Ontario. Legislative Assembly.

Correspondence, papers and documents, of dates from 1856 to 1882 inclusive, relating to the northerly and westerly boundaries of the province of Ontario online

. (page 84 of 86)
Online LibraryOntario. Legislative AssemblyCorrespondence, papers and documents, of dates from 1856 to 1882 inclusive, relating to the northerly and westerly boundaries of the province of Ontario → online text (page 84 of 86)
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territory should receive commissions from both Ontario and Manitoba ;" or, perhaps, in.
giving effect to the further suggestion, ** that all the judges of the two Provinces should
be put in a joint commission as regards the disputed territory," if these concessions should
be required by the authorities of the Dominion a^nd of Manitoba ; but the details necessary
for carrying out these suggestions would require careful consideration by all parties

With reference to your observations on the enlargement of the boundaries of
Manitoba by the Act of last session, this Government have made no complaint of
tha^extension of that Province by the addition to it of undisputed territory. On the con-
trary, in my despatch of the 15th Marbh last, it was observed that "so far as the territory
to be comprised within the limits of the Province of Manitoba is clearly and undisputably
within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada, my Government rejoice at the
extension of that Province, as affording a wider scope for the energies of its people and
Government, and as giving to a large number of settlers in Keewatin and the North-
West territories the direct benefit of Provincial and Municipal Government. But while the
extension of the boundaries in directions as to which there is no dispute is matter of con-
gratulation," the transfer of the disputed territory to that Province was strongly objected
t5, for reasons there set forth. A hope was expressed, which the result proved to be vain,
that, in view of the representations made in the despatch, your Government might
** even yet see fit so to modify the measure before Parliament as to deprive it of its objec-
tionable features, while still conceding all necessary advantages to the Province of Mani-
toba, in whose rapid progress and development this Province, as a portion of the
Dominion, feels profound satisfaction."

The wrong which your Act of last session did, consisted, not in adding to the Province
of Manitoba nearly 100,000 miles of undisputed territory, but in making the
further unnecessary and objectionable addition of 39,000 miles of territory not only
disputed, but in factj^elonging to this Province. This feature of your Act greatly

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complicated matters, inasmuch as the Government of that Province has since
asBomed to exercise jurisdiction in the disputed territory, with the concurrence and
approval of your Government ; and inasmuch fdso as the consent of the Government and
Le^lature of Manitoba became thenceforward necessary to any arrangements which
the Federal authorities and those of Ontario might see fit to make, whether for determin-
ing the question of right, or for providing for the government of the country pending the
dilute. It is satisfactory to learn from your despatch, that your Government are con-
fident that the Government and Legislature of Manitoba would concur in any arrangement
of which your Government may approve. But if the Federal Government will make no
just provisional arrangement in regard to the lands and timber ; and continue, notwith-
standing the dispute, to deal with these as subject to their own discretion ; and yet
demand that this Province abandon the Award, and submit to a new litigation of the
question of title, as the condition of making or procuring the other just and necessary
provisional arrangements proposed, my Advisers are of opinion, and feel bound frankly
to state it, that Ontario should not and will not submit to a demand which they cannot
but consider most unreasonable.

I am advised to remind you that Ontario with its awarded boundaries has not
60 large an area as either Quebec or Eeewatin ; or an area much exceeding the undis-
puted territory given to Manitoba; or much more than half the area of British

Your despatch seems to intimate that no licenses have been issued to cut timber
east of the provisional boundary line agreed to in 1874 (you mention the year 1870,
it is presumed, by mistake) ; and you add, that information regarding all permits, licenses
and other transactions would be readily furnished to the Government of Ontario at any
time. This Government did not suppose that any licenses had been issued by the Federal
Goremment to cut timber east of the provisional line, and will be glad to be furnished
with the information promised in respect to their transactions of any kind in this part of
the disputed territory.

