Canada, House of Commons Debates, 1st Parl, 1st Sess (13 November 1867)
By: Dominion of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Dominion of Canada, House of Commons Debates, 1st Parl, 1st Sess, 1867 at 41-62.
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The Speaker took the Chair at three o’clock.
Three petitions were presented and two read.
Hon. Dr. Tupper resumed the debate on the address. He said some honourable gentlemen might take objection to bringing before the House after-dinner utterances on public questions, but these were the occasions taken advantage of in England by statesmen to make their sentiments known, and of that nature was the honourable member for Hants’ drill shed speech. In that speech he had thanked God he was not only a Nova Scotian but a Canadian as well; and the speaker went on to read extracts from that speech amidst cries of “hear, hear”. In relation to the project advocated by some in Canada of dissolution, pure and simple, the honourable gentleman had said that such men ought to be crucified. That speech had been published in his own organ, and he believed, revised with his own hand, on a day which of all others he ought to have been able to give a clear expression to his ideas. After having heard his (the speaker’s) views in favour of Union, the honourable member had promised his assistance—it was true for a union of the Maritime Provinces, but it was with the full knowledge that it was his (the speaker’s) and his friend’s intention, if possible, to extend the Union to all British North America. He referred to the change which had taken place in Nova Scotia, because the sober second thought of New Brunswick had been in favour of Union with the great Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and that Province might become the frontier of a great power, while Nova Scotia would be left in a state of isolation and weakness. This Union of British North America would remain an evidence of the prophetic spirit of Lord Durham. He would read an extract from that nobleman’s report showing that to carry Union he (Lord D.) only looked to the Legislatures of the Provinces. He said not a word about the un-British idea of a constitutional change being referred to the people, rather than to their representatives. He (the speaker) contended that at one time under the unfavourable circumstance of New Brunswick having decided against Union, it was wise not to push the scheme immediately in the Legislature of Nova Scotia, but when the change took place in New Brunswick, the situation was changed. He had felt that if we rejected the advice of the Imperial Government, it would tend to a severance of British connection. It being incumbent upon the Mother country to defend us, she had a right to ask us to combine to make that defence effective. He showed that if Nova Scotia had not gone into Confederation, it could not have met the changes on the revenue without revising the tariff. He said a more loyal people than the Nova Scotians did not exist, but he did say Fenians and annexationists had everywhere, and in every instance, given their sympathies and assistance to the Anti-Unionists. The honourable member for Antigonish had thrown out the insinuation, that a large number of Nova Scotians were disloyal, and read an extract from his speech in which that honourable member had said that a few years ago, there were none disloyal, but he was not sure he could say as much now. He would show that the member for Digby had pledged himself in a speech on the hustings to give his assistance in securing peace and prosperity for every part of the whole Dominion. He appealed to his friends around him from Nova Scotia, having had their revenge —having driven from public life one of the best men in the Dominion, and left him (the speaker) alone a blasted trunk. He would appeal to them now to look upon this question in a broad, generous, patriotic and statesmanlike manner. Many of them, particularly the member for Cape Breton, had promised to give the Constitution a fair trial, now that it was the law of the land, and he hoped to hear a generous response to the call of patriotism from all. They were in a position to take a course that would redound to their lasting credit, and the best interests of their own Province and the Dominion. It was fortunate that the Provinces held their power from an imperial source, and if any injustice were attempted they could appeal to an
independent and just arbitrator—to the Imperial Government. If Nova Scotia took the ground of repeal, they would injure their advocacy of a re-adjustment of commercial relations and of the Intercolonial Railway. For these reasons alone, they should accept the situation and not take up the role of the Ishmaelite, with their hand against every man, and every man’s hand against them. Should they adhere to repeal, they would weaken any party they attached themselves to, either Ministry or Opposition. (Applause.)
Mr. Bellerose, after enthusiastic congratulations on the benefits of Confederation, and insisting on the importance of the currency and the militia questions, said that the Lower Canadian opposition had tried to raise up prejudices against Confederation, but had utterly failed after full explanations were given.
Mr. McLellan said Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the appeal to the representatives from Nova Scotia by the honourable member from Cumberland, to accept the situation and aid in perpetuating this Union. Earnest and energetic as the honourable member was in his appeal, there is one of much more power and effect coming up to us from the people we left behind—whose wishes we must obey; whose interest we must never forget. He asks us to follow the example of the member from Westmorland, N.B. who gives his adhesion to the Act, but he forgets the difference in our positions. The member for Westmorland is here from a Province, the large majority of whose people approve of his course, whilst we are sent here by a people who strongly disapprove of the Act in all its main features, and desire to have restored to them the power to control the affairs of their own Province, in conformity to the principles of the British Constitution. He reminded us that we have been treated by the House with courtesy. True, we have no cause for complaint on this point, but if we follow his advice—if we disregard the wishes of our constituents; if in a word, we betray them, then will we forfeit our claim to the civilities and courtesies of every honourable man in this House. He thinks we should rest satisfied with having had our revenge at the polls. He mistakes the people of Nova Scotia, if he supposes they are to be satisfied with this. They have been insulted and have had some measure of revenge, but the wrong done them has not been redressed, and without that they will not be content. The honourable member would have this House believe that this feeling is not general throughout Nova Scotia, because the Unionists polled about 13,000 votes at the recent election out of 47,000, but the House will bear in mind that this number was only obtained by the utmost possible pressure of both Governments under the favourable circumstances of having the measure passed inducing very many thereby to believe that as the act was done, there was no remedy, and the men who framed the measure of Union should be elected to put it in operation. He refers particularly to the county of Annapolis, and states that in 1864 that county gave a majority of 250 in favour of the gentleman who now represents it in this Parliament, whilst at the last election, run on this question, his majority was only one hundred and fifty. He should have informed the House, that in addition to the change in the franchise reducing the number of voters, that the Union candidate had sustaining him all the influence connected with the building of eighty miles of railway for the benefit of that county. He tells you that in the county of Colchester, the gentleman appointed to the office of Home Secretary, polled a majority of the votes in one Riding. It is true that in that Riding of the county, where all the officials reside, and through which the railways to Pictou and Halifax pass, my opponent had a majority of forty-two votes, but the whole county gave me a majority of 372. If the honourable member from Cumberland means to have the House infer from this that I only represent a portion of Colchester county, I might retort upon him, and by the same mode of argument, prove to the House that the honourable member himself does not represent the county of Cumberland, or in fact anything belonging to Nova Scotia. I could inform the House that taking the county of Cumberland on its original boundaries, the vote was against the honourable gentleman, but in a polling section recently added to the county he had a majority sufficient to return him for the county. I might explain to the House that in that Parrsboro polling section, there is a public wharf known all over Nova Scotia as the Parrsboro Snag. Ever since its construction this Snag has been a continual drain upon the public treasury, so much so that the one gleam of comfort we have in Nova Scotia is that Confederation relieves us of the whole cost of its maintenance. The House will already understand that this continual expenditure made under the authority of the honourable member renders him very popular in that polling section, giving him its vote and thereby his election. Now, applying
the honourable gentleman’s mode of argument to his own case, he becomes the representative of the Parrboro Snag, and as that now belongs to the Dominion it follows that he does not represent any Nova Scotian interest which gives him leisure to undertake the task of representing the honourable member for Hants (Mr. Howe), which he does in a manner, which that honourable member calls misrepresentation. The honourable gentleman from Cumberland has spent a part of two days in attempting to prove the member for Hants inconsistent on the question of Union. Suppose he should succeed it would only destroy the assertion he made in the outset that the result of the Nova Scotia elections was due to the eloquence of that honourable member. Suppose it to be true as asserted that he did in former years indoctrinate the public mind in favour of Union, then his subsequent labours would not more than frustrate his earlier efforts, and, therefore, he proves his own first assertion incorrect. Great as is the personal influence of the member for Hants, the House must not suppose that any individual influence can create so deep and strong a feeling as exists in Nova Scotia on this question, mainly because it is regarded by the great body of the people as calculated to prove highly injurious to their interests. I admit that the feeling is somewhat intensified by the total disregard of the people’s wishes manifested by the Government. The Member for Cumberland says his action in advocating Union in the Provinces was never questioned, and if there had been a difference of opinion it would have been tested at the election in 1863. In 1862 the question of Union was considered set at rest under the resolution of this House, which was passed with a special view to that object, and public attention in Nova Scotia was turned away from the question of a Union with Canada to the consideration of a Union of the Maritime Provinces. In proof of this I will give the words of the honourable member for Cumberland himself in moving a resolution of a Union of the Maritime Provinces in 1864. He says, speaking of the Union of all British America;— “Difficulties have been found—I may say insuperable difficulties—in grappling with that which so many of the ablest minds in this country have advocated in connection with this subject. The Union of the Maritime Provinces with Canada has hitherto presented insurmountable obstacles. I had the pleasure during the past year of visiting Canada, and conferring frequently and at considerable length upon the question with public men from all parts of the Province, and gathered to a large extent views not only of its public men but of its people. I may state to the House that the result of these conversations and of the information which I was enabled to obtain has convinced me that for many years