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RETURN To an Address of the Legislative Assembly for copies of all correspondence with the Dominion Government… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1878

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 41 Vic. Correspondence—Acts of 1877. 419
RETURN
To an Address of the Legislative Assembly for copies of all correspondence with
the Dominion Government respecting the Acts of last Session.
By Command.
A. C. ELLIOTT,
Attorney-General''s Office, Attorney-General.
18th February, 1878.
Copy of a. Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Privy Council, approved by His
Excellency the Governor-General in Council on the 12th October, 1877.
The Committee have had before them the Report of the Honourable the Minister of
Justice, dated 29 th September, 1877, upon the Acts passed by the Legislature of the Province
of British Columbia in the fortieth year of Her Majesty's reign (1877), and they concur in the
several recommendations that the Acts reported to be unobjectionable be left to their operation;
that the Act reserved by the Lieutenant-Governor, and intituled "An Act to amend the 'Gold
Mining Amendment Act, 1872,'" be not assented to; and that the attention of the Lieutenant-
Governor of British Columbia be called to the several Acts to which objection is takeu in the
Report of the Minister of Justice, and, with that view, that a copy of said Report be transmitted
to the Lieutenant-Governor. Certified,
To the Honourable (Signed) W. A. Himsworth,
the Secretary of State. Clerk, Privy Council.
Department of Justice,
Ottawa, 29th September, 1877.
I beg to report upon the Acts passed by the Legislature of the Province of British
Columbia, in the fortieth year of Her Majesty's reign, being the year 1877, received by the
Secretary State on the 22nd May, 1877:
No. 1. " An Act for revising and consolidating the Laws of the Province of British
"Columbia."
No. 2. "An Act respecting the appointment of Magistrates."
No. 3. "An Act respecting the appointment of Coroners."
No. 4. "An Act respecting Municipal Elections."
To these Acts there appears to be no objection, and I recommend that they be left to their
operation.
No. 5. "An Act respecting the qualification for the offices of Mayor and Councillors in
certain Municipalities."
Section 4 provides that "any candidate wilfully making a false declaration of his qualifi-
"cation for the office of City Councillor or Mayor shall, on conviction thereof upon information
"under oath in a summary way before any Justice of the Beace, be liable to imprisonment for
"any period not exceeding three months, or to a fine," &c. .    •
Section 6 provides that certain persons "making a false declaration of the matters herein
"required to be declared before a Judge," &c, "shall be punishable therefor, upon information
" under oath in a summary way before any Justice of the Peace, by imprisonment for any period
<l not exceeding three months, or by fine," &o. 420 Correspondence—Acts of 1877. 1878
These sections seem to intrench upon the criminal Law and procedure in criminal matterc
which, by the "British North America Act, 1867," comes within the exclusive legislativs
authority of the Parliament of Canada.
I recommend that the attentiou of the Lieutenant-Governor be called to them, in order that
his Government may promote, ac the next session of the Legislature, legislation to repeal or
amend the same before the time expires within which the power of disallowance can be exercised.
No. 6. "An Act to enable Municipal Corporations to pass By-laws for the sale of Land for
taxes."
The 3rd section of this Act provides that the owner of land sold for non-payment of taxes
may within a certain time redeem the estate sold by paying to the Clerk of the Municipality, for
the use and benefit of the purchaser or his legal representatives, the sum paid by him, together
with eighteen per cent, per annum thereon.
It is questionable whether or riot this is legislation in respect of interest which, by the Confederation Act, comes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada.
Inasmuch, however, as similar legislation has been left to its operation in other Provinces, and
as the same result might be effected in another way, I recommend that this Act be also left to
its operation.
No. 7. "An Act to remove doubts as to the validity of certain Municipal Elections."
No. 8. "An Act to amend Sub-section 37 of Section 21 of the 'Municipality Act, 1872.'"
These two Acts appear to be unobjectionable, and I recommend that they be left to their
operation.
No. 9. "An Act to authorize certain Municipalities to retain and use the Court Fines, Fees
and Forfeitures as part of the Civic Revenue."
This Act is as follows, viz.:—" Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any
" Act, Ordinance, or Proclamation, it shall be lawful for any municipality paying the annual
" salary of a Police Magistrate, and maintaining a police force, to retain and use, as part of the
" municipal revenues, all Police Court fines, fees and forfeitures."