My Advisers regret that your Government fijive no information, and do not apparently
offer any, with respect to transactions affiecting that important part of the disputed terri-
tory which lies west of the provisional line, though such information has been repeatedly
requested on behalf of the Ontario Government My Advisers once more respectfully
insist that, whether the title of Ontario to the territory is disputed or admitted, and
whether the provisional agreement of 1874 is in force or at an end, the Government and
people of Ontario are entitled to full information respecting these transactions, including
(as my despatch of the 31st December mentioned) copies of all grants, licenses, permits,
regulations, instructions, letters, documents and papers of every kind relating to the

My Advisers regret also that your Government have not thought fit to give any answer
to that part of my despatch which referred to the reported grant to the Pacific Railway
Company of land for their line of road through the disputed territory, and (for timber
purposes) a breadth of twenty miles on each side of this road throughout its whole
length, or to my request for copies of Orders in Council and other documents, if any, relat-
ing to the transaction.

Your despatch refers to an interview of Sir John Macdonald and the Minister of
Justice with the Attorney- General on the 2l8t November last. The Attorney-General
considers that there are several (no doubt unintentional) inaccuracies in what is said
or implied in your despatch as to this interview, and as to what took place then and
afterwards. I do not deem it necessary to refer to any of t\xese inaccuracies further than
to observe that the interview was not ^* sought " by the Ministers named, but by the
Attorney-General, in letters to Sir John Macdonald and Sir Alexander Campbell respec-
tively ; and that the Attorney-General's communication to the Minister of Justice with
respect to the proposed reference to Lord Cairns or Lord Selbome was made on the 30th of
the same month, and not at a more recent date. But whatever may or may not have been
said at that interview or otherwise, your despatch states what your Government desire
now with a view to the settlement of the dispute, and what provisional arrangements
your Government are willing now to make; and, while my Government do not

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484 LIEUT.-aOV.'S despatch in reply to DOM. PROPOSALS FOR SETTLEMENT, 1882.

approve of either of the two modes of settlement whioh joa prefer in case there shoold
be a new litigation, and though they regard the provisional arrangements whioh yon
mention as entirely insufficient to justify (for the sake of such arrangements) a recom-
mendation to the Legislature of Ontario to abandon any of the awarded rights of the
Province, and at this late date to voluntarily enter upon a new litigation on the question
of Title ; still, my Government trust that the Federal authorities will recognize the duty
of making the provisional arrangements required, without attempting to exact from the
Province, as a condition, the abandonment of its awarded rights, and a new litigation
of the question of Title.

The evils which the territory is enduring in consequence of the dispute should
8urely be reduced to a minimum by every means in the power of the Federal authorities.
The dispute is by them ; the evils are of their creating ; and no one can justify leav-
ing this immense territory without settled laws and settled government. Ontario
has a special interest in this object, apart from the value of the territory, its lands and
mines and timber ; as many of the people of the Province have gone there to settle or
to trade, and more desire to go. Some local improvements, too, whioh Ontario might
at once undertake, would serve to open and develope important sections of tlie coun^.
Municipal organization is already necessary in some localities, and oar people in the
territory desire the extension to it of our school system, and desire that assistance from
our School Funds which our people in the rest of the Province receive. It is with the
laws of this Province that the settlers are familiar ; the Province has organized courts
in the territory, and has appointed officers to administer our laws. My Advisers hope
that, without attempting to exact from the Province conditions to which its representa-
tives cannot agree, ^e Dominion authorities will at last take the ''measures necessary
to prevent confusion in these important respects ; " will, as regards criminal matters,
supply by the proper legislation the deficiencies pointed out by this Government in past
communications with respect to the Dominion Statute 48 Vic., chap. 36 ; and wiU, as
regards matters of Provincial jurisdiction, obtain the consent of Manitoba to the legis-
lation immediately required for placing beyond question the subjection of the territory to
all the laws of Ontario, until the termination of the dispute which the Dominion authori-
ties have raised. My Advisers respectfully suggest that the simplest and best way
of accomplishing the last of these necessary objects would be, by obtaining from the
Legislature of Manitoba an Act consenting to the repeal of so much of the Act of last
Session as had the effect of assi^ing to that Province the claim of the Dominion to
89,000 square miles of the disputed territory, and by procuring from the Federal Parlia-
ment an Act giving effect to such consent, and containing the other necessary provisi ins
for securing the important objects mentioned.