it would be quite impracticable to obtain the larger Union.” Again he says, “I am convinced that whilst the financial condition of affairs has been such as it has been for years in Canada, the deficit now between expenditure and revenue being more than a million dollars, these Maritime Provinces would look very doubtfully upon a proposal which was to unite them with a country that is placed in a position of such financial embarrassment.” In the same speech, further on, he uses this expression, “The House will see that if such a Union were even in contemplation,” and then he makes this declaration, “That public attention has been turned away from the greater or a Union of British North America to a Union of the Maritime Provinces.” From these extracts from the honourable member’s own speech in 1864, it will be evident that the question of a Union with Canada could not have been a question at the polls in the election shortly preceding that speech, and when a few months later the honourable member assisted in framing the Quebec resolutions, and announced to the people of Nova Scotia his determination to carry them into effect, if possible, without consulting them, it was regarded as a surprise, and apart from the merits of the scheme, excited the strongest indignation. But the member for Cumberland asserts that in all the resolutions passed by the Nova Scotia Legislature at various times, it was not contemplated to have the question decided at the hustings. I am sure, sir. the people of Nova Scotia never for a moment supposed that so great a change would be made in the Constitution of their country, without ascertaining clearly that they desired it. The member for Cumberland denies that Lord Durham proposed to have the question submitted to the people. Let me set that matter at rest by reading to the House his exact words: “The state of the Lower Provinces, though it justifies the proposal of a Union, would not, I think, render it gracious, or even just, on the part of Parliament to carry it into effect without first referring it for the ample deliberation and consent of the people of those Colonies.” This report read by the people of Nova Scotia in the light of Earl Grey’s dispatch of the 2nd of March, 1847, which declares that differences of public opinion “should be settled at the hustings,” gave them an assurance that their wishes would be
ascertained and respected on this question. Is it any wonder then that the people of Nova Scotia feel indignant at the conduct of their Government in forcing them to accept this Union without consulting their wishes, more especially when they see grave objections in the terms of this Union, and serious ground to apprehend that their interests will suffer. In Nova Scotia we have had but little personal intercourse with the people of Canada, but as fellow-colonists, subjects of the same sovereign and living beneath the same flag, we felt an interest in their welfare, but believed that each Province could best promote its individual interests by preserving its own identity. Looking at the Provinces included in this Act of Confederation we find interests so distinct and separate that there will be a tendency to sectional legislation, which too often produces a conflict of interests and a sacrifice of the weaker. You have included an extent of country that cannot be moved by any one interest or influence any more than the agitation of one pool can be made to move the waters of separate and distinct pools. Sometimes you have storm and shipwreck upon your lakes here, whilst we have calm and sunshine down in the Lower Provinces, and so do we feel that you will have political storms and tempests in which the interests of our little Province will be shipwrecked. We also object to Confederation on the ground that it will greatly increase the expense of Legislation and Government to the whole Provinces. Five Governments have been organized to do the work performed hitherto by three. Besides our people felt that the promotors of this scheme had become so excited over the idea of a new nationality—a new Dominion—that they would incur expenditures which would largely increase the burdens of the people. In this respect, so far as we have the evidence, their fears are to be realised. The salary of the Governor-General has been increased about $19,000. The honourable member for Cumberland asserts that it was necessary to have this increase to secure the best talent of England to work out the new system. How does the honourable member reconcile this assertion with the fact that we have the same man, and are now paying to him fifty thousand dollars, while formerly he received but thirty-one thousand? Does he mean to say that the noble Lord did not hitherto give to the administration of public affairs the full powers of his intellect? Does he wish us to compare him to a machine in which there are wheels and powers never before used—to liken him to an engine that has only been working hitherto at half power, and that this increase of salary is to cause the engine to work at its full capacity? Sir, I mistake it you have not had questions arising in the Government of Canada during the past years which required the exercise of the whole powers of mind of those at the head of affairs. The honourable member for St. John would have us infer from his remarks that it is necessary to prevent corruptions, and reminds us that the widow of the late President is accused of having accepted presents as bribes for place and office. If the honourable member looking down the roll of names of the illustrious men who have filled the Presidential chair from the days of George Washington to the present time could find no other case to suit his argument, he might have had gallantry enough to have spared a woman whose lawful husband was so occupied with the momentous events of the time as to prevent him giving that attention to his domestic affairs which we see it required. But turning to the list of distinguished men from Durham to Elgin who have governed these Provinces on the smaller salary, or to the lists of Lieutenant-Governors, including some of the best minds in England, with half that salary, you cannot point to one charged with official corruption. Again, see the expense which the unnecessary creation, as many believe, of so many Heads of Departments, will involve. The honourable member for Lennox spoke of the great sacrifice, which he says, the public men of the Provinces made for Union. Looking along the Treasury benches at the smiling faces of the occupants, one feels that it must be a pleasant sacrifice, a happy and profitable kind of martyrdom, for which I have no doubt there has been a considerable rivalry. There are two of the offices now vacant—two altars without an offering, but we must not suppose it is because statesmen cannot be found for the sacrifice, when it is the country only that bleeds. And let us see to what extent. Turning to your official returns I take a number of the Heads of Departments coming first on the list, and find the average cost to be nearly forty thousand dollars, this multiplied by thirteen will show that in the sacrifice spoken of by the honourable member, the country will be bled to the extent of half a million dollars. The honourable member for Cumberland, however, advises retrenchment, and that the two vacant offices be abolished. He should have spared his friend who held the office of Home Secretary. He would have the House believe that the people of Colchester were unkind to that honourable gentleman in refusing to elect him, but the
member for Cumberland is much more unkind in charging him with accepting and holding so long as possible an office which he thinks the public necessities do not require. Nay, more, the honourable member is unkind to himself, as he came here from Nova Scotia to assist in the formation of the Cabinet, and aided in creating these two offices. But the people of Nova Scotia believe that while an increased expenditure will be made in the general administration, that it will bear especially hard upon them under the lowest tariff of the Confederated Provinces. We raised a larger revenue per head of the population than any of the others, and we see that when our tariff is made equal to the others, we shall be taxed out of all proportion for the maintenance of the General Government. Taking the importations of Nova Scotia for a year, and applying to them the tariff of Canada, we found it gave an increase of about fifty percent. or $633,000, for which the people see no just return. Not only was it evident that there would be this increase of taxation for general purposes, but the allowance for local purposes fell short of what the people had all along been accustomed to. Our revenue, even with the low tariff was sufficient to provide for the necessary Public Works, and maintain all those local services of the country which here are provided for by the counties, and in consequence our direct taxation was a mere trife. Last year our Legislature gave for the maintenance of roads and bridges nearly double the sum that you here in this great country were able to provide, but under this arrangement our local expenditure will have to be reduced from two dollars a head to about one dollar twelve cents. Our grants for roads and for education last year, were within two thousand dollars of what our whole local revenue would have been under Confederation. To these and other points, on which we feel the injustice of the terms to which we are compelled, at least for a time, to submit, may be attributed the result of the election in Nova Scotia. The honourable member for Cumberland tells the House that there are advantages which Nova Scotia will reap in this Confederation; I have only to say that he entirely failed to convince the people of Nova Scotia of any real and substantial benefits. He speaks of the development of our mining, and the promotion of our commercial interests. Turning to the official returns from our mines, we find the argument against him. In 1863 we raised 429,351 tons of coal, and in 1865, 651,220 tons, an increase of 221,869 tons, and in that year, 1865, only sent to Canada 21,000 tons, and the trade in coal as free, as it can be under Confederation; in the first year of which there has been a falling off of 300,000 tons. I do not, however, mean to attribute this to Confederation, I only wish to show that the development of our coal interest is affected by influences entirely outside of Canada. And then how is Confederation to benefit our commercial interests? How is it to promote our greatest interest, our shipping? It has been stated in this debate that proportionate to our population we are the greatest shipowning people on the globe; but does this country tend very largely to furnish them employment? We have probably more ships in the Port of Calcutta, in any day of the year, than we have in all the ports of Canada. We do not deny to your people a fair share of commercial energy and enterprise, but it has its own peculiar channels, and is occupied about the interests found within the country; interests which differ materially from ours, and when the proposition is made to place our commercial interests under your control, for the purpose, as the honourable member says, of developing it, an idea of the ridiculous presents itself to the mind such as one feels in seeing a hen appointed stepmother to a flock of ducks. The natural instincts of the one are inland, that of the others out upon the waters. True, you have abundances of waters for the transit of the products of your country, and could you only exchange your magnificent lakes, your great rolling rivers and lay like Nova Scotia in the warm embrace of the great Atlantic; could you feel all through the year the ceaseless throb of the mighty ocean quickening and strengthening in all your arteries, the pulsations of trade and commerce, then might we believe that an alliance with you would tend to stimulate and foster our commercial interests. But five months out of twelve your rivers and lakes are frozen and impassable, while Nova Scotia has ever round about her, is ever clasped in the arms of the sea, and, therefore, if she is to have a nursing mother for her trade and commerce it must be “a Kingdom down by the sea,”
—the open and the free.