This provision is wide enough to cover not only fines and forfeitures incurred for breach or
non-compliance with laws of the Province made in relation to matters coming within the classes
of subjects over which the Provincial Legislature has exclusive legislative authority, but also
all fines and forfeitures which may be imposed at the Police Court under the Criminal Law of
Canada, or by reason of the breach of or non-compliance with the laws of Canada.
The 102nd section of the "British .North America Act, 1867," provides that "all duties
"and revenues over which the respective Legislatures of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Bruns-
" wick before and at the Union had and have power of appropriation, except such portions
" thereof as are by this Act reserved to the • respective Legislatures of the Brovinces, or arc
" raised by them in accordance with the special powers conferred on them by this Act, shall
" form one Consolidated Revenue Fund, to be appropriated for the public service of Canada, in
" the manner and subject to the charges in this Act provided."
There does not appear to be any provision in the Act reserving to the Provinces the
revenues derived from fines or forfeitures under the criminal law, and as the Parliament of
Canada has exclusive legislative authority over the criminal law (except the constitution of the
Courts of criminal jurisdiction), and as that Parliament alone can alter the existing criminal
law under which fines and forfeitures are imposed, and can create new crimes punishable by fine
or forfeiture, and alone increase or reduce the amounts of fines and forfeitures under the criminal
law or altogether abolish them, I am of opinion that the provisions of this Act, so far as it
attempts to control or dispose of fines and forfeitures imposed by the criminal law, or by any of
the other laws of Canada, is ultra vires of the powers of the Provincial Legislature, and I recommend that the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor be called to this Act to the end that the
same may at the next session of the Provincial Legislature be repealed or so amended as to
confine it to fines and forfeitures arising under laws of the Province made in relation to matters
coining within the exclusive legislative authority of the Province; otherwise that it be disallowed.
No. 10. "An Act to amend the 'Assessment Act, 1876.'"
The 3rd section of this Act amends sub-section 11 of section 8 of the "Assessment Act,
1876."
Section 8 provides that all land and person*.! property and income in the Province of British
Columbia shall be liable to taxation, subject to the following exemptions among others:—"The
" bouses and premises whilst occupied by any of the officers, non-commissioned officers and 41 Vic. Correspondence—Acts of 1877. 421
"privates of Her Majesty's regular Army and Navy in actual service, and the full or half-pay of
" any one in either of such services; any pension, salary, gratuity, or stipend derived by any
"person from Her Majesty's Imperial Treasury or elsewhere out of this Province, and the
''personal property of any person in such naval or military services on full pay or otherwise in
" actual service."
The amendment is the striking out of the words "or elsewhere out of this Province." The
effect of this seems to be to bring the pensions, salaries, gratuities, or stipends derived by persons
from the Dominion Treasury within the classes of property liable to taxation.
The question how far the Provinces have a right to tax the salaries of persons in the service
of the Dominion Government is now under the consideration of the Court of Appeal at Toronto,
in the case of Seprohon vs. the City of Ottawa, and pending the decision as to the powers of a
local Legislature in this respect, I do not recommend any interference with this Act.
No. 11. "An Act to prevent the destruction of pasturage on the Islands in the Gulf of
Georgia."
Section 8 provides for the imposition of a penalty of $50 upon any person neglecting or
refusing to obey the order of the Justice of the Peace in respect of using or altering a brand for
the purpose of branding sheep in certain cases.
Section 9 imposes a fine upon certain persons fraudulently branding or obliterating brands
on certain sheep. F.ach of these sections makes use of the word "offence" in dealing with the
breach of or non-compliance with its requirements. In a report upon the Statutes of Ontario
made by the Minister of Justice on the 25th August, 1873, the following- remarks occur :—
"The undersigned would beg leave to suggest the inexpediency of describing in Provincial
" Statutes any breach of the law of the Province as an offence.
"The 15th paragraph of the 19th section of the 'British North America Act, 1867/
" enables a Provincial Legislature to make laws in relation to the imposition of punishment by
" fine, penalty, or imprisonment, for enforcing any law of the Province. This can be done
"without describing the breach of the law as an offence. The word 'offence' in legal parlance
" seems to imply a breach of the criminal law, and when not expressly declared to be treason or
"felony may be considered as synonymous with misdemeanor." And attention has been drawn
in other reports upon Provincial legislation to the inexpediency of using the word "offence" in
such cases in Provincial Statutes; and although I do not recommend the disallowance of this
Act on account of the use of the word, I recommend that the attention of the Lieutenant-
Governor be called to the remarks just made, and that he be asked to request his Government
to see that the use of this word is avoided in future Provincial legislation.
