Session 2, Day 2: 27 April

NB: text taken from Archives of Manitoba, MG3 A1-15, Red River Disturbance collection, “Seasonal [sic: Sessional] Journal of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, March 1870,” appears in black; text taken from other sources appears in grey.

Previous page: Session 2, Day 1: 26 April

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Assembly Chamber, Upper Fort Garry

Wednesday, 27 April 1870[1]

The President took the chair at three o’clock P.M.

The minutes of the proceedings having been read and confirmed,

The President suggested that as the report of the special committee on the laws was now in the hands of the Printer, and as members could discuss it more intelligently with the printed document before them, it might be well to postpone the discussion upon the report until it appeared in its printed shape.[2]

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Poitras, that in the meantime the reports of the committees on the Hay Privilege question should be read and considered — Carried on a division.

The following reports were then laid before the House:[3]

Kildonan

The following committee was appointed:— Alex. Sutherland, Hugh Polson, John Fraser, D. Matheson, John Gunn, Neil Campbell.

The following resolution was moved by Mr. John Fraser and seconded by Donald Matheson. That the Committee are agreed, and do recommend to the Legislative Assembly, that we hold the Two-mile hay Privilege as heretofore until treaties be concluded with the Indians, and their title to the same be legally extinguished; otherwise difficulties may arise by interfering with Indian land — Carried.

James A. Murray, Sec’y. for Meeting.

Kildonan, April 25, 1870.

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE

 At a public meeting called by the Hon. Wm. Garrioch, at Portage La Prairie, on the 19th day of April, 1870, a committee was appointed to report to the President and Legislative Assembly, in reference to the Two-mile hay Privilege question.

Committee appointed were as follows: — Mr. Cummings, John McLean, Thos. Anderson, John Garrioch, P. Bartlett.

Resolved by the above committee:—

That we claim only the two miles from our original starting point, as established by our local laws when in existence; as, there are claims already taken, and in some cases partly improved, on what would be our two-mile hay privilege.

Charles Curtis, Secretary.

HIGH BLUFF

At a public meeting held at the residence of Hon. John Norquay, High Bluff, 12th April, 1870; it was unanimously resolved that a committee be appointed to consider the Two-mile hay Privilege.

Resolved, That A. Spence, A. Peterson, John Foulds, and Joseph Halcro be the committee formed.— Carried.

The committee, after consulting the people,

Resolved, That they require the Two-mile hay Privilege, and pray the hon. Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia to cause the “Hay Bill” to become law.

John McDonald, Sec’y.

John Norquay, Chairman

POPLAR POINT

Hon. Mr. G. Gunn said — I do not bring any written report from Poplar Point, but will briefly give the opinion of the people on the question of the hay privilege. The land in that section was never surveyed; and as the river is very crooked, nobody can tell with any exactitude where the front lots will be. In some places they are settled two and three miles from the river, owing to the depth of the points, and it would be very difficult to say how to deal with the lots here, in the absence of a general survey. A base line has, in fact, yet to be formed to survey from. Some have long narrow strips, and think they would be in a better position hereafter were they to take land in square blocks. I have been requested to say, generally, that our people would like to have their land surveyed, and that in the meantime the hay privilege should be allowed to remain as it was. When the survey is made, it is expected that the deep points will be cut off, a base line will be run in front or behind, and behind that they can take up their land either in strips or square blocks.

ST. ANDREW’S

Hon. Mr. Hay reported. I called a meeting of ten of the parishioners of St. Andrew’s parish on the 11th inst., when it was proposed by Mr. Gunn, and seconded by Mr. Tait, that the wish of the people was, that the two-mile privilege should be converted into a fee simple ownership, but that they could not see any possible means of effecting the conversion at present. A vote on the resolution resulted in a tie — 5 being for it and 5 against it. We then adjourned till the 25th, when we met and resolved that it was better for us at present to have matters remain as they were until the Indian title was extinguished. Our people have no fear of incomers settling behind them, and altogether think it better that no change should be made in regard to this hay privilege at present.