The ever, ever sounding sea.
Free trade among the Provinces has been spoken of as one of the advantages to follow Confederation. If it were desirable to have the free trade enlarged it could have been easily arranged by the several Governments. The honourable member for Cumberland has reminded the House that we are to receive great benefits from the Intercolonial Railway.
I admit, sir, that we do anticipate advantages from the building of at least a portion of this road, and in all the negotiations respecting its construction, we in Nova Scotia, have always been willing to contribute our fair share. Taking the work as originally contemplated and as now proposed in the Act of Union to connect the St. Lawrence with the City of Halifax, it will be seen that we have already built sixty miles, which is more than our share, and not only have we built sixty miles, but we had actually contracted for the building of about twenty miles more than our share of the balance from Truro to Riviere du Loup. So that, if you here in Canada, desired the Intercolonial Railway, either for your own or general purposes, all that was required of you was to build your share according to population. That the road has not been built is your fault, not ours. But, Mr. Speaker, this railway has been a powerful argument with the Union Candidates of Cumberland and Colchester. Surveyors and engineers were continually moving about the various villages on the pretence of seeking the best location, and almost every man had the promise of the road at his door. I do not, however, detain the House with the recital of the various influences used by our opponents to carry the election. That they all failed should prove conclusively by that the people of Nova Scotia have a deep feeling of aversion to Confederation. So deep and strong is this feeling, that they are determined to seek by all constitutional means to be relieved from its operation. They do not expect it from this Parliament, and therefore, we have not presented our case in the manner we should, had we hoped for redress here. Our hopes are on the other side of the water. It may be, that we shall be disappointed. If so, I shall not venture to speculate the effect upon the minds of the people. One thing, however, is certain, that in case of failure very much will depend upon the line of policy pursued by the Confederate Government towards the people of Nova Scotia, whether their feelings of hostility shall be strengthened and intensified, or calmed into passive submission. Our loyalty has been spoken of in this debate, and no man now seems to question it, although during the canvass, we were on all occasions charged with disloyalty, because we did not quietly submit to what we believe to be a sacrifice of our interests and rights. Even the honourable member for Cumberland, in the speech just delivered, withdraws the charge, but reasserts that we had the sympathy and support of all who seek the overthrow of British institutions. We do not know upon what authority the honourable gentleman speaks. When I saw the statement reported in his first address to this House, it occurred to me that probably the honourable member spoke from a personal knowledge, and a more intimate acquaintance with the sympathies of that class of persons to whom he refers than any Anti-Confederate cares to cultivate. No, Mr. Speaker, it is not in a spirit of disloyalty that we seek to relieve Nova Scotia from the operations of this Act, but because we believe that the interests of our Province will be best served by allowing her to manage her own affairs and control her own revenues. So long as our connection with the Mother Country exists, and God grant that it may long continue, we see no necessity for a connection such as this, which must inevitably result in a conflict of interests. Our people desire to live in peace with you, and to cultivate only those feelings of friendship which should exist between Provinces of the same Empire. We have a Province, small it may be, but with resources which if properly developed, as they only can be by having control of our own means, would soon place us in a position which it should be your pride to see a sister Province occupy. You, too, have a country containing many of the elements of prosperity and greatness, which only requires wise management and an economical disposal of your means to attain. We who come up from the Lower Provinces, cannot but be surprised at the extent of your country, and the progress you have made. You have public works highly creditable to you. I do not so much mean these expensive buildings in which we are assembled, as those more useful works which tend to facilitate internal communication and traffic. That wonderful bridge stretching across the St. Lawrence at Montreal is a work of which any country might well be proud. The eye never wearies with it, but the mind finds it difficult to realize that it is the result of human skill and enterprise. I remember on first passing beneath it that I felt almost like bowing, the head uncovered, as if in the presence of something so grand and sublime that the finger of God himself must have touched and formed it. What we desire is to be unfettered and free, to develop our own resources, and at the same time to see you building up a country worthy of the noble foundations which have been laid. We do not want to see in you the cold statue, void of blood described by the honourable member for Saint John, nor yet a ghastly skeleton, but a brother with the bounding
blood of vigorous growing life. One who will return our kindliest greeting and never forget the command that a man shall not marry his sister, not do her violence.
Mr. Young went on to refer to the statement of the Minister of Public Works, that the $15,000,000 for the Intercolonial Railway would be used to strengthen the position of the Ministry, and to the strong bids for support made by the Premier of Ontario at Hamilton, and elsewhere. Mr. Young referred also to the cry of disloyalty which had been raised against the opposition in order to influence the elections, and expressed his astonishment— nay, disgust, that the individual who harped most upon this cry, was no other than the gentleman who only a few short years ago, was daily attacked by Conservative members, and by the whole Conservative press for his Washington proclivities. By such means as these that Government had carried the elections in Ontario; but he believed the detailed returns of the elections would show that, though Ministers had got a majority of the representatives, the gentlemen on his side represented a majority still of the people of the Province. Referring to the promise of a measure relating to the currency, Mr. Young brought under review the results of the Banking Act of last session. They had been asked by gentlemen opposite to point out how that Act had operated injuriously with reference to the Commercial Bank. He would endeavour to show one way in which it had done so. Formerly, the balances between different Banks had been adjusted at certain central points. At those points alone it was necessary to keep specie for that purpose; but when the Bank of Montreal obtained the power given them by that Act, they introduced a change, and made it necessary for the other Banks to settle their balances at all the species through the country. The consequence was that the Commercial Bank had to send large amounts of specie to its different offices to meet these balances, creating a weakness which, he believed, had much to do with the overthrow of that institution. Mr. Young then urged the importance of the economical administration of public affairs in working out our new constitution, and wound up with a glowing picture of the future destiny of this Confederation, if its course was directed by wise counsels and a patriotic policy.
Mr. Fortier spoke on the importance of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, of improvements, to attract western and colonial commerce, and of the protection to be given to the fisheries. Answering Mr. Howe, Mr. Fortier said that Canadian fishermen never went to Nova Scotia waters, and there were more Nova Scotian than Canadian fishermen in Canada waters, and consequently Nova Scotia did not lose her fisheries by Confederation.
Mr. Harrison said—Mr. Speaker, in rising to address this House, I must claim the indulgence usually granted to new members. When the debate on the Address was commenced I had no intention whatever of addressing the House, but seeing the favour with which the remarks of new members have been received, I feel encouraged to make some remarks. The assembly now before me is the most important that I have ever addressed. I see before me the first talent of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, assembled from all parts of our great Dominion. We are here not as Nova Scotians, New Brunswickers, but as representatives of the whole Dominion of Canada, and as such must rise to the importance of the character we bear. This assembly is the most important ever held in any part of British America. In its hands it holds the destinies of half a continent. I observe on the opposite side of the House a desire at once to draw strict party lines on the floor of the House. I am not here to undervalue the worth of party. But Reform, as a principle, is not the exclusive property of Reformers, any more than conservatism is the exclusive property of Conservatives. (Hear, hear.) History proves that at times Reformers have been more Conservative than Conservatives, and Conservatives more Reform than Reformers. We have now an instance in Nova Scotia. It is asserted by the honourable member for Cumberland, and has not been denied, that the Union Party, or party of progress, in that Province, are the Conservatives, led by himself, and the opposing or non-progressive party, the so-called Liberals, led by the member for Hants. (Hear, hear.) The formation of parties in this House must depend upon measures and not upon personal predilections. For the present we have placed the interests of our common country above the claims of party. The Act of Confederation was gained by the united exertions of Conservatives and Reformers, but all must feel that the Union is not perfected until we have uniformity of the laws regulating trade, navigation, customs, excise, postage and Militia defence. When the Government was formed it appeared to me entitled to a fair trial before condemnation, because composed of the best men of all political parties in all the Prov-
inces—the men who by their energy, talent and sacrifices had brought us as far as we have gone in the path of national manhood. (Hear, hear.) But others were in Ontario of a different opinion. There was in the first instance strong opposition to the Government. There was the opposition of those who said down with the Government, because it is a Coalition, and every Coalition is a curse. But this cry was devoid of sense or reason. I would like to know how all the great questions that have agitated Canada to its very core have been settled except by Coalitions. (Hear, hear.) It was a Coalition that settled the Clergy Reserves Question. It was a Coalition that settled the Seignorial Question. It was a Coalition that brought about the Act of Confederation, and the present Coalition Government in order that it may have a chance of perfecting the details of this measure, has been thoroughly sustained in the Province of Ontario. The Coalition party has swept everything before them in that Province at the polls. But let us rise superior to sectional disputes or local politics. We have now a Union of the Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This Union is not a thought of yesterday. It is the realization of the aspirations of the leading men of each of the Provinces for the last half century. In each there was a growth of public opinion in favour of it, and all converged at the right time in the great measure now the law of the land. The member for Hants says he again and again killed it off in his own Province, but still it appears to have grown. It appears to have had many lives, for the more it was killed the longer and stronger it grew (laughter.) But I was amused at the way in which that honourable gentleman killed it off. He killed it off by speaking in favour of it (laughter.) This showed the growth of public sentiment which he could not resist, and was obliged to lead (hear.) We have nothing to do with the inconsistencies of that honourable gentleman, except as affecting his sincerity on the floor of this House. I agree with him, that even if he were inconsistent, that is no reason why the people of this Province should be deprived of their rights in an improper manner. And my regret is that that honourable gentleman has descended from his high position as one of the leading statesmen