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REPORT Of the Minister of Justice upon the Statutes of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1927

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 16 Geo. 5 Report on Acts. Z 1
EEPOET
Of the Minister of Justice upon the Statutes of the Legislative Assembly of the
Province of British Columbia passed during the Session of 1925.
By Command.
WILLIAM SLOAN,
Provincial Secretary.
Provincial Secretary's Office.
At Government House,
Victoria, B.C., January 25th, 1027.
Sir,—I have the honour by direction to enclose herewith a certified copy of a Minute of
Council dated the 13th instant, received from the Under-Secretary of State, Ottawa, approving
the report of the Minister of Justice upon the Statutes of the Province of British Columbia
passed in the fifteenth year of His Majesty's Reign (1925), a copy of such report being attached
to the Minute.
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient servant,
A. M. D. FAIRBAIRN,
Acting Private Secretary.
The Honourable the Provincial Secretary,
Victoria, B.C.
P.C. 34.
Certified to be a True Copy of a Minute of a Meeting of the Committee of the Primj Council,
approved by.His Excellency the Governor-General on the 13th January, 1927.
The Committee of the Privy Council have had under consideration the annexed report, dated
7th January, 1927, of the Minister of Justice, upon the Statutes of the Province of British
Columbia passed in the fifteenth year of the reign of His Majesty King George V. (1925) and
i eceived by the Secretary of State of Canada on the 18th January, 192G.
The Committee "concur in the opinion of the Minister of Justice as set out in the said report
and advise that a copy hereof, together with a copy of the report of the Minister, be transferred:
to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia for the information of his Government.
All of which is respectfully submitted for Your Excellency's approval.
E. J.  LEMAIRE,
Clerk of the Privy Council.
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia.
P.C. 34.
Department oe Justice, Canada.
Ottawa, 7th January, 1927.
To His Excellency the Governor-General in Council:
The undersigned has the honour to report that he has examined the Statutes of the Province
of British Columbia passed in the fifteenth year of the reign of His Majesty King George V.
(1925), and received by the Secretary of State of Canada on the 18th January, 1926, and he is of
opinion that these Statutes may be left to such operation as they may have. With regard to chapter 51 of the said Statutes, being " An Act to amend the ' Sumas
Drainage, Dyking, and Development District Act,' " a petition was received by the undersigned
from a considerable number of owners of lands affected by the Sumas Drainage Scheme, praying
for the disallowance of the Act. A copy of the said petition is attached hereto. The undersigned has given attentive consideration to the allegations of the petition, but is unable to
conclude that the exercise of the power of disallowance would in the circumstances of the case
be justifiable. The Statute in question is clearly within the legislative jurisdiction of the
Province and deals with a matter of general public policy in the Province. So far as the
undersigned is aware, its provisions do not in any way trench upon any Dominion interest or
policy, and he is of opinion that the disallowance of the Act would be an interference by the
Dominion in matters of purely Provincial concern. He considers, therefore, that the Act should
be left to such operation as it may have. Having reached this conclusion, it becomes unnecessary
to consider the merits or demerits of the legislation in question.
The undersigned recommends that a copy of this report, if approved, be transmitted to the
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province for the information of his Government.
Humbly submitted.
(Sgd.)    Ernest Lapointe,
Minister of Justice.
Huntingdon, B.C., 6th February, 1026.
The Hon. the Minister of Justice, Ottawa.
Dear Sir,—The undersigned owners of lands abutting on the lands formerly comprising the
bed of Sumas Lake respectfully invite your attention to " An Act to amend the ' Sumas Drainage,
Dyking, and Development District Act,' " passed by the Legislature of British Columbia at the
session of 1925 recently concluded.
This Act is pursuant to a grant of the lake- bottom hinds made by your Government to the
Government of British Columbia in aid of a scheme of reclamation. This scheme was instituted
by the owners of lands adjoining the lake, your petitioners amongst others, and these owners
secured from your Government and renewed on several occasions a conditional grant of the lake-
bottom lands in aid of their undertaking. These owners had arranged, immediately before the
war, a firm contract with responsible contractors for the reclamation-works required, at a fixed
cost accepted as within the capacity of the lands to repay. The war having halted the arrangement, the Provincial Government intervened, and secured from your Government a conditional
transfer of the lands intended to have been given to the adjoining owners. The Provincial
Government then, through its Commissioners, proceeded to carry out the work of reclamation
without regard to cost or the capacity of the lands to repay, and has incurred cost fully double
that arranged for between the owners and their intended contractors. The amount now involved
and proposed to be levied is about iP3,(iO0.0OO, all of which is being assessed against the lands,
under conditions which indicate an accumulating burden against any remaining settlers when
the weaker financially are forced to abandon their homes and holdings.
Your petitioners, regarding this charge as confiscatory, about a year ago applied to the
Courts of British Columbia to declare invalid, for want of conformity with the then Statutes,
the assessment then proposed to be levied upon them; but before the trial of this cause the
Provincial Government asked for a stay of proceedings so that it might introduce legislation
promised as intended to ease the burden proposed. The plaintiffs accordingly agreed to the
proceedings in Court being adjourned; but nowT find that the Act procured by the Provincial
Government not only does not ease the burden as promised, but also forbids the continuance of
the case already in Court to set aside as illegal the ruinous assessments proposed and now
confirmed by this Act.
Your petitioners realize that, in so far as the dealing with property is concerned, the
Provincial Legislature has authority to pass such an Act; but we ask review of this Act
■by your Government because it deals in a tyrannical way, not contemplated, with a grant of
land made by your Government, and so that the grant becomes an instrument of oppression
instead of one of relief as intended.    Also, we ask your Government to indicate to all concerned 16 Gpo. 5 Report on Acts. Z 3
that in your view it is not in accordance with sound public policy to deny to citizens, as this
Act does, the inherent and recognized right to appeal to the Courts against supposed cruel
injustice.
Further, we appeal to your Government for sympathetic consideration and action because
that we are settlers under the regulations of your Government on Railway Belt lands conveyed
to your Government by the Province of British Columbia, and which now are in danger of
confiscation through this Act forbidding appeal to the Courts against illegal imposition of a tax
in itself too great to be borne; and we suggest that your Government has proper interest in
protecting as now petitioned for these settlers on Dominion lands.
We respectfully suggest to your Government the course which in our opinion might well be
followed: to disallow this Act as contrary to sound public policy in forbidding access to the
Courts.
Faithfully yours,
[Signed by a large number of land-owner-s.]
VICTORIA,  B.C. :
I'rintea by Charles F.   Banfield, Printer to tbe King's Must Excellent   Majesty.
1927. 

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