ST. JAMES’S

Hon. Mr. McKay reported. I called a meeting in our parish for the 11th inst., but no one attended; and I concluded they took very little interest in the matter, as they have no two-mile hay privilege. In St. James’s parish we are so situated, that some of the lots do not run out the two miles, and others do not extend over three. Since the day I called the meeting, I have heard that the people of that parish do not wish the privilege converted into ownership. It is thought best that matters should remain in this respect as they have been. The fact is, they have no hay privilege for the most part. For myself I can state that I have a great deal of land there, and I never cut a forkful of hay on any of my lots. Had we been confined to our hay privilege, the fact is we would never have had any hay. Talking with some of my neighbours, they told me that they preferred leaving the claims as they were, and that if a plan could be devised by the Provisional Government, by which the people of that parish could get a land-reserve, they would prefer it. For my part I would say, that I would prefer that this House would grant a reserve of land to the people of the Assiniboine, where they could get wood and hay; and I do not imagine that, in doing this, the Government action would at all injuriously affect the Indian title to the land. I am positive if we do not get it now, we never will get it. Personally, I stand here now as a Half-breed, on behalf of my country-men, to say that we urge this claim. We want some land where wood and hay can be obtained. We are living in a quarter where, if we do not get this reserve, neither wood nor hay can be procured; and, in getting this reserve, I do not consider that we would take any title from the Indians. Even if we got this grant now, the Indians would have the good of it for many years — perhaps even more than we would. It would still remain in a wild state, so that the Indian could make what use of it he pleased.

ST. PETER’S

Hon. Mr. Sinclair reported in Indian, which was translated by Hon. Mr. McKay. I called a meeting in our parish, said Mr. Sinclair, but could not make those who attended clearly understand my object, and though Rev. Mr. Cochrane spoke very much in my favor, I failed in getting a committee. Those that attended the meeting were desirous that the hay privilege should be converted into ownership, but I know that a great number do not desire this, because they say, the Indians would not be satisfied with it.

President — Is your parish included in the reserve?

Hon. Mr. Sinclair — Yes.

Hon. Mr. Bunn — But Hon. Mr. Sinclair represents the settled Indians only.

WINNIPEG

Hon. Mr. Olone reported. He said — I called a meeting in my district, but nobody attended. Then I went to see all those having an interest in the hay privilege, and they expressed the wish that it should be allowed to remain as at present. There would be a difficulty in my district in regard to the way the lines are run on the Assiniboine.

ST. CLEMENT’S

Hon. Mr. Bunn reported. He said — In accordance with the bill which passed this House last session, immediately on my return home, I formed the following committee — J.E. Harriott, W. Cochrane, J. Whiteway, J. Kippling, Thos. Lyons, Peter Spence, Alex. McKenzie, C. Spence and Thos. Foster, — making ten, the maximum number fixed for each committee. At our first meeting I laid before them the object of assembling, viz, to consider the question of converting the Two Mile Hay Privilege into a fee simple property, and the best mode of doing so, to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. I had carefully considered the bill as it stood, and pointed out, so far as I knew, the parties concerned. I took the view, that there were only two parties,— those that got the property, and those they got it from. The first owners of the property were the Indians, and I urged that we should think of them, and if they had any claim at all, as I supposed they had, I would like to know what it actually was. The question as to the expediency of converting the hay privilege into absolute ownership, I left with the committee. They were agreed that if the conversion was feasible, it was certainly desirable. But they felt that there were difficulties in the way. One of these was, that there were parties now using the land outside the two miles for ploughing or other purposes who would, by the proposed law, be made trespassers. In regard to these the committee agreed that any person not an owner or occupier of the front lot, who had ploughed on this and out-side the two miles, should be allowed a three years’ privilege of it. Now of those who were on that committee I convened, only three would have been placed in the position of trespassers by the proposed bill. They formed, it will be seen, but a very small minority of the committee. As to the other difficulty, the Indian difficulty, it is in my opinion a very serious one. Until the Indian claim has been satisfied, it would be imprudent to take the action proposed in regard to this hay privilege. But at the same time my committee said, we would like very much, in spite of this difficulty, that the Legislature would guarantee that after the Indian title was extinguished in the proper way, this land should be granted to us absolutely. They desire the guarantee of the land and that hereafter there should be no more trespassing on it in the way of building houses, cultivation or cutting hay, by any party whatsoever. I desired Mr. Sinclair of St. Peter’s to precede me to-day, and my reason was that I wished to find out his views with reference to some of my remarks of yesterday. I stated then, what I heard, that the Indians claimed such a right in a portion of the land as they would not part with. I am surprised he did not allude to this; for if the Indians really take such a position it affects very seriously many like ourselves.