of the Dominion, to fight the battle of mere sectionalism on the floor of this House. But what have we to do with the manner in which Confederation was carried as regards Nova Scotia? With us Confederation is a fixed fact. The question is not whether the member for Hants was consistent or inconsistent; not whether the mode adopted towards Nova Scotia was the best mode; and whether the Union is not an advantage to the whole Dominion, including Nova Scotia as an integral part of it. If so, it is a subject of congratulation; if not, the reverse. I affirm that it is a subject of congratulation, and hope that all present will lend a willing assistance in order to make it perfect. I affirm that it is a subject of congratulation, because by it several small Colonies are made a great and powerful people. (Hear, hear.) Strength is power, and wealth is power, and where we have a discreet people, with strength and wealth, we have a great people. Let us take stock of our new partnership. Let us see how we stand at the start of our new commercial and political career. We have a country whose area is 377,045 square miles, with one exception larger than any of the States of Europe. Mere area perhaps, without population is a source of weakness. But we have a population of about 4,000,000—a population greater than that of 38 out of the 48 states of Europe—and greater than that of the United States of America when they first became an independent power. Canada before Confederation had not more than 534,575 men between the ages of 20 and 60, but since Confederation we have not less than 653,567 fighting men. We have added not less than 1,000,000 of consumers to our whole population, and not less than 100,000 fighting men to our military strength. Besides we have acquired great strength on the sea, where we were in most need of strength. Before the Union we had only 5,958 sailors, and most of these on our inland waters. Now we can boast of 28,360 sailors, and when we shall have Newfoundland as a member of our national partnership we shall have no less than 66,938 sailors, and so become one of the great maritime powers of the world. Before the Union our shipping was represented by a tonnage of 287,187 tons, but now we can boast of 708,421 tons, nearly as much as that of France with a population of 35,000,000. (Minister of Justice—our tonnage is as large as that of France). Mr. Harrison—if we could now count Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island as parts of our Dominion, I believe it would be as large, but without those Provinces I think our tonnage is a little less than that of France.) A great impetus must be given to shipbuilding, a most important branch of native industry. The number of ships built in Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1863, represented 199,821 tons—nearly as much as the shipbuilding interest of the whole United
States of America before the war broke out. The shipbuilding of the United States in the year 1861 was 233,193 tons. Now our tonnage of say 200,000 tons represents an export value of not less than $8,000,000. (Hear, hear.) The tonnage of Canada in and out before the Union was only 2,133,000 tons, and this was chiefly in our inland lakes, but now we have an increased tonnage on the seas in and out of 5,597,236 tons, making not less than 7,730,236 tons on inland waters and the sea. This reminds me of that great mine of wealth, the products of the sea. Before Confederation, taking the year 1866 as our guide, the value of the fish caught in Canada was not more than $1,918,000. But during the same year, the produce of the Fisheries of Nova Scotia was $3,478,000, and of New Brunswick $867,000, making a total of $6,263,000; if to this we could add Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, we should have not less than $10,837,000 as the value of our Fisheries, (hear, hear.) This, however, though enormous, only represents a small portion of our trade and industry. Before Confederation our export trade was $11,841,000, and our imports $45,964,000. But adding the export and import trade of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we have an aggregate export and import trade of not less than $133,185,687. This immense trade will, we hope, come and go through the ports of Saint John and Halifax, and cannot fail to enrich every city through which it passes, and make those cities the New York and Boston of our new Dominion (hear, hear.) Indeed, I cannot understand why the people of Halifax oppose Confederation. If they were out of the Union the vast trade to which I have referred would be diverted exclusively to Saint John, and build up that city at the expense of Halifax. The policy which would ignore that trade is not a good policy. It is said that the banking and mercantile interests of Halifax control Nova Scotia, and that last election they swept the Union party out of existence. How is this? Is it possible that their interests dread opposition? (Hear, hear.) Is it possible that the bankers and merchants of Halifax are prepared to sacrifice the interests of their Province for their own selfish ends? (Hear, hear.) They have done well and want to let well enough alone. They have made money and don’t care to allow others to have a chance. They dread opposition. They are satisfied to remain as they are, rather than encounter the opposition and the expansion which this great scheme must necessarily produce. (Hear, hear.) But the world cannot stand still in order that the merchants and bankers of Halifax may remain rich. They cannot and they will not long resist the destiny of our Confederation. The people of that Province must ere long have their eyes opened, and burst the bonds with which they are enslaved by the selfish Halifax interests. (Hear, hear.) I believe firmly that if there is one Province to gain more than another by Confederation, it is Nova Scotia, and if one city more than another, it is Halifax. (Hear, hear.) It, with Saint John, will hold the key of our immense western trade, which year by year must increase and enrich the cities of the Maritime Provinces. (Hear, hear.) In return we hope to avail ourselves extensively, not only of the fisheries, but of the coal of the Maritime Provinces. Our western vessels, that will carry down our breadstuffs, will have return cargoes of coal and fish, and this must reduce freights and so establish a trade that will be a source of profit alike to all parts of the Dominion. We are not, however, dependent on fisheries, coal or manufacturing for our support. It is true that we have the attraction of the fisheries and coal of the Maritime Provinces, and the timber trade and great manufacturing interests of the Province of Quebec. But we have more, we have an immense agricultural interest, especially in the West. There are 44,217,552 acres of land in the hands of private parties, and therefore I assume in great part fit for cultivation. Of this there are not more than 12,718,754 acres under cultivation, leaving 31,498,798 fit for cultivation, yet to be cultivated. Besides, we have the boundless territory of the Northwest, capable of supporting millions yet unborn. Now, if with 12,000,000 acres of land under cultivation, we have a population of 4,000,000, we shall not have less than a population of 10,000,000 with 30,000,000 acres under cultivation, and this population will be in the time of many now on the floor of this House. (Hear, hear.) I ask Mr. Speaker if the contemplation of these facts and of this future, should not of itself raise us far above local politics or sectional jealousies. Let us endeavour to become a great nation, and we shall be a great nation. Let us endeavour to encourage a national sentiment, and learn to feel our own importance and our own greatness among the great nations of the earth. (Hear, hear.) There are advantages arising out of the Union to which as yet I have made no reference. I cannot overlook the effect of an extended market for our produce—the breaking down of hostile tariffs, of hostile interests. Had the United States remained as at one time they were, colonies independent of each other, walled against
each other with different tariffs and hostile interests in relation to trade, they never could have become the people they are now. But there are advantages for us as well abroad as at home. Our Canadian five per cents at one time stood as low as 71 in the London market. When the resolutions in favour of Confederation were first published in the London press our securities rose from 71 to 92, and on the day that the Confederation Bill became law they rose to par. (Hear, hear.) Now what are the objections urged by our friends from Nova Scotia against Confederation? They tell us that we have taken their revenue, and pay them back only 80 cents per head of their population. But this is not the whole truth. If we have taken a portion of their revenues we have assumed their debt to the extent of $25 per head, and have assumed to a certain extent the responsibility of their defence. They complain of our debt and fear taxation. It is true that our debt at the time of the Union was $67,263,995, and assuming as we do the debts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we have a debt of $77,825,533, but this debt represents value in great national public works, our railways, canals, and shipping. It has been incurred to assist us in the development of our natural resources. The effect of the expenditure has been in all the Provinces to increase the value of real estate far more than the expenditure itself. It has brought the producer and the consumer more nearly face to face, and so lessened the price of transport; it has not been incurred as in many of the older countries of Europe, for the support of an expensive aristocracy or court. It represents material value. And even with this great advantage in our favour, as compared with the older States of Europe, our taxation is less than in 42 out of the 48 of the European States. (Hear, hear.) The member for Hants tells us that our long frontier is a great source of weakness. Granted; but is it only a source of weakness to us? Is it not as much a source of weakness to our neighbours? If our cities are exposed to their attack, their cities are exposed to our attack. And when our population in the war of 1812 was not one-twentieth of that of the United States, we were not content to be merely defensive. (Hear, hear.) What we did then we can do again, if necessary. What man did, that man can do. But the large debt of the United States is a hostage to us for peace, and I believe there never was less danger of war with the United States than at the present time, (hear, hear.) But says the member for Hants, you have no army, no navy—you are powerless. My reply is that we have the finest army and navy in the world—the army and navy of England. The English army is our army. The English navy is our navy, and war with us is war with England, (hear, hear.) The power of the British Empire is at our back, and the moral defence which that affords defies computation. With increased advantages no doubt we shall have increased responsibilities, but we shall never unless at our own request be deserted by England, (applause.) Have we not reason to look hopefully to our future? Why should we not become a great and powerful nation? We have a country, with one exception larger than any in Europe; we have a population greater than 38 out of the 48 States of Europe; we have a population larger than the United States at the time they became an independent power; we have every variety for nation industry, agriculture, manufactures and commerce; we have unbounded natural resources; we have an export and import trade one-third greater than the United States when they became an independent power; we are even now the fourth, if not the third, Maritime Power of the world; we have a hardy, honest and enterprising population; we have room for millions added to our population; we have great national public works; we have every means of expansion and extension; we have as great facilities for progress as the United States had in their infancy as a Nation, indeed we have greater facilities, for we start in peace, they started in war, we with our mother’s blessing, they without it, and in addition to all we have what they had not, the modern appliances of steam and electricity—the great motive powers of civilization. If we rise to the dignity of our position, remain true to ourselves, encourage national manhood, foster national sentiment, and exert ourselves in the future as we have done in the past, we shall make as much progress in the first five years of our existence as the United States did in the first ten of theirs, and gain among the nations of the earth which will be a pride to ourselves, and I trust the admiration of the civilized world. (Great applause.)