No. 12. "An Act to prevent the spread of Thistles."
This Act seems unobjectionable, and I recommend that it be left to its operation.
No. 13. " An Act to encourage tho Mining of Gold-bearing Quartz."
This Act provides for the payment by the Province of the sum of $15,000 to the company
which first erects at a certain specified place a quartz mill of certain dimensions, and the 4th
section is as follows :—" After payment of such sum, Her Majesty's Attorney-General for the
"Province of British Columbia, on behalf of Her Majesty, shall be deemed to be, as against the
" company so receiving such money, a creditor for such money, and shall have at law and in
" equity a first mortgage upon the said mill and other the property of the said company for the
"said sum of fifteen thousand dollars, without the registering or recording of such mortgage,
"and notwithstanding any prior legal or equitable mortgage thereon.
This section would seem to be objectionable, as it maybe an interference with vested rights
of private individuals without, providing for any compensation to them therefor.
It may be that the land and other property of the company which may first erect the mill
has been bona fide mortgaged or pledged before the payment of the $15,000, and even before
the passing of the Act; if so, such mortgage or pledge might be rendered valueless without the
knowledge or consent of the holder, as, upon payment of the $15,000, the Attorney-General of
the Province is to have, at law and in equity, a first mortgage upon the mill and other property
of the company, without registering or recording the mortgage, and notwithstanding any prior,
legal, or equitable mortgage thereon. Should the mill be destroyed, or the venture prove a
failure, the first charge of $15,000 might more than cover the value of the property.
I recommend that the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor be called to this provision, with
a view to its amendment at the next session of the Legislature, in order to meet the objections
just mentioned. 422 Correspondence—Acts of 1877. 1878
No. 14. "An Act relating to Minerals other than Coal."
This Act provides for the mode of location of mining claims, and for the extent of the
applicant's interest in the location.
Section 11 is as follows:—"In case any dispute shall arise between the applicants for the
"same claim or any portion thereof, any Supreme Court Judge, County Court Judge, or Gold
"Commissioner shall have full power to hear and determine the dispute, and the procedure and
"practice shall be analogous to that provided for in the 'Gold Mining Ordinance, 1867.'"
Although I do not propose to recommend disallowance of this Act, I think it proper to call
attention to the various Acts relating to the Gold Commissioner and his power as a Judge of the
Mining Court, and to the danger of allowing legislation which increases from time to time the
jurisdiction of this Court, the Judge of which has not been appointed by the Governor-General;
Ordinance No. 90, assented to on the 2nd April, 1867, of the Bevised Laws of British
Columbia, section 4, provides that "the Governor may from time to time appoint such persons
"as he shall think proper to be Chief Gold Commissioner and Gold Commissioners, either for
"the whole Colony or for any particular districts therein, and from time to time, in like manner,
"fix and vary the limits of and subdivide such districts, and make and revoke all such appoint-
"ments."
Section 5 h ■>« fellows:—"Within every such district or districts there shall be a Court to
"1™ called the 'Mining Court,' in which the Gold Commissioner of the district shall preside as
M judge thereof."
Section 6 is as follows:—"Such Mining Court shall have original jurisdiction as a Court of
"Law and Equity, to hear and determine all mining disputes arising within its district, and shall
" be a Court of record with a specific seal; and in determining suits or actions brought therein,
"the Gold Commissioner may render such judgment or make such order or decree as he shall
"deem just, and for the purposes thereof and for enforcing the same he shall have and exercise,
"save as hereinafter excepted, the same powers and authority, legal and equitable, as are now
"exercised in the Supreme Court of Civil Justice of British Columbia by any Judge thereof:
"Provided, however, that tho Gold Commissioner shall, if desired by both parties to a cause in
"cases of liquidated damages, or if desired by either party to a cause in case of unliquidated
"damages, summon a jury of from three to five free miners to assess the amount of such damages."