But I am advised that no provisional arrangement would be so satisfactory, or so
beneficial to the development and settlement of the territory, the maintenance of order,
and the due administration of justice therein, as the just course of obtaining, without
further delay, by proper legislation from the Federal Parliament and the Legislature of
Manitoba, the recognition of the Award as a final adjustment of the boundaries of this
Province. The evils already endured are beyond recall, but the continuance or aggra-
vation of them from this time forward is in the hands of your Government.

I earnestly commend all these considerations to the best attention of the Federal

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

J. B. Robinson.
To the Honourable J. A. Mosseau,

Secretary of State, Ottawa.

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Resolutions of the Legislative Assbmblt of Ontabio BESPBoriEa the Boundary
Question, and Resolutions Peofosed in Amendment^ 9th March, 1882.*

The Attomey-Goneiral moved, seoonded by Mr. Pardee, the following

resolutions :

1. That, having considered the despatches of the Government of Ontario to the
Federal Government, dated respectively Slst December, 1881, and 18th February,
1882, and a report of the Attorney-General, dated 1st November, 1881, on the subject of
those portions of this Province to which the Federal authorities have asserted an unjust
and unfounded claim, this House desires to record its concurrence in the views and repre-
sentations which are expressed in the said despatches and report.

2. That the persistent endeavours of the Federal authorities to deprive this Pirovince
of one-half of its territory are, in the interest of the people of Ontario, to be opposed by
every constitutional resort within the reach of this Province.

3. That this House protests against the conduct of the Federal C^ovemment in enforc-
ing a pretended ownership in this territory ; in assuming to make sales therein without
the concurrence of the Provincial authorities ; in promoting, under colour of Federal
grants and licenses, the destruction of its valuable timber ; in inducing the inhabitants
to set at defiance the laws and authority of this Province ; in prevailing on a neigh-
bouring Province to assume jurisdiction in the territory by establishing courts and by
other executive acts, and thereby to assist the Federal Govefnment in neutralizing or
embarrassing the territorial jurisdiction of this Province.

4. That a unanimous award was made on the 3rd August, 1878, determining the
boundaries between this Province and the territories of the Dominion ; that this award
was made in pursuance of a reference designed to be binding and conclusive, entered
into by the two Governments in good faith, with the knowledge of the Parliament
of Canada, and acquiesced in until long after the proceedings under the reference had
terminated ; that ^is awurd was made by distinguished Arbitrators of the highest char-
acter, after an exhaustive collation of all known evidence bearing on the subject ; that
the award assigned to Ontario less territory than His Excellency's present advisers,
as well as previous Canadian Governments, had, in other contentions, invariably claimed
to lie within this Province ; that more than two years elapsed before the Federal Govern-
ment gave any notice of an intention to reject the award ; and that the course of the
Federal Government in now rejecting such an award is unprecedented in British practice,
is opposed to the usages of civilized government, and is a grievous wrong to the people of

5. That the extension of Manitoba by the Federal Act of last Session receives, so far
as the territory added is undisputed, the hearty approval of the inhabitants of Ontario ;
but, in the name of the people of this Province, this House protests against the transfer
attempted by the same Act, of 39,000 square miles of the territory which was awarded
to this Province, and which forms by far the most valuable portion of that territory ;
that such transfer greatly aggravated the difficulties already created by the unjust pro-
ceedings of the Federal Government, and con only be regarded as an act of direct anta-
gonism and hostility to the interests and rights of this Province.

