96



THE MOWAT GOYEENMEIT.

^-♦-«»-»-^

FOURTEEN YEARS OF LIBERAL LEGISLATION
AND ADMINISTRATION.



The Administration of the late Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald went out of
office, as the result of an adverse vote of the Legislative Assembly, in December
1871. The Hon. Edward Blake accepted the task of forming a new Admin-
istration, and from that time to the present, the Liberal party has controlled
the course of legislation and the administration of public affairs. In 1872, Mr.
Blake resigned his seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, in order to retain
his seat in the House of Commons of Canada, and the Premiership of the Province
was, in October of that year, offered to and accepted by the Hon. Oliver Mowat,
who has ever since filled continuously the dual position of Premier and Attorney-
General.

The Mowat Administration, with some changes of 'personnel, has thus held
office without interruption for fourteen years, and has during that time passed
successfully through three general elections — one n 1875, one in 1879, and one
in 1883. On each of these occasions, the policy and the acts of the Administration
were subjected to the severest criticism, but in spite of this, and in spite of the
hostile influence of the Dominion Government, actively exerted against it in 1879
and 1883, it has never been without a fair working majority in the Legislative
Assembly.

The term of office of the Mowat Administration is the longest continuous term
of office in the annals of British parliamentary government, whether in Great
Britain or the Colonies, for the past hundred years, with the exception of that of
the first Pitt Ministry (1782-1801), and that of the Liverpool Ministry (1812-
1827). For the long period of fourteen years it has retained, without interrup-
tion, the confidence of a people second to no other in the world in political capa-
city, though during that interval Great Britain has had five changes of adminis
tration, the Dominion of Canada two, the Province of Quebec two, the Province
of Nova Scotia two, the Province of Prince Edward Island two, and the Province
of New Brunswick one. In the following pages an attempt is made, by means o^
a brief summary of the legislative and administrative record of the Movv^at Gov-
ernment, to show why it has been able to retain for so long a time the confidence

308626



2

of the people of Ontario, and also why it is entitled to a renewal of that confidence
in the appeal that is about to be made to the electors.

For the sake of convenience the review is made to include the year ] 872, the
legislative session of which was held under the auspices of Mr. Blake, and it is di-
vided into two parts, the first being devoted to " Legislation," and the second to
" Administration." Each of these is again divided into several heads, under one
or other of which will be found every matter of importance connected with the
legislative and administrative history of the Province for the past fifteen years.



I. LEGISLATION.



The legislative jurisdiction of the Ontario Legislature is expressly defined in
the British North America Act, and as there have been some disputes between
the Ontario and Dominion Parliaments as to the limits of their respective spheres,
spheres, it is expedient to cite at the outset the words of the Imperial Statute
itself Section 92 of the B. N. A. Act is as follows : —

In each Province the Legislature 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 anything in this Act, of the Consti-
tution of the Province, except as regards the office of Lieutenant-Governor.

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.

6. The management and sale of the Public Lands belonging to the Province, and of the
timber and wood thereon.

6. The establishment, maintenance and management of Public and Reformatory Prisona
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 Hospitals.

8. Municipal Institutions in the Province.

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

10. Local works and undertakings (except those of an interprovincial or international
character).

11. The incorporation of companies with Provincial objects.

12. The solemnization of marriage in the Province.

13. Property and civil rights in the Province.

14. The Administration of Justice in the Province, including the constitution, maintenance
and organization of Provincial Courts, both of civil and criminal jurisdiction, and
including procedure in civil matters in those Courts.

16. The imposition of punishment by tine, penalty or imprisonment for enforcing any law
of the Province made in relation to any matter coming within any of the classes of
subjects enumerated in this section.

16. Generally all matters of a merely local or private nature in the Province.

By the 93rd section the power exclusively to make laws in relation to educa-
tion is given, only with a reservation in favour of the rights of denominational
minorities.

A single glance at this list of subjects will show how great a power for either
good or evil is conferred on the Provincial Legislature ; and as, under the system
of" Responsible Government," the Ministry of the day are responsible for all laws
enacted under their regime, it will show, also, how important it is that that Minis-
try should be composed of men who are at once able, experienced, free from the
suapicion of corruption, and abreast of the times in their sympathy with political
progress.



A. rRIVATE BILL LB^


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Online LibraryJoseph Bishop KellerThe Mowat government. Fourteen years of liberal legislation and administration. 1871-1885 → online text (page 1 of 14)