In 1872, this Act was amended by No. 14 of the Acts of that year, the 12th section of
which is as follows:—"Section 6 of the principal Act shall be so construed as to give the Mining
"Court jurisdiction in all actions arising upon contracts entered into between any free miner or
"company of free miners and any other person or persons, for the supply of goods, wares,
"merchandize, materials, or implements used in mining (articles of clothing excepted); and the
"Gold Commissioner shall have full power to enforce any judgment, decree, rule, or order of such
"Court, according to the present practice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, by writ of
"execution, process of contempt, proceedings for attachment of debts, or by other process
"adopted by such Supreme Court."     This Act was left to its operation, without special remark.
In 1873, Act No. 14 of that year was passed, providing for the merging of the Mining
Court into the County Court, and giving the County Court Judges the same jurisdiction and
powers as those had and exercised by the Gold Commissioners acting as Judges of the Mining-
Court, but the Act is to come into force in such portions only of the Province as the Lieutenant-
Governor in Council may from time to time by proclamation order, and such order may in like
manner be from time to time varied or revoked. This Act, also, was left to its operation without
special remark.
In 1876, Act No. 26 of the Statutes of that year was passed, which, after referring to an
Act of 1873 authorizing the acquisition of the fee simple of certain mining lands upon certain
conditions, provides by section 7 as follows :—"That the Gold Commissioner shall, with reference
"to real estate held under the said Act, have the same powers and authorities to decide all
"matters or disputes arising between the owners thereof, or between the owners thereof and any
"third person, in the same way and as fully as he might do concerning claims not being real
"estate; and actions, suits, and other proceedings relating to such matters or disputes, shall be
"brought and had in the same manner as actions, suits, or proceedings relating to mining claims
"not being real estate."    This Act was, also, left to its operation without special remark.
The section of the Act now under consideration further extends the powers of Gold
Commissioners as Judge of the Mining Court. The 90th section of the " British North America
Act, 1867," empowers the Governor-General to appoint the Judges of the Superior, District, and
County Courts in each Province, except those of the Courts of Probate in Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick.      By the 92nd section, the Provincial Legislatures have power to make laws in 41 Vic. Correspondence—Acts of 1877. 423
relation to the Administration of Justice, including the constitution, maintenance, and organization of Provincial Courts both of civil and of criminal jurisdiction. They have, also, power to
legislate respecting the establishment and tenure of Provincial Offices, and the appointment and
payment of Provincial Officers.
If there be power in the Legislature of British Columbia to establish this so-called Mining
Court and appoint and pay the Judge thereof, it must be found in the sections I have just
quoted. I think, however, that this Court which is declared to have original jurisdiction to be
a Court of Law and Equity and a Court of Record with a specific seal, and for the purpose of
enforcing its judgments, orders and decrees to have (with certain exceptions) the same powers
and authority legally and equitably as are exercised in the Supreme Court of Civil Justice of
British Columbia by any Judge thereof, which has power also to summon a jury to assess
damages, may he considered a Court within the meaning of the 96th section of the Confederation
Act.
It is not, in my opinion, necessary to bring a Brovincial Court within the provisions of this
section, that it should be called by the particular name of Superior, District, or County Court.
The exception to that section itself indicates that the Courts of Brobate in Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick would, unless specially excepted, have come within the definition of Superior,
District, or County Courts. It will be readily seen how easy it would be for local Legislatures,
by gradually extending the jurisdiction of these Mining Courts, and by curtailing the jurisdiction of the County Courts or Supreme Courts as now established, to bring within their own
reach not only the administration of justice in the Province, but also practically the appointment
of the Judges of the Courts in which justice is administered. Inasmuch, however, as legislation
of a similar nature to that contained in the section now under consideration has been left to its
operation in previous years, and as the provisions of the section appear to be convenient, I do
not recommend a disallowance of the Act.
I recommend, however, that the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor be called to the
observations just made.
The 14th section provides that the Act shall only apply to unoccupied and unreserved
Crown land, and shall not apply to any Indian reserve or settlement.
I call attention to the report of the Minister of Justice, dated March 9th, 1874, upon
chapters 1, 3 and 4 of the Statutes of British Columbia of that year, in which it was pointed
out that as the two years by which, under the terms upon which British Columbia entered the
Union, lands were to be reserved by the Government of British Columbia from sale, with a view
to setting apart such lands as are requisite for the Canada Pacific Railway, had expired, there
was no objection to the passage of these Acts; but it was suggested that communication he had
with the Lieutenant-Governor, calling his attention to the practical inconvenience which must
ensue to the Government of Canada and British Columbia if land be sold by the Province on
any portion of the line which may hereafter be selected as that.of the Canada Pacific Bailway,
and that his consideration be requested to the propriety of withholding from sale or rights of
pre-emption lands which, in so far as surveys have been heretofore made, can possibly be contiguous to the line of railway if any one of such surveys be adopted. I recommend that a
similar course be pursued with reference to this Act.