Mr. Parker thought it better if this house were to follow the example of the English House of Commons and pass the Address without such a lengthy debate as had occurred on this occasion, and proceeded to speak of the benefits of Confederation, but at the expiration of a few moments becoming
confused he apologized to the House saying he found his thoughts not under his control, and would beg permission to continue on some other occasion.
Mr. Hayley expressed his full approbation of Confederation and the resolutions, and hoped the Colonial Union will bring prosperity, union and harmony between all creeds and nationalities.
Mr. M. C. Cameron, would make a few observations. His honourable friend from Hants did not present the appearance he had been led to expect from the description of the Minister of Public Works. From that description he expected to see horns and a tail. He had listened to the member for Hants with pleasure, and felt that Nova Scotia had cause of complaint, and when he had heard the leader of the Government supporters from Nova Scotia (Dr. Tupper) he was convinced that Nova Scotia had a grievance. He argued that any constitution to gain any hold upon the heart of the people must have the assent of the people at the polls. He thought that appeal was not necessary in Ontario when Confederation had few opponents, and where side issues would have taken the place of that great question. But ungenerous as the conduct of the Government had been, he appealed to his friends from Nova Scotia to ask themselves whether it would not be better to accept the Union and join those who would endeavour to do them justice in the future. He attacked the financial policy of the Government, saying that when the Ministry brought down their financial measures if justice were not done the honourable member for Hants would have another name to his demand for repeal. He next proceeded to advert to the influences arrayed against him at his election by the Government and Grand Trunk Railway, and replied to some points in the speech of the member for West Toronto, particularly to his claim that the country was indebted to the Conservatives for Clergy Reserves and Seignorial measures, and Representation by Population. In putting in such a claim he thought the honourable member for Toronto showed that he had not paid that attention to the policies of the country which might have been expected of a man of his large attainments. The two measures first named had long been battled for by Reformers, and were only conceded at last by the Conservatives along with the white-washing of the Hincks’ ministry as the price of office. As regarded Representation by Population, it had been long and strenuously related by the Minister of Justice and his friends, and in the end had been only extorted from them by the force of public opinion.
Mr. E. M. McDonald said Mr. Speaker, an honourable gentleman in the course of debate to-day, told us that the House had listened with great forbearance to the complaints and the history of the local strifes of Nova Scotia. On behalf of that Province I thank this House for the patience it has exhibited; but at the same time I cannot accept the position of inferiority implied in the remark. The patronizing idea which intimates that the representatives of the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario exhibit a gracious condescension in consenting to listen to this debate, can be very well dispensed with. The position of Nova Scotia in the Dominion is not that of an inferior; and her representatives in this House demand for her the same consideration that is claimed by the more populous Canadian Provinces. And, sir, it was a mistake to speak of the topics treated of in this debate as mere local grievances— a history of local electioneering strife. The subject has an importance far beyond mere party considerations, or sectional interests. The story of Nova Scotia’s wrongs, of her lost liberties, and the compulsion under which she was forced into the Union, is one affecting not Nova Scotia alone, but affecting also the honour and interests of the whole Dominion, and of the British Empire; and therefore, it becomes the duty of this House, not as a matter of condescension or courtesy, but as a matter of right and justice, to listen to the protest of Nova Scotia through her representatives here, that her present position may be understood, and her future policy and determination prepared for. I regret, sir, that the Government should have thought it necessary to ask the House to adopt an Address to His Excellency the Governor-General, couched in language which is little short of an insult to the Province, one of whose counties I have the honour to represent. Sir, the representatives of Nova Scotia must be excused if they decline to join in congratulating His Excellency on the success of the Confederation scheme. Congratulations and rejoicings are for the victors and not for the vanquished. Canada may rejoice at the success of her strategy; but it is too much to expect of Nova Scotia that she will rejoice at the loss of her political institutions and her political liberties. When the gallant Lee, surrounded and overpowered by superior numbers, and deprived of all hope of being able to successfully prolong the struggle, at last surrendered to
the victorious legions of Grant, the victors indulged, as was natural, in national demonstrations of rejoicing at the event; but they did not insult the brave old general and his shattered battalions by compelling them to join in any jubilant expressions of gladness over the discomfiture of their hopes and the downfall of their country. <Hear, hear.) Nova Scotia is in this Dominion as a conquered country, deprived by most foul and unfair means of her long enjoyed privilege of self-government; and the men whom her people have sent to represent them in this House, to protest against the injustice and wrong that has been done her, to claim for her equal rights with the other Provinces while in the Dominion, and a speedy release from bondage, have not yet learned to kiss their fetters and smile at their country’s dishonour. The honourable member who last addressed you, in common with all the representatives from Ontario and Quebec who have taken part in the debate, assumed that Nova Scotia’s complaint was only against the mode in which Confederation was carried, and not against the thing itself. Let me disabuse the minds of honourable gentlemen in the House of that fallacy. Nova Scotia’s hostility to the measure lies deeper than any mere punctilious views of political etiquette as to the mode of its accomplishment. True, her people do complain, and justly, of the trickery and corruption by which Confederation was carried; but their main ground of complaint is against the thing itself, which they believe, even if it had been brought about by fair and constitutional means, must always prove injurious to the chief industrial interests of their Province. When the outlines of the scheme were first made public after the Quebec Conference, the people of Nova Scotia instinctively shrank from it as a dangerous thing. They felt that for a people situated as they were, living by the seashore, and largely interested in maritime pursuits, to surrender their self-government, and unite with an inland country of larger population, with diverse interests, and with different, and it may be a hostile commercial policy, was a very unwise experiment. For over eighty years they had had a Legislature of their own, under whose fostering care they were rapidly acquiring a large degree of material prosperity. Under the wise and liberal legislation of their own Parliament, not only were the local trade of the country, its fisheries and other home industries promoted, but the largest facilities were given for the development of the shipbuilding capabilities of the Province, and a commercial navy was created, which gave to Nova Scotia a large share of the foreign carrying trade, and placed her in the proud position of being, in proportion to population, the foremost maritime country on the face of the globe. Sir, Nova Scotia might well be proud of her ships, and her sailors, for in every sea, in every harbour, in all the great commercial centres of the world, wherever the free trading system of the mother country has carried the British flag, there could be found a Nova Scotia ship and a Nova Scotia crew, bearing abroad the name and fame of their country, successfully competing in foreign marts with the most favoured and powerful maritime rivals, and winning wealth and renown to enrich and elevate their native land. The people of that Province felt, sir, that to change the system that had produced these grand results, to enter into any new political connections that would deprive them of the control of their own commercial system— to surrender into the hands of an inland people with whom they had hitherto had but few interests in common, the power to control their commercial system, to say under what tariff they should trade, with what countries they should buy and sell, was an exceedingly hazardous step, and one that could scarcely result otherwise than disastrously to the country that made the experiment. While entertaining these views, however, the people felt no dread of such a measure being thrust upon them. True, they saw the leaders of the two great political parties in that Province, with a most sudden and suspicious forgetfulness of past antipathies, combine for its accomplishment, but they knew that the honest convictions of the large majority of their representatives were hostile to the measure, and they rested confident and trustful behind the double line of defences they thought they possessed in their own legislature, and in the British Parliament, neither of which, they felt convinced, would ever consent to make such a sweeping change, a change that was in effect no less than a total subversion of the political institutions of the country, without the consent of the people. But they did not content themselves merely with this passive confidence in their members; they took the proper and constitutional mode of bringing their views before the legislature of the Province, and from every county petitions with thousands of signatures were poured into both Houses, asking that a measure involving such radical changes, and calculated to affect so seriously the interests of the country should not be passed without the
