BC Sessional Papers

PETITION. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1881

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 44 Vic. Petition of Messrs. Reed Bros. 451
PETITION.
lo the Honourable the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia.
The humble Petition  of George Dayrell Eeed, and   John Langham Eeed, of
Tokenhouse Yard, London, England.
Sheweth—
1. That your Petitioners were the contractors for the erection of a Cofferdam, at
Esquimalt, in the Province of British Columbia, and entered intothe contract with the
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works of the Province, acting on behalf of the Crown.
2. Tour Petitioners were, as they conceived, treated with great injustice, and in
consequence, on tho 17th of July last, they presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-
Governor of the Province, through the Provincial Secretary, a Petition of Eight, under
the Statute.
3. Tour Petitioners not having received any reply to their respectful petition,
caused application to be made, from time to time, to the Lieutenant-Governor, without
success.   A copy of the correspondence that has passed is hereto annexed.
4. Tour Petitioners, being unable to obtain from His Honour the Lieutenant-
Governor a decision as to the said Petition of Right, on the twentieth day of November,
1880, caused a petition, with copy of the said Petition of Right and correspondence,
to be forwarded by His Honour to His Excellency the Governor-General of the
Dominion, and thereby submitted the facts to His Excellency, and prayed that he
would cause His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to be advised to grant his fiat to the
prayer of the aforesaid Petition of Right.
5. Tour Petitioners have been informed by letter from the Private Secretary of His
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, dated llth February, 1881, that His Honour had
received from the Honourable Secretary of the State for Canada a despatch to the effect
"that His Excellency is advised that his Government can take no action thereupon, as
" it is a matter which appertains exclusively to the Provincial Government."
6. Tour Petitioners have not obtained from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor
his decision as to the said Petition of Right, and respectfully submit the above-mentioned
facts to your honourable body, in order that they may have the relief they consider
they are entitled to.
7. Tour Petitioners have been informed that the Minister of Justice of the Dominion
has stated " that the Governor-General or a Provincial Governor before granting a fiat
"for proceeding by Bill of Right generally consults the Attorney-General, who invariably reports in favour of the fiat, unless it is thought that the case is of too frivolous
"a character," and "that it is a right which citizens should have to have their claims
" against the Crown ventilated before a competent tribunal, and as that can only be
" done by Bill of Right, the fiat is not refused if the claim is at all substantial, and is
" seldom brought before the Executive Council."
Tour Petitioners therefore humbly pray that Tour Honourable Body will
enquire into the facts, and recommend that His Honour the Lieutenant-
Governor be advised to grant his fiat to the prayer of the Petition of
Eight which was presented to him by your Petitioners, through the
Provincial Secretary of the Province, on the 17th July, 1880. And your
Petitioners will ever pray, &c.
George Dayrell Reed,
John Langham Reed,
by Drake & Jackson,
their Solicitors. 452 Petition of Messrs. Reed Bros. 1881
Ihe Private Secretary to Messrs. Drake & Jackson,
Government House,
Victoria, August 2nd, 1880.
Gentlemen,—I am directed by the Lieutenant-Governor to acknowledge the receipt
of your letter of the 26th ultimo, and to acquaint you that His Honour has referred the same
for consideration in Executive Council, and that you will receive a further communication on the subject through the proper official channel.
1 have, &c,
(Signed)       Robt. G. Tatlow,
Private Secretary.
Messrs. Drake & Jackson to the Lieutenant- Governor.
Victoria, B. C, 3rd August, 1880.
Sir,—"We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of a letter under date 2nd
instant, from your Private Secretary, in which he states that he has " been directed by
the Lieutenant-Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th ultimo,
and to acquaint you that His Honour has referred the same for consideration in Executive Council, and that you will receive a further communication on the subject through
the proper channel."
We respectfully direct your attention to the 2nd section of the Petition of Right and
Crown Procedure Act, 1873, whereby it is enacted that " the said petition shall be left
with the Provincial Secretary, in order that the same may be submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor for his consideration, and in order that the Lieutenant-Governor, if he
shall think fit, may grant his fiat that right be done," and submit that the petition
which we left with the Provincial Secretary in compliance with the Act, on the 17th
day of July, should be dealt with by Tour Honour personally, by personally granting or
refusing the prayer of the petitioners, and that otherwise the object of the Act would
in many instances very probably be defeated.
We have, &c,
(Signed)      Drake & Jackson.
Messrs. Drake & Jackson to the Lieutenant-Governor. V
Victoria, B. C, 10th November, 1880.
