Thursday, October 22, 2009

Live-blogging the Quebec conference #13

Saturday, October 22, 1864:

"That the confederation shall be vested at the time of the union with all cash, bankers' balances, and other cash securities of each province.... The confederation shall assume all the debts and liabilities of each province." The money, at last they are getting down to the money.

Alexander Tilloch Galt, the Quebecker who is the Canadian cabinet's financial expert, presents a long resolution proposing financial structures for confederation. Publicly owned works like canals and railroads will go to the federal government, but crown land in general will be provincial. Galt, following on Macdonald's federal-powers resolution, foresees the central government as the taxing power: "In consideration of the transfer to the general legislature of the powers of taxation, a grant in aid of each province [based on population] shall be made... in full settlement of all future demands upon the general legislature for local purposes, and to be payable half yearly in advance to each province."

It ain't to be that cut-and-dried -- though the federal transfer grant clearly has a long pedigree. They discuss Galt's resolution all day, but most of the discussion goes unrecorded, and they adjourn without a vote, delegating the matter to a financial committee of delegates from all the provinces.
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