ST. PAUL’S

Hon. Mr. Bird reported. He said, — I had a meeting in my parish, at which, I think, almost every land-owner in the parish was present. We formed a committee of ten — the largest number allowed — and they decided unanimously that they would like to have their four-mile grant as soon as it could be obtained. They were of opinion that at present the fee simple of the land could not be given, and would like that in the meantime matters should continue as they are. Some who had settled on lots outside the two-miles were present, and it was unanimously agreed that in the case of such settlers, a three years’ privilege would be sufficient compensation.

HEADINGLY

 Hon. William Tait reported. I have not called any meeting in my parish, he said. I told several of them that this question would come before the parish, and, desiring to give them as long a time as possible to make up their minds on the point, I postponed calling the meeting until, as it turned out, I gave them too much time for consideration. I was, besides, very busily engaged at committee work here for two full weeks. It was my intention to have called a meeting last Monday, but we remained too late in committee on Saturday evening to allow of my getting home in time. I have, however, spoken to several in the parish on the subject, and all were of opinion that they would like to get the two-mile hay privilege. I did not call their attention to the subject of getting the fee simple ownership of the land outside the two miles, for I did not think that this Government ever intended to give it. I simply informed them of the intention of the law passed by the last Assembly, viz, that they were empowered to use this two-mile privilege as heretofore, but that it was to be under the control of the Government, to be disposed of by them as they thought best when the proper time came. This they all approved of. They told me they felt if the hay privilege could be given them absolutely, it would be one great cause of preventing disputes arising, such as had arisen from persons ploughing behind their neighbors. At the same time they were desirous of leaving the whole matter under the control of the Assembly. This is what I gathered from those I have spoken to on the subject. However, as this question may not be immediately disposed of, I may yet have time to call a meeting when my parish, having the benefit of the views of all the other parishes, will, no doubt, come to a satisfactory decision.

ST. JOHN’S

Hon. Mr. Bannatyne reported that he was in pretty much the same position as the hon. member for Headingly, but he thought there would yet be time to call a meeting in the parish, and he would endeavor to get the people together and elicit their views regarding this hay privilege. Having the views of the other parishes before them they might be in a better position to decide on their course.

ST. BONIFACE AND ST. VITAL

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue reported. The parishioners of St. Boniface, he said, had held a meeting at which, although I intended to be on the committee, I was not able to attend. I have, however, been requested by the President of the meeting, Hon. Mr. Bruce, to report its result.

The committee was composed of Hon. Mr. Bruce, His Lordship Bishop Taché, and Messrs. Marion, Genton, L’Esperance, Carriere, Bruce and C. McDougall. The report was not written, but it is, briefly, this. A good number of the people of the parish cannot get hay immediately outside their lots. As the seigniory runs east and the river lots north-east, and all of them up the river, from the Church as far as St. Vital, they of course run into the seigniory. The lots I speak of run out in some instances only two miles, and in some cases but one mile. Thus between the Red River and Riviere La Seine in the parishes of St. Boniface and St. Vital, the lots are all short, extending in some instances, as I have said, only one mile from the rivers; and there is no hay on these lots. At St. Boniface again, there is a portion of the parish, the point at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, which would be difficult to arrange. Until you get four miles from the point along both the rivers the lots do not run out the four miles, but a square is formed inside the four miles which would be equal to about half a mile each for the settlers here. It was proposed that this square should be given to the people of Red River for four miles up, and to those on the other river, for an equal distance, as a common pasturage. Having no hay grounds in the district, the people of St. Boniface and St. Vital have asked as a hay privilege the district extending from the seigniory as far as the Grand Coteau, which is some four and a half miles from the river. If this district is granted them for hay purposes, they would be well satisfied. I am also instructed to make the same report for the people of Saint Vital

