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Beginnings And Landmarks

First Provincial Legislature Of Saskatchewan Opened
The Speech From The Throne---Hon. Thomas MacNutt Elected Speaker

Saskatoon Phoenix
April 4, 1906. p.7

REGINA, MARCH 30.--The first session of the First Legislative Assembly of the province was opened yesterday afternoon with great éclat and was attended by all the pomp and ceremony usually connected with such events. The day was delightfully warm and bright. Over two thousand people crowded around the little legislative chamber yesterday afternoon in an effort to hear at least an echo of the proceedings. The old hall was crowded; and standing room was early unobtainable. Even the press gallery, according to custom in Regina, but unaccording to the practice in less enthusiastic legislative chambers was crowded to an extent that seriously interfered with the work of the reporters gathered there.


Shortly after three o’clock the members, who had previously been sworn in by His Honor at government house, filed into the chamber, Mr. J. F. Bole, member for Regina city, leading the way. He was followed by D. B. Neeley, Wm. Garry J. Sheppard, W. C. Sutherland, A. Champagne, J. H. Sanderson and J. D. Stewart, liberal members in the order named. Seven of the eight opposition members quickly followed, headed by J. T. Brown of Moosomin, A. B. Gillis alone being absent.

In the meantime His Honor was being driven from government house to the legislative assembly building under an escort of the R. N.W. M. P., inspector Shaw in command. In His Honor’s suite were commissioner Perry, assistant commissioner McIllree, inspector Pelletier, A. D. C., inspector Hefferman, inspector Burhett, inspector Ritchie and Dr. Bell.

With the usual formalities His Honor Lieutenant Governor Forgot entered the chamber and Hon. W. R. Motherwell read the statement that the government had the confidence of the representative of His Majesty.


The speech from the throne as read was as follows:

Since the closing, in this hall, on the eighth day of October, 1904, of the Third Session of the Fifth Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories, the hope then entertained for an early establishment of provincial institutions in the west has been has been amply realised.

Parliament at its last session passed two acts after one of the most interesting debates over heard at Ottawa, providing for the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in that part of the dominion lying between the provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia, and south of the sixtieth parallel of north latitude, thus completing a chain of provinces from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and thereby fulfilling the hopes of the fathers of confederation of forty years ago.

As was also the case in the neighboring province of Alberta the provincial Act came into force in this province on the first day of September last, amidst universal rejoicing. The inaugural festivities were honored by the presence of their Excellencies the Governor General and Lady Grey, the Right Honorable the Premier of Canada and Lady Laurier, together with numerous other distinguished visitors, each and all manifesting the deepest interest in the event.

It has been a matter of considerable gratification to note the kindly expression of welcome into the Canadian federation extended to this province voiced in the addresses made at the opening of parliament and the various provincial legislatures, and I am sure that these sentiments are warmly reciprocated by all.

As you are aware, in pursuance of the new constitution and executive government was early organised, and a general election of representatives of the several electoral districts into which the province is divided duly held. Today it gives me very great pleasure to welcome you as the members of the first legislative assembly of the province of Saskatchewan, and to congratulate you in thus being privileged to participate in an event of such importance.

I feel confident that I shall only voice your own sentiments in taking advantage of the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught, whose visit to this city is shortly expected, in transmitting through him to our Gracious Sovereign the assurance of our sincere continued feeling of loyalty and attachment to his Crown, together with our greatful appreciation and warm thanks for the kind message sent to us on inauguration day, in which His Majesty expressed earnest hope for our prosperous future.

I am happy to be able to congratulate you on the prosperous conditions generally prevailing throughout the province, and the success which is attending the efforts of our people in the various pursuits in which they are engaged. Short as has been the time since the organisation of our new province, we have great cause for thanksgiving that the many blessings which our people have in the past enjoyed through the mercies of a kind Providence are still being continued to us.

You will be pleased to learn that the inaugural year of this province has to be most auspicious in so far as the reward given to labors of our agriculturists is concerned. The results of the first harvest gathered after the establishment of the province have only just been accurately determined, and indicate that an era of general prosperity has been entered upon, the limits of which can hardily be estimated. Within the boundaries of this province, twenty-six million bushels of wheat have actually passed through the threshing machine during the past season. What this means may perhaps be partially gathered from consideration of the fact that, over the area now comprising the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, in the season of 1904-5 only sixteen million bushels of wheat were threshed.

The Dominion Government has recently seen fit to withdraw the assistance formerly given to the dairy industry in the west, and it has seemed advisable to my government that the results of the valuable work hitherto accomplished should not be lost by the abandonment of government control and supervision of this important and profitable branch of agricultural husbandry. Every effort will be exerted by my government to suggest in some cases and in others provide means for co-operative and educational work such as from time to time may be deemed of advantage, with a view to giving the industry such an impetus as shall ensure its perpetuation and progression upon the most satisfactory basis.