6. That while the attempted transfer to another Province of any part of the territory
awarded to Ontario was a grievous wromg to this Province, this House cannot too strongly
express the injustice of including in the transfer 7,000 square miles of the Ontario
District of Algoma, south of the height of land, which before Confederation had been an
undisputed part of Upper Canada de factOy had been settled by its people and governed
by its laws, to which no counter claim had been set up from any quarter, and which
after Confederation continued to be regarded and dealt with as an undisputed part of
this Province, until the present controversy arose ; that the British North America Act
expressly declared that what " formerly constituted the Province of Upper Canada shall
constitute the Province of Ontario ; " and, tiierefore, that every consideration of Imperial

* Journala Ler?. Ass., 1882, vol. 15, pp. 154-16L

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intention, as well as of justice and fair dealing, demanded from the Federal authorities a
confirmation of the title of Ontario to this part of the territory, even if such confirmation
had, in law, been required.

7. That it is on the westerly side of this Province that, independently of ihe awatd^
the title of Ontario to the territory is the most clear, and the territory the most valuaUe ;
that it is in this part of our unorganized territory that undisputed authority and a
vigorous administration of the law are most needed for the maintenance of peace and
order, the suppression of illicit liquor Hselling, and of drunkenness, immorality, and crime ;
that the course of the Federal Government has to a large extent paralyzed the efibrts
hitherto made under the authority of this Province for the prevention of disorder ; that
by the effect of the Dominion Act of last Session relating to Manitoba, and by the action
taken thereunder with the concurrence and approval of the Federal Government, two sets
of Provincial laws distract settlers ; two sets of Provincial courts and officers are set in
array against one another ; no sure title can be obtained to any land or timber in tile
territory ; squatters and trespassers, so far as Federal authority can accomplish such a
result, are to be the only settlers ; the country is being stripped of the timber whidiisits
most valuable product; capital and immigration are diverted to other territories, where a
settled Government and settled laws prevail ; an interest antagonistic to this Province is
created in those who go to the territory, by giving to them seeming titles the validity of
which depends on resisting successfully the authority of Ontario ; and complications arb
created which, if allowed to continue without interference, will seriously impede the
practical incorporation o^the territory with this Province, to which it belongs.

8. That the policy of the Federal authorities is inexplicable except in the light of the
avowal which, in the debate in the House of Commons on the Mcuiitoba Bill, was publicly
made by the First Minister, when he announced that the purpose was to '* compel " the
Government of this Province not to insist on the awarded boundaries ; was to " compel "
them " to come to terms," and to induce such a condition of the territory that " they
must do so ; " and the Minister predicted that the Government of this Province would
** come to terms quickly enough when they found they must do so." That this House
approves of the refusal of the Government of this Province to be coerced into consenting
to the proposals contained in the despatch of the Federal Secretary of State to His Honour
the Lieutenant-Governor, dated the 27th January last, which were the only terms pro-
posed to this Province since the award.

9. That it would be most unjust for the Federal authorities to entangle this Province
in a second litigation, especially after having delayed for more than three years since
the award to propose any mode or terms of settlement. But this House concurs with the
Government of the Province in recognizing the possible expediency, under all the circum-
stances, of an immediate reference to the Privy Council of the questions of the award
and the boundaries, on the condition (in order to avoid further delay and unnecessary
difficulty) that the reference shall be based on the evidence collected and printed for the
Arbitrators, with any additional documentary evidence, if such there is ; and on the further
condition that, pending the reference, the territory, its population and lands, shall, by the
legislative consent of all parties, be subject in all respects to the laws of this Province,
including the jurisdiction of its Legislature and Government