.
No. 15   "An Act to make regulations with respect to Coal Mines."
Section 14 is as follows, viz.:—" Any Act for the time being in force relating to weights
" and measures shall apply to the weights used in any mine to which this Act applies for deter-
" mining the wages payable to any person employed in such mine according to the'weight of the
" coal gotten by such person, in like manner as it applies to weights used for the sale of any
" article; and any Inspector of Weights and Measures for the Province appointed under the
" said Act shall accordingly from time to time, but without unnecessarily impeding or interrupting th^e working of the mine, inspect and examine, in manner directed by the said Act, the
" weighing machines and weights used for mines to which this Act applies, or the measures or
" gauges used for such mines : Provided, that nothing in this section shall prevent the use of
"the measures and gauges ordinarily used in such mine."
This section intrenches upon the subject of weights and measures which by the "British
North America Act, 1867," comes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament
of Canada.
I recommend that the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor be called to this provision, in
order that his Government may, before the time for disallowance of the Act arrives, promote its
sepeal. 424 Correspondence—Acts of 1877g 1878
Section 32 provides that " Every person who commits any of the following offences, that is
" to say :
"(1.) Forges, or counterfeits, or knowingly makes any false statement in any certificate of
" competency or service under this Act, or any official copy of such certificate ; or
"(2.) Knowingly utters or uses any such certificate or copy which has been forged or
" counterfeited or contains any false statement; or
" (3.) For the purpose of obtaining, for himself or any other person,  employment as a
" certificated manager, or the grant, renewal, or restoration of any certificate under this
" Act, or a copy thereof, either—
"(«.) makes or gives any declaration, representation, statement, or evidence which
" is false in any particular, or
" (&.) knowingly utters, produces, or makes use of any such declaration, representa-
" tion, statement or evidence, or any document containing the same,
"shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and be liable on conviction to imprisonment for
" a term not exceeding twelve months."
This section clearly intrenches upon the criminal law. I recommend that the
Lieutenant-G'>vc;\i:)i-be requested to invite its repeal before the time for disallowance
of the Act arrives.
The 28th sub-section of Section 46, Part II. of the Act, is as follows:
"No person shall wilfully damage, or without proper authority remove or render
"useless any fence,  fencing, casing, lining, guide, means of signalling, signal, cover,
"chain, flange, horn, break, indicator, steam gauge, water gauge, safety valve, or other
"appliance or thing provided in any mine in compliance with this Act."
This seems to intrench upon the criminal law relating to malicious injuries to property,
but as tho provision is a useful one, and doubts may arise as to whether all the cases
mentioned in the section are provided for in the criminal law, I do no more than call
attention to the fact.
No. 16. "An Act to repeal the 'Licences Amendment Act,. 1876,' and 'An Act to
further amend the Licences Ordinance, 1867.'"
No. 17. "An Act to afford to owners and occupiers of land a summary remedy in
certain cases of trespass."
These two Acts appear unobjectionable, and I recommend that they be left to their
ojjeration.
No. 18. "An Act to amend the 'Election Regulation Act, 1871.'"
This Act seems unobjectionable, with the exception of the use of the word "offence"
in the 8th section.-    The attention of the Lieutenant-Governor should bo called to this
word.
No. 19. "An Act to amend tho Law relating to procedure at Elections of Members
of tho Legislative Assembly of British Columbia."
The 11th section is as follows:—"Every person who,—
"(1.) Forges or counterfeits, or fraudulently defaces, or fraudulently destroys, any
"ballot paper or the official mark on any ballot paper; or
" (2.) Without due authority supplies any ballot paper to any person; or
"(3.) Fraudulently puts into any ballot box any paper other than the ballot paper
" which he is authorized by law to put in; or
" (4.) Fraudulently takes out of the polling station any ballot paper; or
" (5.) Without due authority destroys, takes, opens, or otherwise interferes with
"any ballot box or packet of ballot papers then in use for tho purposes of the
" election; or
" (6.) Opens and exhibits his ballot paper to anyone after having duly marked the
"same, preparatory to depositing it in the ballot box;
"shall, upon a summary conviction before a Justice of the Peace, be liable to a fine not
" exceeding one hundred dollars, or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding twelve
" months, if he is a returning officer,   or an  officer or clerk in attendance at a polling
"station;  and if he is any other person, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding
" six months.
