Monday, October 19, 2009

Live-blogging the Quebec conference #9

Tuesday, October 18, 1864:

It's the Senate again, and they go at it hot and heavy. They agree prospective senators must be over thirty, British by nationality, and have a certain wealth (specifically, $4000 in real property).

The vital question, however, is how they are to be chosen. They start with a long discussion as to whether members of the existing provincial upper houses will have priority when the first national Senate is filled. Premier Tupper wants the first Senate to be filled from the legislative councillors who currently sit in the provincial upper houses. Jonathan McCully of Nova Scotia suggests each province should find its own method of selecting the first senators, and Premier Cole of Prince Edward Island want anyone to be eligible, not just the current legislative councillors of each province. This keeps them busy until almost midnight.

It's worth noting what's not at stake. According to the official record, no one advocates an elective upper house. (In later years, Ontario delegate William McDougall will suggest he and Oliver Mowat had actually made some suggestion along these lines). More tomorrow.
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