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BC Sessional Papers

PETITION. To the Honourable the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, in Parliament… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1887

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 50 Vic Victoria Fire Department Funds. 399
To the Honourable the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, in Parliament
We, the undersigned, respectfully protest against the passage of the Bill now before the
Private Bills Committee to enable the Victoria Fire Department Charitable Association, to sell
and convert into money the real and personal property of the said Association, to divide such
money into shares, and give to each member of the said Association, who has been a member
not exceeding 5 years, half of one of such shares; and to each who has been a member exceeding
5 years, but not exceeding 10 years, one of such shares; and to each who has been a member
exceeding 10 years, but not exceeding 15 years, 1J of such shares ; and to each who has been
a member exceeding 15 years, 2 of such shares, for the following reasons :—
"The Victoria Fire Department" was an Association enjoying certain privileges under
the " Fireman's Protetion Act, 1861," and the " Fireman's Act, 1864," and the " Fireman's
Protection Amendment Act, 1873."
The said Company was dissolved, and disbanded by mutual consent on the 1st January,
The " Victoria Fire Department Charitable Association" was a separate institution,
having been organized as a body corporate under the provisions of the " Charitable Association
Act, 1871."
No compensation was paid to the members of the said Fire Department for their services ;
but gifts were often made to the department by citizens of Victoria, whose property had been
saved from fire. These gifts, by mutual consent, expressed in a resolution of the said " Fire
Department," were turned over to and vested in the said " Charitable Association," as a trust
fund for the benefit of the members of the said Charitable Association, and to be applied for
the benefit of members injured while on duty.
No person was eligible to the said Charitable Association other than members of the said
department, who were entitled to become members upon payment of an admission fee of 50
cents and registering their names, which entitled such member so joining to all the rights
enjoyed by older members, without qualification.
On the 11th March, 1886, at a meeting of the former members of the late " Fire Department," a scheme, similar to that provided for in the said Bill, was proposed and passed by a
majority present, many of the persons voting for the scheme not having been active members
for a number of years. Many of the active members voted against the said scheme, and
entered their protest.
The said dissentient members instructed their solicitors to institute an action in the Supreme
Court, to cause a lawful distribution of the said fund to be made, and obtained an injunction
restraining the said members so voting for the said scheme (among whom are the petitioners
for this Bill) from distributing the said fund as aforesaid. The said injunction is still in force,
and the said action is now depending and has not yet come to a trial; the petitioners for this
Bill have resisted the said action by T. Davie, Esq., their solicitor.
1. This Bill evidently proposes to provide a means of doing that which the petitioners
for the Bill are enjoined from doing, 400 Victoria Flee Department Funds. 1887
2. Its effect, if passed, may be to take from the undersigned, their vested rights in the
said Trust Fund, and hand them over to others, some of whom had long failed to attend to
their duties as firemen, and whose recollection of their once having been a fireman
was probably awakened by the vision of a large share of the Trust Fund, if the aforesaid scheme
were allowed to be. consummated. The undersigned have been active members ever since they
joined, and claim equal rights with the older members, who, though of longer standing, have
likewise had longer benefit from the fund by way of insurance against accidents, &c. And
these petitioners submit that the said Act, if constitutional, would be unfair to these
petitioners who have submitted their rights to a Court of competent jurisdiction, and are
willing to abide the result.
They, therefore, humbly pray that the said Bill be rejected.
And your petitioners, &c,
Frederick Shakespeare William Deasy George Steitz Thomas Watson
Hy L Salmon Geo William Rowebottom Henry Gribble 0 Smith
Michael J Conlin William Bryce John Jackson Thomas Hodges
Charles Bush Louis F Baumann T Deasey Fredrick R Allatt
Samuel E King Harry McDowell K Spates J D Ford
John G Hagenbach William C D Clarke Edward North Wm A Calhoun


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