"Any attempt to commit any offence specified in this section shall be punishable in
"the manner in which the offence itself is punishable." 41 Vic.   . Correspondence—Acts of 1877. • 425
c<
The 1st sub-section, in so far as it relates to the forging or counterfeiting of ballot
papers, clearly intrenches upon the criminal law. The word "offence" also occurs in
this section and in the 12th section.
I recommend that the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor be called to these
remarks, with a view to an amendment of tho objectionable parts.
The 23rd section is as follows:—"The provisions of the 'Election Regulation Act,
1871/ as regards personation, apply to personation under this Act, in the same manner
" as they applyr to a person who knowingly personates and falsely assumes to vote in
"the name of another person as mentioned in the said Act."
On turning to the "Election Regulation Act, 1871," the provisions, as regards
personation, appear to be contained in the 67th, 68th, and 69th sections.
These sections provide, that any person knowingly personating and falsely assuming
to vote in the name of any other person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on being
convicted thereof shall be liable to a certain fine or imprisonment. That the returning
officer, if he has reason to suspect that any person is personating, &c, may require such
person to sign his name in a book; and any person signing the name of an elector, not
being his own name, shall be guilty of forgery, and liable on conviction to be punished
accordingly; and that any such person who, being unable to write, shall fix his mark to
the name of any elector, not being his own name, shall be guilty of forgery, and liable
on conviction to be punished accordingly.
The attempt to incorporate these provisions in the Act now under consideration,
clearly intrenches on the criminal law.
I recommend that the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor be called to this, in
order that the objection may be removed, by amendment, before tho.time expires within
which the Act may be disallowed.
No. 20. "An Act to authorize a loan of £150,000.
No. 21. "An Act relating to the powers of the Judges of the Supreme Court to
establish a tariff of costs, and to make rules of practice."
These Acts appear unobjectionable, and I recommend that they be left to their
operation.
No. 22. "An Act to provide for the better Administration of Justice."
I propose to report upon this Act at a future time.
No. 23. "An Act for giving appeals from convictions or orders of Justices of the
Peace, in certain cases, to the County Court,"
This Act appears to be unobjectionable, and I recommend that it be left to its
operation.
No. 24. "An Act to consolidate the Laws relating to the Legal Professions in this
Province."
I propose to report upon this Act at a future time.
No. 25. " An Act to amend the 'Consolidated Public School Act, 1876.'"
No. 26. "An Act to repeal the 'Land Act Amendment Act, 1876 '"
No. 27. "An Act respecting short forms of Mortgages in British Columbia."
No. 28. "An Act for providing in certain cases for the distribution of the estates of
persons dying intestate and leaving property in the Province."
No. 29. " An Act relating to the 24° Geo. II., cap. 40."
These Acts appear unobjectionable, and I recommend that they be left to their
operation.
No. 30. "An Act to prohibit the sale or gift of intoxicating liquors to minors, and
to prevent the frequenting of liquor saloons by such persons."
The word "offence" appears in the 3rd section of this Act, and with this exception
the Act appears unobjectionable.
No. 31. "An Act for the relief of Andrew Astrieo, of Victoria."
Although some objection has been taken to this Act, its provisions seem to be quite
within the legislative powers of the Province, and I recommend that it be left to its
operation. 426 Correspondence—Acts of 1877. . 1878
No. 32. " An Act to incorporate the Alexandra Company (Limited)."
. The 1st section of this Act provides that certain persons shall be a body corporate,
for the purpose of carrying on the business of canning and curing meats, &c, for
engaging in their production and growth, and for the manufacture of hides, leather,
soap and candles, and doing all things appertaining thereto or connected therewith in
the Province of British Columbia or elsewhere; and shall be capable in law of contracting
and being contracted with, suing and being sued, pleading and being impleaded, in any
Courts of Law or Equity within the Brovince of British Columbia, or elsewhere.