10. That as provisional arrangements to this effect have been ineffectually pressed
on the Federal Government, it cannot be forgotten, in deciding upon the future policy of
the Province, that the forbearance hitherto exercised in hope of an amicable settlement
has been taken advantage of by the Federal authorities to destroy our timber, and to
complicate to our prejudice our relations with the territory ; that the territory belongs to
Ontario, and not to either the Dominion or Manitoba ; that before Confederation it was
claimed by successive Governments of the Province of Canada as belonging to Fpper
Canada ; that after Confederation the same claim was made in official documents and
otherwise, by Federal Ministers, and was by them, on behalf of the Dominion, affirmed to
be a clear title, such that " no impartial investigator of the evidence in the case pould
doubt it ; " that inasmuch as the territory forms part of Ontario, it follows that the only
legal government which is possible in the territory is government by Ontario ; that the
o^y laws which are in force are the laws of Ontario ; that the only grants of land which

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'Can convey a legal title are grants by this Province ; that valid licenses for mining or for
<nitting timber can be issued by this Province alone ; and that all the acts of the Federal
Government in pretending to deal with lands, timber or mines, and all legislative and
executive acts of the Province of Manitoba with reference to the territory, are illegal and
of no force or validity. In view of these considerations, it has, in the opinion of this
House, become the duty of this Province to assume without further delay the full gov-
•emment and ownership of the territory, without reference to the claims of the Federal

11. That this House is unwilling to believe that the Federal authorities are so deter-
mined to make the territory a prey to unsettled government and disputed jurisdiction,
4tnd so determined to ^' compel " this Province to abandon its just and awarded rights,
that the Federal Government will oflfer forcible resistance to the laws and the constituted
authorities of Ontario ; and this House is of opinion that, while collision with the Federal
authorities is to be avoided, the stipendiary magistrates and the other officers of this Prov-
ince should be instructed to see ih&t as far as possible our laws are enforced, peace and
order preserved, and justice duly administered as in other parts of this Province, and that
trespassers are not allowed to destroy the property of the Province ; and if the authori-
ties of this Province should, in the discharge of their constitutional functions, be resisted
by Federal authority, the responsibility is to be left with the Federal authorities, and the
remedy to the people whom the Federal and Provincial authorities respectively represent.

Mr. Meredith moved, seconded by the Hon. Mr. Morris, by way of .


That all the words in the first Eesolution after the word *' That" be struck out, *and
the following substituted therefor : " by the provisions of the British North America
Act, 1867, the limits of the Province of Ontario are declared to be those which formerly
<x>nstituted the limits of Upper Canada.

" That neither the Government nor the Parliament of Canada has, or has ever claimed
to have, any authority, without the express consent of the Province, to define its boun-
daries, or to in anywise interfere with its territorial rights or limits.

'' That differences having arisen between the Governments of the Dominion and of
the Province with reference to the true boundaries of the Province, the Government of
Ontario entered into negotiations with the Government of the Dominion for the determi-
nation of the true situation of the northerly and westerly boundaries of the Province, as
•defined by the British North America Act, and in the first Session of the year 1874,
obtained from this House its sanction for the submission of the questions in dii^ute either
to arbitration or to the Judical Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council, but the Gov-
•^mment of the Dominion (then led by the Hoiiourable Alexander Mackenzie) failed to ask
or to obtain the like authority from the Parliament of Canada.

''That in the year 1874 an agreement was entered into between the two Govern-
ments for the administration and disposal of the lands within the limits of the territory
in dispute, and by that agreement conventional boundary lines were adopted, and it
was agreed that the Government of Ontario should, * until the final adjustment of the
true boundaries of the Province,' have the charge, management, and disposal of the
lands east and south of such conventional boundaries, and the €k>vemment of Canada
of the lands west and north of them, in each case subject to account when the true
boundaries should be definitely adjusted ; and the Dominion authorities have, ever since
the agreement was made, and under the authority of it, been and are now in possession
of the land west and north of the said conventional boundary lines ; and the I^ovince of
Ontario has been and is in undisturbed possession of the lands east and south of the
;8aid conventional boundary lines, which last-mentioned lands comprise two-thirds of the

Online LibraryOntario. Legislative AssemblyCorrespondence, papers and documents, of dates from 1856 to 1882 inclusive, relating to the northerly and westerly boundaries of the province of Ontario → online text (page 84 of 86)