consent of the people. A very brief glance at a few salient features of the policy pursued with respect to the question from that time down to the date of its final accomplishment, will show how much reason Nova Scotians have to complain of the trickery, corruption and coercion by which the autonomy of their Province was destroyed, and their political status changed. In the session of 1865, the honourable member from Cumberland, then Provincial Secretary, and leader of the Government of Nova Scotia, stated in his place in the House, that Confederation was at that time impracticable, and would not be attempted. Lulled into a false security by this statement, and by the favourable reception accorded to their petitions, the people assumed that the movement, as far as that Province was concerned, was practically at an end, and made no further effort to preserve the constitution from encroachment. But by-and-by a change came. A second election was held in New Brunswick. It is not my place to enter into particulars as to the secret and extraordinary influence by which the dissolution of the New Brunswick House was accomplished. Enough to say it was accomplished; and by means that even the widest range of courtesy will scarcely enable us to suppose were as honourable as. they were successful, a majority in favour of Confederation was secured at the polls in that Province. Then commenced in Nova Scotia the system of petty intrigues that at last culminated in the corruption of the legislature and the passing of a resolution in the House of Assembly, authorizing a new convention to assemble in London. All sorts of influences, fair and unfair, were used to induce members of the House to abandon their principles, and violate the instructions they had received from their constituents. Even the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province forgot his dignity and dishonoured his position by playing the part of a petty canvasser. All those official and social influences within the control of his high station, were freely used, and he did not hesitate even to misuse the name of the sovereign whom he represented, to influence those whose principles he sought to subvert. Senatorships and seats in the Legislative Council of the Province, were among the prices paid to some of the pure minded patriots, whose sudden conversion was so fatal to the liberties of their country. Thus by the treachery of the Executive, that first lulled the people into a false sense of security in order that their representatives might be more easily seduced, was the first barrier on which the people depended for the safety of their constitution, broken down. Even then, the country although alarmed was not disheartened. It was believed that any measure framed by the Convention would have to be approved, not only by the British Parliament, but also by the Provincial Legislature, when the people would still have an opportunity to be heard, and could cause their influence to be felt. The mother country having conceded to Nova Scotia the right of self-government—having given that Province a Legislature, clothed with power to make all the laws necessary for the management of its affairs, no one could believe that the Parliament of Great Britain would supercede the functions and override the authority of that Colonial Legislature, or that the Home Government, forgetting the traditions, the very first principles of political freedom and constitutional rights, should compel the people of the Province to be governed by a law which their own Legislature had never enacted, for which they had never asked, and against which they had protested in the strongest terms. Relying confidently on the manliness and love of fair play supposed to be inherent in the race of British statesmen, the people of Nova Scotia confidently appealed by petition to the Parliament at Westminster, asking to be permitted to decide for themselves, this question so deeply affecting their present and future welfare. In this last hope they were disappointed—this last and strongest barrier for the defence of their rights was broken down by the action of foes within and without—the pleading prayers of a suppliant people were spurned aside, even from the very altar of the temple of liberty, and British subjects in Nova Scotia were denied the rights which the highest tribunal on earth would not dare to deny to the British subject in England. I do not, Mr. Speaker, deny the power of Parliament, to dispose of this question in the manner adopted. But even admitting the correctness of the theory which says there is no limit to the power of Parliament, I deny the right of the Legislature to destroy the Constitution under which it exists without the popular consent or contrary to the popular will. Admitting the power, was it right, or was it decent even for a people, trained for over half a century to cherish their political institutions, thus by an arbitrary exercise of that power, and for no fault of which they were guilty, by one fell stroke to be swung out of their Constitutional orbit, and thrown into a new system and amidst new alliances, where distrusts, and
suspicions, and heartburnings, springing out of a sense of injustice and wrong, must long prevent the harmonious working of the new state of things, if it does not cause it speedily to end in disruption and disaster. But Mr. Speaker, the House has been told, I think, by the honourable member from West Toronto, that Nova Scotia has no right to bring this story of her admitted grievances here, because in all this, it is assumed that she can have no complaint against Canada. The wrongs she has suffered, we are told, were wrongs inflicted by her own people or by the Parliament of England, and that Canada is not to blame for them, and ought not to be bored with their rehearsal in this place. Sir, I cannot consent to allow this view of the case to be accepted by the House without contradiction. I hold, sir, that for all this story of wrong and oppression the statesmen of Canada are chiefly, if not wholly to blame; for who that knows the circumstances, but must admit that but for the patronage of the Dominion about to be established, that was placed by the statesmen of Canada at the disposal of their co-workers in Nova Scotia, the Confederation scheme never could have been carried in that Province. Sir, there are at this moment occupying seats in the Senate of the Dominion, three gentlemen, formerly members of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, whose sudden conversion and subsequent promotion to that post of honour, justifies the strongest suspicion as to the means used to procure their change of opinion. Another gentleman, who formerly was a member of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia, and apparently an earnest Anti- Confederate, also suddenly changed his base and gave in his adhesion to the cause he formerly opposed, and to-day he not only is a member of the Senate, but he also holds a departmental place in the Privy Council with large endowments. Now, I do not say that these individuals were all bought like so many sheep in the shambles; or that they sold their votes for places and distinctions that ought to belong to honourable men. It would be wrong to say this, because that might be a breach of Parliamentary privilege. But I do say, that from being apparently earnest Anti-Confederates, they, without the occurrence of any new phase of the political position to warrant the change, suddenly became the zealous promoters of that scheme. It would be wrong to say that these individuals, who are “all honourable men,” were bribed like so many venal voters at a hustings booth; I only say, that the cause of Confederation got their votes and they got the Senatorships; and the members of this House, learning these facts, can draw their own inferences. It may be, Mr. Speaker, that in all this these parties were actuated by a spirit of the purest patriotism; but the House will at least perceive, that it is a patriotism that pays remarkably well. So much for Canadian influence in the Nova Scotian Legislature. And for what took place at the other side of the water, the complaint of Nova Scotia’s people does not lie against her own politicians and the British Government, solely; for the Government and Parliament of England never would have acted so precipitately as they did, had not three Colonial Cabinets conspired, by misrepresentations, to trick and deceive them; and only one of the three was the Cabinet of Nova Scotia. Is it to be wondered at, Mr. Speaker, after this brief review of a few of the facts, that the people of Nova Scotia should feel indignant at the manner in which they have been treated, and that they should be determined to punish at the hustings, these men among themselves who so deeply wronged and insulted them. The honourable member from Lambton has hinted that it is in vain for us to enter on the discussion of this question now, because the Act of which we complain is a thing of the past and cannot be recalled; and that this being the case, we should rather set ourselves to the consideration of the new duties, that the new condition of things impose on us. The same argument was used in Nova Scotia previous to the elections, by Confederates who tried to persuade the people, that as the Act was completed and past recall, there was no object but revenge to be gained by voting against the men who enacted it. What would be thought of a homicide in the criminal’s dock, pleading in mitigation of punishment that the life of his victim was past recall, and that it would be only gratifying an unchristian spirit of revenge to punish him for his crime. Fancy such an one addressing the judge, and saying: “May it please your lordship, it is true, I committed this offence against the laws of God and man, but the life I destroyed is now a thing of the past, and cannot be recalled; you may punish me, but that cannot reanimate again with life the moldering clay, or bring back to the circle of friendship and duty that cold clod that yesterday was my fellow creature.” Sir, it may be only too true that the political independence, the political life, of Nova Scotia, is a thing of the past; but even if this were so, the first duty of every Nova Scotian
should be to see that the demands of justice were satisfied by the punishment of the men who laid ruthless hands upon the life of their country’s constitution. This duty has been discharged, although not perhaps to the extent that the complete vindication of our country’s honour required; and now the representatives of Nova Scotia here, and her representatives in the local Parliament as well, have to set themselves to the consideration of the next duty that devolves upon them. I have said, Mr. Speaker, that Nova Scotia’s hostility to Confederation, was caused not merely from dislike of the way in which it was carried, but from a deep seated conviction that the thing itself is dangerous and wrong. The honourable member from Cumberland tells you a different story, and would have the House believe, in spite of the record of the elections, that there is a strong Union feeling in Nova Scotia. If he believes that a majority of the people of that Province are for Union, he must at least admit that they took a somewhat singular mode of expressing their opinions. He professes to believe this, however, and attributes the fact of the people voting against it, to any other cause rather than that of hostility to the measure. The influence of Halifax and Halifax merchants, he says, was so powerful, as to sway public opinion throughout most of the constituencies; and yet he boasted to the House five minutes afterwards that the Confederates polled a large majority of votes in the city of Halifax. The honourable gentleman should try to be consistent in his inventions. But the influence of the bankers, he tells us, was against him. If this were so, no stronger proof of their disinterestedness could be given. The laws of Nova Scotia prevented these gentlemen from taking more than six per cent for their money, while we read in the commercial columns of the Montreal papers that for the last month discounts have ranged in that city at from nine to fourteen per cent; and under these circumstances the fact that a number of the bankers did oppose the measure that was calculated to allow them to charge so much as they pleased for their money, was creditable in the highest degree to their patriotism. But the statement that all the bankers were on that side is not consistent with the fact. Among the gentlemen selected by the honourable member himself for seats in the Senate, on account of their Confederation leanings, three were Halifax bankers; and two of the Candidates for that country, on the same side, at the last election, were also bank directors. Then he tells us, that the honourable member for Hants agitated the country, and prevented a fair expression of opinion. But was there no agitation on the other side? The honourable member from Cumberland himself, tried his hand at it pretty extensively, and so did the honourable Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Hon. W. A. Henry, Attorney General of Nova Scotia during the last four years, as well as the Hon. Mr. McCully—all men of marked ability; and does he intend us to believe that the combined efforts of all these gentlemen had less influence with the people than