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HISTORY OF CANADA.   2G I

French-Canadians in the Assembly.—To the French-Canadian members the course of events during the session was somewhat reassuring. A motion by Neilson attacking the Union

Act was indeed voted down by a large

majority, but a well-known French-Canadian, Mr. Austin Cuvillier, was chosen speaker at the opening of the session. Moreover, the rules of procedure adopted were those which had been in force in the old assembly of Lower Canada, and only in the official records was the use of the French language forbidden. As yet no representative of the French-Canadians had

a place in the ministry. Overtures had

been made to Lafontaine, the leader of   sin L. H. LAFONTAINE. the Lower Canadian Reformers, but he

was content to await the reconstruction which even then appeared inevitable, and therefore declined to join the ministry.

The First Municipal Act.—Upon the work of practical reform this first parliament of Canada entered with much energy. Before the union the special council of Lower Canada had passed an Act establishing municipal institutions in that province, where, owing to the absence of any system of local assessment, popular opinion was not ripe for their adoption. A somewhat similar Act was now passed for the upper province, in spite of opposition from the extremists on both sides. Robert Baldwin and his followers thought the Act was not sufficiently liberal, because the wardens were to be Crown-appointed ; the extreme Conservatives, under Sir Allan MacNab, thought the Act altogether too democratic. It is impossible to overrate the importance of a proper municipal system ; not merely because it removes from the provincial parliaments much work that can be more efficiently managed by each locality for itself, but chiefly because of the training in self-government thus afforded. The Municipal Act of 1841, therefore, although defective in many respects, must be considered as the most notable first-fruit of responsible government.

Education.—An attempt was also made to provide a uniform system of popular education, but the Act passed this year proved

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