ST. CHARLES

Hon. Mr. Dauphinais reported. The people of that parish, he said, ask for the two-mile hay privilege, and besides that, a reserve with the people of the White Horse Plain. This reserve to extend from the mouth of the Assiniboine river, fifteen miles to the south, to the Portage on the same line of fifteen miles wide — the river forming the northern boundary. At the same time they desire that this grant shall not interfere in any way with the privileges of the inhabitants to be included in the reserve. This reserve was for the people of the White Horse Plains and all the people on the Assiniboine and at the Portage, without exception.

OAK POINT

Hon. Mr. Harrison reported as follows — The people of Oak Point desire a reserve of nine miles on each side of the main river. There is no hay at all on much of their land, and only at a distance of eight miles from their houses can they get any. Should there be settlement between them and these eight miles, then the settlers in that district would be entirely excluded from hay.

ST. NORBERT

The committee for this parish met on the 24th April, in the parish school-house, and was composed of the following gentlemen, namely, Pierre Paranteau, Norbert Larence, Cyrille Marchand, Joseph Landry, Joseph Charrette, Regis Perrault, Baptiste Tourond, Louis Morin, Jean Baptiste Rochels, Jean Baptiste Roy.

The decision come to was in the following terms:— “That the two miles of hay privilege, such as it existed under the old Council of Assiniboia, be converted into property in fee simple, and given to the occupants of the respective front lots.”

PARISHES OF ST. FRANCOIS XAVIER AND ST. PAUL

 The committee for these parishes met on the 21st April, and was composed of the following gentlemen, namely, Pierre Poitras (chairman), P. Dauphinais, Xavier Pagés, P. Thibert, P. Lavallée, Louis Bonno, F. Morin, M. Lepine, Olivier Barron, Alphonse Thibert (secretary).

The following resolutions were adopted:—

“1. That a common for wood and hay purposes be set apart for the use of all the inhabitants of the Assiniboine River, from Portage La Prairie to the mouth of said river — seeing that without such help it is impossible for one portion of such inhabitants to subsist.

“2. That this common be situated on the south bank of the Assiniboine, and extend from Portage La Prairie downwards to the last house at the lower or Eastern end of the parish of St. François Xavier, being 15 miles wide throughout its length.

“3. That this common in no respect prejudice the rights of the inhabitants already settled on the said south bank, nor of those ordinary rights acquired by persons who might yet settle below or [East?] of the water-mill of Thibert and Co.

“4. That above this mill, as far as Pointe Coupée, lots half a mile long [can?] be occupied by new inhabitants.”

POINTE COUPEE

In this district the committee sat on the 6th of April. There were present: Hon. L. Lacerte (chairman), Pierre Delorme (secretary), Joseph Ouellette, Jacques Ouellette, Joseph Bérian, Baptiste Smith, Joseph Miller, Gabriel Lafournaise, Baptiste Dauphinais, Alexandre Morin.

The following was the decision come to, viz:— “We wish to take our two miles of hay privilege on the east side of the Red River; that is to say, two miles in length, and of the same widths as those respectively of the lots we now own: Such privileged ground to extend from the Coulée de Jacquot to Rivière aux Rats.”