the single handed labours of the honourable member for Hants? If he does, he has placed for once an estimate on his own abilities that he would not be too well pleased to have pronounced by any member on this side of the House. Another excuse for his defeat is the assertion that the Government were unpopular because of the new law establishing taxation for the support of schools. A brief statement of facts will show how unfounded is this position. The County of Yarmouth is warmly in favour of the new law. In the town of Yarmouth magnificent buildings for academies and schoolhouses, such as would be creditable to any city in the Dominion, have been errected; and the schools have been equipped, and are being conducted on a scale of generous expenditure that only a complete faith in the system, and desire for its success, could inspire. Yet in the County of Yarmouth no man could be found to offer as a candidate in the Confederate interest for the House of Commons, while of six candidates for the Local House, only one was a Confederate, and he polled less than an hundred votes out of the 2,744 electors of that fine county. After all those lame excuses, it was only necessary that the honourable gentleman should go one step farther, and admit that the people would not vote for Confederation, because he and his colleagues were so unpopular, they had so mismanaged the public business, and outraged public sentiment during their four years of office, that the people would not vote for them or accept their services, no matter on what plea they asked to be re-elected. The honourable gentleman presents a not very dignified spectacle, when he comes down to this House with such a bundle of inventions and excuses to account for the defeat of his party. How changed his position to-day from that he occupied two years ago, when with highhanded arrogance he treated his fellow-countrymen as serfs, without rights to be acknowledged, or feelings to be respected. Four
years ago he had it in his power to confer lasting benefits upon his native Province, and in honouring her to have honoured himself. He did not choose to pursue such a course; and as the result of his policy, he stands here to-day shorn of his followers and his influence, having won in his own constituency a nominal victory that was worse than a defeat. Had he been just to his native Province, he might, like the eagle, have soared upwards to honour and dignity; but he resembles rather the sloth, that, fastening itself upon some tall sapling, devours the bark, and the green leaves, and the tender twigs, until the topmost bough is reached, and the last leaf disappears, when, starving amid the barrenness its own greed created, it falls to the ground a helpless, useless thing. When speaking of the outside influences affecting the Nova Scotian elections, the honourable member from Cumberland did not choose to mention certain influences of a very potent kind that were used in favour of Confederation. Every official in the Province was brought into line to vote for that party. Then the patronage of both the Dominion and Local Governments was most unscrupulously used, and promises of office were freely made as the price of political support. A lighthouse was in course of erection in the county I have the honour to represent, and the post of keeper was promised to no less than fifteen electors, to induce them to vote for the Confederate candidate; while since the election, the Gazette has groaned beneath the lists of magistrates and other officials, who have received places as the reward of their political venality. Last, but not least, there was the expenditure of the road grant for the year, the whole of which amounting to $210,000, scattered in small sums over every settlement of every county in the Province, formed an immense corruption fund in aid of Confederation. If under all these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, if with all these advantages in their favour, the Unionists were unable to secure votes of one-third of the electors of the Province, it does seem a waste of words for the honourable member from Cumberland to attempt now to detract from the force of the Anti-Confederate victory, or to claim for the Confederates a preponderance of the intelligent and unbiased sentiment of the Province. I do not wish, Mr. Speaker, to occupy too much of the time of the House at this late hour, but I must respectfully ask the attention of members while I briefly refer to a few of the features of the Confederation scheme that cause the people of Nova Scotia to dislike and distrust it. The honourable member from West Toronto has spoken of the scheme as a partnership, in which the party holding the smallest capital was to be enriched by participating in all the wealth of his more prosperous neighbour. But, sir, in such partnerships, the advantage is not always on the side of the small trader. A case of this kind may sometimes occur:—a man of vast means, but of vaster speculative ideas, while carrying on an immense business, may be yearly plunging deeper in debt and difficulties, while his neighbour, living prudently and trading carefully on a limited capital, gradually, but surely, increases his wealth, and is enabled to greatly extend his operations. It might be natural, perhaps, for the larger trader in such a case, to seek a business connection with his unpretending neighbour; but such a partnership could not possibly be productive of good to the latter, and would be pretty certain, sooner of later, to involve him in his partner’s ruin and financial destruction. This is nearly the case as regards Nova Scotia and Canada. Compared with the latter, in area, population, and commercial operations, the former is a small country; but though small, her financial condition is sound, she has prospered as few other countries have prospered, and she has not had a deficit in her treasury but once in twelve years. Canada, on the contrary, has never had a surplus but once in the same period of time. A partnership under such circumstances, may, perhaps, be advantageous to the larger and more extravagant Province; but Nova Scotians, as prudent business men, feel that the connection is one in which they cannot have much to gain, and may have much to lose. In looking at the British North America Act, which creates these Provinces a Dominion, I find that the first clause of Section 19, gives to the Dominion Government the power to control the public debt and the public property of all the Provinces. The Provinces all had debt enough, but Nova Scotia feels that in this respect she is not fairly dealt with beside her larger neighbour. Canada has very little in the shape of available assets to show for her debt, while that of Nova ,Scotia is represented by a valuable railroad property that in 1866 paid all its working expenses, and left a margin to go towards the interest on the cost of its construction. While the debt of Canada is represented by little else than a long series of annual deficits and a large bundle of useless railway bonds, almost every dollar of that of Nova Scotia is represented by a rail-
road which was her own, a railroad that when the Intercolonial is built will pay every cent of its working expenses and interest on the cost of construction—a railroad that is to-day the property of the Dominion, and can be sold at any day, and the proceeds put in the Treasury for the benefit of the Canadian Provinces, who never contributed a dollar to the cost of its construction. It is true, Mr. Speaker, that under the provisions of the Act before me, the Dominion assumes a large part of the liabilities formerly borne on the revenues of Nova Scotia. She pays the interest on $8,000,000 of our debt—she also pays the salaries of our Lieutenant-Governor, our judges, customs officers, postmasters and lighthouse keepers; but, sir, she takes our money to do it with, and she takes from us a great deal more than she returns to us again. The honourable Minister of Customs has told the House that since the first of July, the Dominion Government has paid out on account of Nova Scotia a great deal more than was received from that Province. He ought to have been candid enough when making this statement, to have explained how this excess of expenditure arose, for everyone knows that it cannot be accounted for by the disbursements for the ordinary services of the country. It will be in the recollection of the House that a general election has taken place since the first of July. I may also explain that in that Province several very important public works are in process of construction. The Pictou Railway is nearly completed; the Windsor and Annapolis road is being built under a large Government subsidy—a new and very costly building for a post office and custom house is being finished, and there is also some expenditure on St. Peter’s Canal in Cape Breton. It was never intended that the cost of all these works was to be borne upon the ordinary revenues of the Province. The money for their construction was to be borrowed on the Provincial credit, by the issue of debentures, and would have been obtained in that way, had the Province remained in her former position; but the Dominion Act having taken from her the power to borrow money for such purposes, it had to be provided out of the Dominion Treasury, and will constitute a debt against that Province, on which she will have to pay the Dominion interest at the rate of five per cent per annum. This is the probable explanation of the cause of the excessive disbursement on Nova Scotia account, spoken of by the honourable Minister of Customs, and I have no doubt that when the public accounts are brought down, it will be found to be very nearly, if not quite correct. The second clause of this section gives to the Dominion Parliament the power to regulate the trade and commerce of all the Provinces. I have already, sir, adverted to the commercial aspect of this question. The honourable member from West Toronto has entertained the House with a long array of figures, showing how greatly Canada has gained by the Union— how many more ships, how many more millions of dollars of imports and exports, how many more thousands of sailors she has now than she had last year; but sir, if this proves anything, it proves that the gain is more on the part of the Canadian than of the Maritime Provinces, and that the latter have been dragged into this union to enrich and aggrandize their larger and more powerful neighbour. He speaks about the great advantage that must accrue to Saint John and Halifax from the building of the Intercolonial Railway, and gives a glowing description of the brilliant future in store for those cities when the hundred and twenty million dollars of imports and exports of which he speaks, shall pass through them on its way to and from the ocean. I trust, sir, that all his bright dreams of the future greatness and splendor of those cities by the sea will be more than realized. They might have been, sir, and they would have been had the Provinces of which Halifax and Saint John are respectively the capitals, maintained their independence, and been permitted to control in the future, as they have done in the past, their own commercial laws, disbursing their own revenues, and enlarging and extending that generous free trading system that has already brought them to their present advanced state of wealth and commercial distinction. Had this been the case, sir, we might have reasonably expected then, looking forward to coming years, to see these cities, grafting on their now existing commercial prosperity, a manufacturing enterprise that would cause them to take rank with the greatest cities on the continent; while throughout those Provinces blest as they are with the ocean In front of them, and untold wealth of minerals beneath their soil, the day would soon come when in every green valley, and on every sloping hill side, would spring up villages, towns and hamlets, replete with the busy industry of a free people, when besides the sound of the ship carpenter’s adze in every seaport, in every town would be heard the unending hum of thousands of spindles, the panting of ponderous engines, the whirr of swift revolv-