The 18th section provides that the company shall have power among other things
to charter, navigate and maintain ships, steamers, &c, for the carrying and conveying
of goods and passengers or other traffic between the ports in British Columbia and
elsewhere in Canada, and oceans, lakes, rivers, or high seas or other navigable waters
thereof, or from any port or ports in British Columbia or elsewhere in Canada to any
foreign port or ports, or from one foreign port or ports to any port or ports of British
Columbia, or elsewhere in Canada; and upon the oceans, rivers, lakes, or high seas, or
other navigable waters whatsoever.
The 21st section gives the company power to appoint resident agents at any port
or place within the Province of British Columbia or elsewhere, for the purpose of
effecting purchases and sales and attending to the general interests of the company.
The power of the Local Legislature to incorporate a company is to be found in the
11th sub-section of section 92, " British North America Act, 1867." Such power is
confined to the incorporation of companies with ProvineicXl objects. It appears to me that
some at least of the powers conferred upon this company are not confined to Provincial
objects.
The company is not only incorporated for the purpose of carrying on its business
in British Columbia, but the words "and elsewhere" are added, which would apparently enable them to carry on business over the whole Dominion, and also in other
countries.
The power to charter, navigate, and maintain ships, steamers, &c, for the carrying
and conveying of goods and passengers or other traffic to the wide extent above mentioned, clearly exceeds any fair construction of the words " with Provincial objects."
In fact, the attempt to authorize this company to carry on so extended a traffic seems
to be in direct conflict with the 10th sub-section of section 92, which enables the Local
Legislature to make laws in relation to local works and undertakings other than such
as are of the following classes, namely:—
"Lines of steam or other ships and other works and undertakings connecting the
"Province with any other or others of the Provinces, or extending beyond the limits of
" the Province; lines of steam ships between the Province and any British or foreign
" country."
Legislation of a nature similar to this which has taken place in other Provinces of
the Dominion has been objected to, and has been either disallowed or subsequently
amended or repealed.
I recommend that the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor bo called to the objectionable features of this Act, to the end that his Government may at the next session
and before the time expires within which it must, if not amended, be disallowed,
promote such legislation as may be necessary to amend the Act in such a manner as
will confine the objects of the company to such matters as may be within tho legislative
authority of the Provincial Legislature.
It is doubtful whether the provisions of the 21st section giving the company power
to appoint a resident agent at any place within British Columbia or elsewhere, for the
purpose of effecting purchases and sales and attending to the general interests of the
company, are within the authority of the Local Legislature. If, however, tho objects
of the company be confined to Provincial objects within the meaning of those words in
the British North America Act, the power thus given would not appear to be objectionable.
No. 33. "An Act to incorporate the British Columbia Insurance Companv (Limited.)"
This Act, by section 1, incorporates certain persons for the carrying on the business
of fire and marine insurance, and doing all things appertaining thereto or connected
therewith in the Province of British Columbia and elsewhere. 41 Vic. Correspondence—Acts of 1877. 427
Section 18 gives the company power to make contracts of insurance with any
person against loss or damage by fire or lightning on any house, store, or other building
whatsoever, and in like manner on any goods whatsoever, and to make contracts of
insurance with any person against loss or damage by fire, storm, or tempest, or from
any other cause, of or to ships, boats, vessels, steamboats or other craft navigating the
ocean, lakes, rivers or high seas or other navigable waters whatsoevei, from any port
or ports in Canada to any other port or ports in Canada, or to any foreign port or ports
upon the ocean, lakes, rivers, or other navigable waters aforesaid, or from one foreign
port to another foreign port, or from any foreign port or ports to any port or ports in
Canada or elsewhere, upon all or any oceans, lakes, rivers, and navigable waters aforesaid, and against any loss or damage of or to tho cargoes or property conveyed in or
upon any such ships, &c, and the freight due or to come due in respect thereof, or of or
to timber or other property of any description conveyed in any manner upon any of the
oceans, seas, &c, or on any railway, or stored in any warehouse or railway station, and
generally to do all matters and things relating to or connected with fire and marine
insurance.
The 21st section empowers the company to appoint resident agents at any place
within the Brovince of British Columbia or elsewhere, for the purpose of effecting at such
places marine insurance upon ships, freights and cargoes, and insurance against losses
by fire on buildings and other property, and to appoint and establish local agencies and
local boards of direction or of supervision, and gives the company power to comply
with the laws of any Province, State or country wherein it proposes to carry on
business, so far as such laws are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act.