The President — If we are to look for our supplies of hay only from the natural grasses of the prairie, when the country becomes settled then there will be little or no hay. It cannot be expected that in order to preserve intact hay grounds, the settlement of the country should be retarded. But, at the same time, under present circumstances, provision must be made for these hay privileges. It is a real want, but, according to the reports just read, one to which the inhabitants of some sections do not attach the same importance as they do to other advantages connected with this hay privilege. From St. Boniface, allusion is made to the Rivers crossing one another, besides which there is the seigniory and other rivers and marshes, where hay cannot be made on the lands. There a hay reserve becomes a real want to the people, and the same may perhaps be said of other sections. From the reports it is apparent that some of the population regard the hay privilege for the sake of the hay. Others pay attention to other, and perhaps better advantages, such as wood, &c. From the French speaking population these claims are made. The White Horse Plains and Assiniboine people are looking for a reserve south of the Assiniboine — from the mouth of that river fifteen miles south — without at all seeking to interfere with those having the privilege of four miles on the south side of the river. The claim is, that beyond that for fifteen miles should be set apart as a reserve for the whole people of the Assiniboine on both sides of the river. The people of St. Boniface and St. Vital are looking for a reserve limited by the river called La Compagnie Grace, the east side of the seigniory, and a line starting from the seigniory to the Grand Coteau. The people of Point Coupee are asking for the two-mile hay privilege on the other side of the river, because there is a certain portion of the east shore of Red River there at Point Coupee which is not settled at all. The people at Oak Point ask nine miles on each side of the river.

Hon. Mr. Hay — My instructions in being asked to form the committee were to enquire into the two-mile hay privilege and report. This we did. But others went farther and decided on asking for reserves. We had no idea of such a thing. Our instructions were simply to consider the means of converting the hay privilege into ownership. If reserves are to be granted, our people might also ask for large grants.

The President — The committees all appear to have inquired into this two-mile privilege, but they found in some places no possibility of securing such a privilege, and in these cases reserves were asked for.

Hon. Mr. Bunn contended that, under the resolution of the House, no reserves could be asked for. The committees were struck to consider a certain question — the two-mile hay privilege only. Looking at it from that point of view, I would suggest that the best way to dispose of the whole case is to appoint a committee to enquire into it fully.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue — This is a question of very considerable moment, and which occupied a good deal of time in the Convention held here before, and which will likely occupy a good deal of our attention. At the Convention I said that this was a question on which would arise any amount of discussion — I believe I said endless discussion and litigation. Many then insisted on having the grant made in fee simple without any other consideration whatever. But, though a stranger in the country, I foresaw the trouble which would arise from granting this two-mile privilege. My opinion was then ridiculed. Now, hon. gentlemen find that it was correct. It was urged in Convention that where a person could get this two-mile privilege, it ought to be his; and where another could not get it, he ought to get an equivalent elsewhere. It is ungenerous to say that those not having the two-mile hay privilege are to get none at all: Manifestly one section of the people cannot expect to obtain a very considerable grant like this hay privilege while the other sections of the settlers receive no compensating advantage. They ought in all fairness to be placed on an equal footing. If a portion of the people cannot enjoy a hay privilege immediately in rear of their lots, give them one elsewhere. The present Legislature is perhaps composed of men having on the whole a greater interest in this country than those in any future Legislature may have, and I think they ought to enact a fair law on this subject. If the great majority get the four mile grant, the minority ought to get an equivalent in land also. And if the great majority require a reserve, I think the minority ought not to interfere with them (cheers). My desire is to make this land-grant as uniform as possible.

Hon. Mr. Tait — I understood the instructions given us with regard to the formation of parish committees to extend further than to those enjoying the two-mile privilege. To the people in my parish I explained that the object of the Assembly was to secure the people of the country against those who might come in (hear, hear). If a man was unfortunate enough to be living on a lot which had no back, I did not see then, and do not see now, that he should be deprived of a privilege equal to the man who has always enjoyed the two-mile privilege. Why give one man a privilege in preference to another? (hear, hear). In addressing the House, the President made one remark in which I do not fully coincide. He places the people in the different districts in different positions. As far as the White Horse Plains district is concerned, I think this is not the case. While the people there were working for themselves in asking for their reserve, I believe they were also working for every man living on the Assiniboine River, and that they meant this reserve to be for the benefit of every man living on the river.

The President — Your remark does not go against me at all. I said that the reserve was designed for the inhabitants on both sides of the river (hear, hear).