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company has taken steps to prosecute with the utmost despatch the construction of its proposed lines in Saskatchewan. The Canadian Northern and the Canadian Pacific Railway Companies have also announced their intention of materially extending their systems throughout Western Canada. As a consequence I feel confident that all classes of our people will soon experience the beneficial results arising from the construction and operation of these important works.

The continued and rapid settlement of Western Canada is most gratifying. Being satisfied that there is every reason to hope for indefinite expansion in this direction my Government will, with your approval take steps to encourage and assist in every way possible those in our midst.

Under the terms of The Saskatchewan Act the laws in force at the date of the establishment of the Province are not affected by the constitutional change which has taken place. So long as these laws continue to give satisfaction of the Government to leave them to their operation, only asking for their amendment or repeal as circumstances may demand. For general convenience, however, it is deemed advisable to have all the laws now in force revised and consolidated at an early date, and a Bill with that object in view will be laid before you.

As a consequence of the establishment of the Province it has become necessary to ask your approval to measures relating to the Lieutenant Governor, the Executive Council, the Legislative Assembly and the several Departments of the Public Service.

In view of the numerous applications to be made to you for the grant of railway charters the question has been engaging the attention of my advisers, and a Bill dealing with the subject will be submitted for your consideration.

You will be invited to consider Bills relating to real property, public libraries, coroners, police and other matters of importance.

The Public accounts and reports of the several Departments will be submitted to you at an early date.

The estimated requirements of the public service of the Province will also be laid before you. You will find that they have been prepared with due regard to economy and general efficiency.

I now leave you to your deliberations, fully believing that you will give to all matters which may be brought before you your closest attention, and hoping that your labors under Divine guidance will turn to the best advantage of the Province.

His Honor having legislative chamber, Hon. W. R. Motherwell, provincial secretary, read an official notification to the house that before proceeding to inform them of the reasons for calling them together His Honor required that they should elect a speaker. His Honor then withdrew and the house proceeded to elect a speaker.


Premier Scott rose and addressing the clerk of the house, said:

We have been the first legislative assembly of this new province of Saskatchewan. We are assembled here in obedience to the summons of the representative of His Majesty to organize for the duties and responsibilities which devolve upon us. In many respects we are confronted with new conditions and new responsibilities; in many respects we are faced with new problems for the solution of which we shall have to depend upon our united counsel and wisdom. Fortunately to aid us we have a guide in the procedure of the old legislative assembly of the Territories. Our first duty is to elect a speaker. The duties of the office demand a knowledge of the rules of the house and strict impartiality. Usually in such a case amongst the members of a new house the selection of a speaker is a matter of great difficulty. Fortunately in the present instance it is not so. There is only one member sitting on the side of the house which is expected to supply the speaker who held a seat in the old Territorial legislature, and Mr. MacNutt of Saltcoats; possesses in a high degree those qualities essential to a proper discharge of the duties of a speaker. I, therefore, move, seconded by Hon. J. H. Lamont, that Thomas MacNutt, Esq., member for the electoral district of Saltcoats, do take the chair of this house as speaker.


Hon. F. W. G. Haultain; on behalf of the members on the opposition benches and on behalf of himself personally, expressed the absolute confidence which they and he had in the abilities of Mr. MacNutt to carry out the duties of the position, seeing that the speaker must be elected from the government benches. “As the leader of the house has said,” went on Mr. Haultain, “we cannot do better than to abide by the rules which have been handed down to us through a thousand years of parliamentary procedure.

Mr. MacNutt brings with him a fairness and geniality which will make him a creditable person as speaker, and, outside the confines of this house, he will continue to be our friend as in the past. From this side of the house we will give to him a cordial and loyal support as well as a friendly support.” SPEAKER REPLIES.

On the motion being put to the house the clerk declared Mr. MacNutt elected to the position of speaker of the house, and the member for Saltcoats appeared clad in his official robes. He took the chair and assured the house of his desire to act in a fair and impartial manner in adjudicating on all questions.


A bill respecting the administrations of oaths of office was then introduced and read a first time.

Moved by Mr. Scott, seconded by Mr. Lamont and carried: That the consideration of the gracious speech of his honor the Lieutenant Governor be taken up on Monday.

Moved by Mr. Scott and seconded by Mr. Calder and carried: that a committee to select standing and select committees for the session on standing orders, privileges, and elections, public accounts and printing, law amendments, municipal affairs be appointed. Carried.