The powers thus proposed to be conferred by this Act appear too wide, as the company is in effect authorized to do a universal insurance business.
*      I refer to the remarks just made upon the preceding Act, which are here applicable.
Acts similar to the one now under consideration were passed by other Provinces,
but were objected to and amended or disallowed.
I refer to the report of the Minister of Justice of tho 15th September, 1876, upon
certain Acts passed by the Legislature of Nova Scotia, 38 Vic. (1875), where remarks
are made and extracts given from other reports upon this subject.
I recommend that a similar course he taken with this Act to that which has been
recommended with reference to the preceding one.
The 19th section empowers the company to invest its funds in the public securities
of the Dominion of Canada, or of any of the Provinces thereof, or of any foreign State
or States, when required for the carrying on business in such foreign State, or in the
stocks of any chartered banks or building societies, or in the bonds or debentures of
any incorporated city, town, &c, or in mortgages of real estate, in such manner and at
such rate of interest as may be agreed upon, not exceeding the rate allowed by law in
the Province where the investment is made.
The objections above pointed out apply to this clause so far as it refers _ to the
carrying on of business in a foreign city, and the power to invest at such rate of interest
as may be agreed upon seems to be ultra vires of the Provincial Legislature, inasmuch
as the subject of interest comes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada.
As, however, the existing law relating to interest in British Columbia appears to
enable parties to agree upon any rate, and as the provision of this section confines the
parties to any rate not exceeding the rate allowed by law in the Province, no inconvenience is likely to arise from the provision.
No. 34. "An Act for granting certain sums of money required for defraying the
expenses of Civil Government for the year 1877, and for the making good certain sums
expended in the Public Service in 1876, and for other purposes."
This Act appears unobjectionable, and I recommend that it be left to its operation.
No. 35. Reserved Act.
In.addition to the above Acts of the Legislature of British Columbia, a Bill was
passed intituled "An Act to amend the ' Gold Mining Amendment Act, 1872,' " which
Billwas reserved by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor for the signification of the
pleasure of His Excellency the Governor-General thereon.    The Act is as follows :— 428 Correspondence—Acts of 1877. 1878
" Every Mining Court in this Province shall, in addition to its present jurisdiction,
" have jurisdiction in all personal actions arising within the limits of its district, and
" the Gold Commissioner presiding in any such Court shall have the like powers to
"enforce any judgment, decree, rule or order of such Court as are conferred by section
" 12 of the ' Gold Mining Amendment Act, 1872.'
"The provisions of this Act shall only have effect in the Electoral District'of
"Kootenay, and in that part of the Province known as Cassiar."
The Attorney-General of the Province reported upon this Act to the Lieutenant-
Governor as follows :—
"This Act gives jurisdiction in all personal actions to the Gold Commissioners in
"Kootenay and Cassiar, and appears to trench upon the provision of the 90th section of
"the British North America Act, which vests the appointment of the Supreme and
"County Court Judges in the Governor-General alone, inasmuch as it provides that the
"paid employes of the Local Government in the district aforesaid shall have and exer-
" cise almost as much power as a Supreme Court Judge.
"As I think this Legislature has not the power in effect to make these appoint-
"ments, I would suggest that the Act bo reserved for the consideration of His Excel-
" lency the Governor-General."
I refer to the remarks made upon the Mining Court in connection with the 11th
section of Act No. 14.
This Bill is an illustration of the danger I have alluded to. as if it became law the
jurisdiction of the Mining Court in the districts referred to will be greater than the
jurisdiction of the County Court, and equal to that of the Supreme Court. It might be
convenient that a somewhat extended jurisdiction should be given to a District Court
or Magistrate in the Districts of Kootenay and Cassiar, thereby avoiding the expense
and delay attendant upon a Judge of the Supreme Court travelling to these distant parts
of the Brovince for the purpose of holding an Assize, and it is probable that this Bill
was passed with that object in view.
I would mention, however, that even were this Bid assented to it would be necessary for a Supreme Court Judge to proceed to the district mentioned for the trial of
criminal cases.
Upon the whole I recommend that the assent of the Governor-General be not given
to this Bill, which, in fact, should have been disposed of by the local authorities
themselves.
(Signed) Z. A. Lash,
1 concur. D. M. J.
(Initialed)       R. L.,
M.J.

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