Hon. Mr. Bunn — I want to know what is actually meant by the two-mile hay privilege. I attach one meaning to it — to me the most obvious one. Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue attaches another and a different meaning. As to the Indian title, I say it is very doubtful to me if, even on the very ground we stand, the Indian title has been extinguished. And I say further, let us beware how we interfere with Indian rights in any way.

The President — If the members, or any of them, forming these committees have not taken the right view of their duties, it is for the House to say. They have inquired into this question of the hay privilege and reported. It is for the House now to take action.

Hon. Mr. Bunn — I will never give a vote in favor of the proposed law until the Indian title is extinguished.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue — For my own part, as to the Indian claims, no one would sooner see them fully satisfied than I would — and I am quite certain it is not the desire or intention of the House, as it certainly is not of the Government, to perpetuate or advocate any injustice towards the Indian tribes of the country. One special condition we make with Canada is, that before we enter Confederation all the Indian tribes of the country must be satisfactorily dealt with. This, observe, is one of the conditions we insist on. Seeing, then, that this is the desire of the Government, I do not see why the Indians should have any fear regarding this two-mile privilege. Whatever title there is to it will, I presume, be fairly extinguished before possession is entered on. Wherever the Indians do not claim any such titles this House can give the land to those desiring it. I say let the people of this country look after their own interests first. It will be time enough to look after the interests of Confederation when we are Confederated. More discussion on the point is, I think, unnecessary. If the majority of the House incline to the course, it might, perhaps, be prudent to let matters in this respect remain as they are for some time to come, and appoint a committee to consider the matter during the interval between the close of this session and the convening of another (hear, hear).

Hon. Mr. McKay — I would say a few words regarding this Indian title. It is the first time I have heard it discussed in this way since I came to Red River, and I must say that I am surprised it should come up at a time like this when we are providing for the interests of the people of Red River and of the country at large. Looking for that, I considered that we were looking for the interests of the Indians also (cheers). I do not hesitate to say that we ought to get this hay privilege: for I am sure it would not deprive the Indian of his right. As half-breeds we require wood and hay quite as much as the Indian does his rights; and if we take a reserve for our own use, I do not think for a moment that we are thereby depriving the Indian of any title. Since the question of reserves has come up, I must say that I would strongly support such a disposition of a portion of our lands. The fact is that by making these reserves, the Indians are benefitted: for so much of the land would thereby be kept for many years in its present shape. If these reserves are not granted, then the land may be sold before long, and used as private property, and the Indians will not have the same right of using the land as heretofore. I would like to see a reserve set apart for the people of the Assiniboine. I respect the Indians and all that live in the country. But at the same time I do not want to be deprived of my rights until the Indian claim is satisfied. I could go farther, and say — one quarter of me is Indian; and if the Indian title is to be respected, the rights of one-quarter of my person must be respected (cheers and laughter). I am not at all afraid but that in my dealings with the Indians, I can satisfy them without robbing them of any of their titles (cheers). (The hon. gentleman repeated his address in Indian in which he is a very fluent and eloquent speaker.)

Hon. Mr. Fraser — It appears to me that the only question which ought of right to be before the House is respecting the two mile hay privilege and not a large land reserve. If our people thought it was a question of reserves [that] was before them, I would have brought a very different report from the one I bring today. Our committee were only invited to consider the hay and confined themselves to that. As to the Indian title, I think it was fully acknowledged sometime ago, at the Convention, that the Indian has a title. I think this a matter of great importance and one which should be very carefully considered: for we are none of us, I hope, desirous of encroaching on Indian title.

The President — There is evidently a misunderstanding about this matter. Some are looking for a hay privilege merely; some for wood; others for land for cultivation. Before going further we ought to make a distinction and settle what is really wanted.

Hon. Mr. Fraser called attention to the hay privilege bill passed last session.

The President — That bill was passed expressly for the English population; but it surely did not deprive the French population of their hay rights. If the French people only thought about the English people in passing that bill, would it not be good for the sake of the French people if even now, a month after, their rights should receive a little portion of public attention. Do, if you please, let them have what they want, if you think it fair (hear, hear). As we are looking for the hay privilege now, would it not be well for the French population to express themselves as also in want of the hay privilege, even though they cannot get it immediately behind them. If they do come in, under the committees I made, let us do justice to them at all events (cheers).