Sir,—We have the honour to direct your attention to the Petition of Right by the
Messrs. G. D. Eeed and J. L. Eeed, which was left with the Provincial Secretary on
the 17th July last, to be submitted to Tour Honour.
On the 26th July, and again on the 3rd August, we respectfully solicited a reply to
the prayer of the petitioners, which still remains unanswered.
As we have recently been informed that the Cofferdam, in respect of which the
petitioners seek relief, has been pronounced by the managing man of the contractor for
the Dry Dock, to be " first class work," wo again respectfully direct your attention to
the petition, and trust that you will no longer delay granting your fiat " that right be
done."
We have, &c,
(Signed) Drake & Jackson. 44 Vic. Petition of Messrs. Reed Bros. 453
The Private Secretary to Messrs. Drake & Jackson.
Government House,
Victoria, Nov. 10th, 1880.
Gentlemen,—I am directed by the Lieutenant-Governor to acknowledge the receipt
of your letter of this date calling attention to the Petition of Eight by the Messrs. Eeed,
and to acquaint you that His Honour has referred the same for consideration in Executive Council; and that you will receive a further communication on the subject through
the proper official channel.
1 have, &c,
(Signed) Robt. G. Tatlow,
Private Secretary.
The Private Secretary to Messrs. Drake & Jackson.
Government Buildings, James' Bay,
November 10th, 1880.
Gentlemen,—With reference to your letter of the 3rd of August, submitting that it
was a personal matter with His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to grant or refuse his
fiat for a Petition of Right, I am directed by His Honour to inform you that the
Attorney-General of the Province has in effect advised him that, consistent with the
principle of Responsible Government, the fiat should only be granted or refused upon
recommendation of Ministers, who are responsible to His Honour and to the Legislature
for the advice given ; and that, acting upon this advice, His Honour cannot take upon
himself the responsibility of granting or refusing his fiat.
I have, &c,
(Signed) Robt. G. Tatlow,
Private Secretary.
Messrs. Drake & Jackson to the Lieutenant-Governor.
Victoria, B. C,
llth November, 1880.
Sir,—We beg to acknowledge the receipt of a communication of yesterday's date,
from your Private Secretary, in which he states that "with reference to our letter of
"the 3rd of August last, submitting that it was a personal matter with you to grant or
"refuse your fiat for a Petition of Right, he had been directed by you to inform us that
"the Attorney-General of the Province had in effect advised you that consistent with
"the principles of Responsible Government the fiat should only be granted or refused
"upon recommendation of Ministers who are responsible to you and to the Legislature
"for the advice given, and that acting upon that advice you could not take upon your-
" self the responsibility of granting or refusing your fiat." We with great respect
submit that you have entirely misconceived both your duty and the powers appertaining to your office. The position of a Governor of a Colony possessing representative
institutions, with Responsible Government, is stated by Mr. Todd to be that of a local
constitutional Sovereign. If this is a correct definition of Tour Honour's position, then
the granting or refusal of the Petitiou of Right of Messrs. Reed Bros, is a matter of
prerogative, and if the Act under which this Petition is presented had intended that
the Petition should be referred to the responsible Ministers, it would have directed the
Petition to be referred to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council instead of to the Lieutenant-Governor for his consideration, and the " Interpretation Act, 1872," supports this
Yiew. 454 Petition of Messrs. Reed Bros. 1881
We hardly need refer to the results which must flow from the construction Tour
Honour places on the Act, as in almost every case Petitions of Right arise from some
proceedings taken by the Ministers in derogation of private rights, and the views put
forward by you would make the Ministers Judges in their own case. Previous cases
under this Act have been decided by the Lieutenant-Governor on principles of justice,
leaving the question in dispute to be settled by the legal tribunals of the Province.
We trust, therefore, that you will now have leisure to examine this Petition, which
has been before you ever since the 17th July, and to deal with it in accordance with
the true construction of the Act and your unbiassed judgment, and not submit it to the
dictum of an interested party, which can but result in the rights of the petitioners
being, as they hitherto have been, treated with high-handed injustice.
Believing as we do that the position you define for yourself in this matter is not
contemplated by law, we would respectfully suggest, as the point involved is a constitutional one, that the matter should be referred to Law Officers of the Dominion for their
opinion.
We have, &c,
(Signed) Drake & Jackson.
The Private Secretary to Messrs. Drake & Jackson.
Government House, Victoria,
November 12th,r1880.
Gentlemen,—I am directed by the Lieutenant-Governor to acknowledge the receipt
of your letter of the llth instant, and to acquaint you that His Honour has referred the
same for consideration in Executive Council, and that you will receive a further communication on the subject through the proper official channel.    I have, &c.
(Signed) Robt. G. Tatlow,
Private Secretary.

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