Hon. Mr. Fraser — I never thought there was to be a distinction between any class of the people. I thought all our interests were one. The two-mile privilege cannot be secured to every one among the English any more than the French: so that there would have to be an extra provision made for the English as well as the French.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue — I would beg to ask Hon. Mr. Fraser who was the framer of the hay privilege bill to which he has just alluded?

Hon. Mr. Fraser — You were.

Hon. Mr. O’Donoghue — Then it would be for me to explain it. That bill was framed, first, because there appeared to be a great fear among the English people that they would not get this hay privilege. Some, in fact, went so far as to say that on this depended the whole prosperity of some districts, and that there was no use in going back to their constituents unless they got it. Mr. Sutherland said so, and I believe expressed the sentiments of the English people generally. It seems strange to me that gentlemen then supporting this measure should now offer opposition to any portion of the people getting this privilege. I was, myself, opposed to the measure in Convention, but fearing that I might be misinterpreted in my motives, I took the first opportunity last session to frame a bill myself, converting the privilege into absolute ownership. But knowing the difficulties in the way, I did not like to push the measure. Another bill was brought in and [passed?] but there were some who did not understand it to refer to the lots in the [back?] but that it should be asked for wherever it could be got.

Hon. Mr. Bunn — Perhaps the importance of the question before the House will be a sufficient apology for my getting up again. I do not think it is understood sufficiently. It strikes me that the difference between us is, shall we convert this into a fee simple property, or shall we guarantee that it be hereafter converted? If hon. members understand the question in this way, we would be perfectly agreed. There is not, I believe, a member here who would like to take this land until all fair claims on it were adjusted. But that is not the question before the House. The question is, shall we pass an act guaranteeing this land?

The President — Nobody in the country seems to want the two-mile hay privilege in fee simple now. But at the same time let this Chamber work for the public good on this question, so as to secure to every farmer, as far as possible, the same privileges in one way or another. This question of the hay privilege seems to be understood one way among the English and another way among the French. The whole settlement is united — and we are glad to be united; but at the same time our circumstances are not the same all over. A good deal has been said about Indian title, but if hon. gentlemen would allow me I would suggest that it is, perhaps, impolitic to pursue this subject further. Let the inhabitants continue to make use of their old land privileges for the present, in one place or another; let them ask for what they want by general petition; and when that comes up, the Government will deal with it, and do justice to all parties.

After [this] debate,

Hon. Mr. Donoghue moved that a special committee be appointed to enquire further into this question of the Hay Privilege, and arrange it in a manner as satisfactory to all as possible; and that the committee report this session; said committee to be composed of Hon. Messrs. Bird, Fraser, Sinclair, McKay, Garrioch and Bunn, and Hon. Messrs. O’Donoghue, Delorme, Touron, Dauphinais, Beauchemin and Bruce — committee to have the privilege of forming itself into two sub-committees if considered desirable, but to amalgamate their reports before presentation to the House.

The resolution carried and at seven o’clock P.M., on motion of Hon. Mr. Bannatyne, the House adjourned till next day.

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Next page: Session 2, Day 3: 28 April


[1] Bunn, Sessional Journal, 19; “Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, Second Session,” New Nation (6 May 1870), 1, 2, 8.

[2] I know of no printed copy, but in content the report would likely have been consistent with the document archived as AM, MG3 A1-24, “Minutes of meeting of Committee to codify and arrange laws. 1870,” dated 26 April 1870, a transcription of which I have inserted in the proceedings of the previous day.

[3] Bunn, Sessional Journal, 19, identifies the report document as “(B).” It was presumably filed with or appended to the Journal, although its current whereabouts are unknown. In content, the reports the document contained were likely consistent with the copy printed in “Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, Second Session,” New Nation (6  May 1870), 1–2.

~~~

Published 7 July 2011

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