ing and untiring machinery, while tall smoking chimnies offering up a ceaseless incense to mammon, all would proclaim a happy, peaceful and prosperous people. But the system that might have produced all this has been changed—those Provinces no longer possess the power to regulate their own commercial affairs, and while I do not say that the boon Canada has promised us in the Intercolonial Railway is wholly valueless, I think that it will be very far indeed from proving anything like a compensation to those Provinces for the great commercial advantages they formerly possessed, and which they have lost under Confederation. Sir, I hope to see that railway built, and I have no doubt it will be of great importance to the Dominion. It will give the people from the eastern and the western extremes, the means of access to each other; and, passing as it will for a large portion of its length through a country only partially settled, or entirely unoccupied, population will soon be scattered along its route, and towns, and villages will spring up beside it, all contributing to its local traffic, and in time enriching the trade of the maritime cities. But, sir, I do not see any reason to endorse the bright hopes entertained by the honourable gentlemen to whom I have referred, as to the great through traffic it is to bring from the cities of Canada to those of the Maritime Provinces. Montreal has the St. Lawrence open to her six months of the year, and the Grand Trunk Railway, 292 miles to Portland, always. Under these circumstances it is hardly reasonable to expect that she would either in summer or winter send a very large quantity of merchandise by the Intercolonial, 700 miles to Halifax Harbour for shipment, and it is hardly probable that in the ordinary course of trade, there would be sent over that line from Montreal to Halifax, a thousand barrels of flour in a thousand years, while the St. Lawrence remains where it is, and the Portland road lasts, unless that war or famine or some other causes producing an abnormal state of the market, render it possible. The people of Nova Scotia, whether correctly or not, believe that they have already suffered serious injury in their commercial relations, in consequence of Confederation. It is believed, that but for the very earnest desire felt in Canada to carry Confederation, but for the anxiety to have Nova Scotia in a position where her commercial necessities would compel her to come into Confederacy, the statesmen of Canada would have made a little stronger effort, either to obtain a renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty, or at least to have established with the United States an understanding for an exchange of products under a tariff that would not have proved so utterly destructive as does that now in existence, to the commerce of Nova Scotia with the neighbouring Republic. Some countenance was given to this view by the honourable Minister of Finance, who stated at a political banquet some three or four months ago, that but for the repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty, he might not have been permitted that night to “toast the Dominion of Canada.” It may be very gratifying to honourable gentlemen to be able to toast the Dominion of Canada, but if the luxury has been obtained at the cost of the Reciprocity Treaty, it will prove a very expensive luxury to Nova Scotia. By the repeal of that Treaty, not only has the trade in wood, gypsum, potatoes, and other products of the field and the forest, between that Province and the States, been virtually destroyed, but the trade in the great staples of coal and fish has been crippled and rendered almost valueless. Our coal is now met by a duty of a dollar and a quarter a ton in the United States, and under this restrictive tariff, the export of that article from Nova Scotia this year has fallen off about 300,000 tons, causing a loss to the local revenue of the Province of $30,000, and when our fishermen take their mackerel to Boston or New York, they are met by a hostile tariff of two dollars per barrel. I know the theory is, that the consumer pays the duties, and if that theory was correct under all circumstances, our fishermen ought not to suffer from this adverse tariff. But sir, the Nova Scotia shipper does not trouble himself to reason over abstract commercial theories. He only knows that when he takes five hundred barrels of fish to the Boston market, he receives no larger price per barrel than he did two years ago—scarcely so large indeed—while he is compelled to pay into the United States Treasury the large sum of one thousand dollars in gold, a tax so enormous, as in most cases to sweep the entire profits of a whole summer’s fishing venture, rendering the trade almost valueless. If, sir, the inference from the after dinner speech of the honourable Minister of Finance is correct, and Nova Scotia is thus injured in her largest commercial interests by Canada’s commercial policy, while she still had a Legislature of her own to contend for her rights, is it surprising that they should entertain some doubt and distrust of the Confederation Scheme, that gives to the larger inland Provinces the entire control
of her commercial policy and affairs. Another clause of this Act gives, to the Dominion Parliament the power to tax all the Provinces by any mode or system of taxation. This power it will be observed, is also possessed by the Local Parliaments of the respective Provinces; so that in every Province of the Dominion, we are to have hereafter a double taxing machine for grinding the taxes out of the pockets of the poor, and there is only too much reason to fear that the machine, both general and local, will be worked to its utmost capacity. With five Parliaments now existing where formerly there were but three, five Governors, five executives, five sets of Governmental machinery, instead of three, it is not possible, but that the cost of governing these Provinces must be very largely increased. Then as regards Nova Scotia, we find that the whole of the local revenue left at her disposal, if the returns from Mines continue as large as they were last year, which I regret to state is not the case in the present year, will be about $200,000 less than is required for the expenses of the Local Legislature, the humane institutions, the road and bridge service, the schools and other expenses to be borne by the local revenue, if all these services are maintained in the future at the same rate as in 1866. It may be said that that was an exceptional year, the expenditure having been larger for these services than ever before. This is quite true, but the fact remains, that the money was in the Treasury or it could not have been paid, and had Nova Scotia retained the control of her own revenues, it might have been there again, and being there, would have been expended for the benefit of her own people, instead of being, as must be the case hereafter, while the Dominion stands, expended for the general purposes of the new nation —purposes in which, it may be, Nova Scotia has little or no interest. The local revenue of that Province being thus inadequate to the demands upon it, the road and bridge service, and the schools must be deprived of a large amount of the assistance they have hitherto received from the Treasury, and thus a large increase of direct taxation will inevitably be forced upon the people. And sir, I would warn our friends from the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec that this Confederation scheme may not prove to be “all their fancy painted it.” Their taxation in the shape of customs and excise duties can scarcely be less, and are likely to be more, for the general purposes of the Dominion than they were for Canada alone under the old Colonial system; and then there will be the expense of the Local Parliament in addition, which can hardly be met by the local revenues now existing, and which almost inevitably will have to be supplemented by an increase of direct taxation. These are a few, and but a few, of the reasons urged why Nova Scotians were averse to entering this Confederation. They are reasons based on the principles of the scheme itself, and will last as long as the Dominion lasts. I shall only refer to one other reason, and it is one suggested by a remark of the honourable member for Lambton. That honourable gentleman says he would not like to belong to a country that lived by sufferance. Sir, Nova Scotia, in this Dominion must always live by sufferance. She can claim no right, enjoy no privileges, reap no advantages, but by sufferance. If she ever obtains even-handed justice, it is because the Canadian majority permits it, not because she has the power to achieve it for herself. Nova Scotia’s nineteen representatives must always be powerless to protect the rights of their constituents in any matter in which their interests come in collision with those of Canada. Brought here under compulsion, they remain here under sufferance, and cannot hope to achieve any good for their country, or to make for themselves any more honourable position than that of captives to grace the chariot wheels of one or the other of the great parties into which the public men of Canada have for many years been divided. I trust, Mr. Speaker, I have said enough to convince the House that Nova Scotia’s hostility to Confederation is founded on a deeper principle than any mere passing ebullition of spleen, or offence taken at the mode of its accomplishment. Nova Scotia is determined to ask for repeal. I believe I am not violating any confidence when I say that a petition to the British Parliament, asking for the repeal of so much of this Act, as related to Nova Scotia, has already been signed by all the members of this House from that Province, who have not spoken against repeal, and also by all the members of the House of Assembly at Halifax but two. That petition will be sent to England at an early day, and will be followed when the Local Assembly meets, by an address to the Crown from that body, urging that the prayer of the petition be granted. This is the position that the people of Nova Scotia have asked their representatives to take, and they will act consistently with that position, until the result of the appeal to Great Britain is known. Should the prayer of the petition be denied, it will then
become the duty of the men whom the people have chosen to represent them, to consider what is next to be done. But I assure this House that the popular feeling in which this petition for repeal originated, has in it nothing of disloyalty to England, neither is it a mere evanescent sentiment of wounded pride at the treatment the people have received, that will be satisfied with having punished the authors of the insult. That feeling has a deeper and more enduring foundation. In the Spring of 1866, when the Maritime Provinces were thrown into excitement by the appearance of a horde of Fenians on the New Brunswick frontier, just at the moment when their presence could be of so much service to the honourable Minister of Customs and his colleagues in that Province, by assisting them to carry the elections through the aroused fears of the loyal population, the several regiments of militia in Halifax county were called out, and arms were placed in their hands, for purposes of defence. Each man as he received his rifle was asked to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen. Whole companies and regiments at first refused to do so, from a belief that the sudden movement was a part of that policy which they feared was going to separate that province from the Mother Country. A company of the 9th regiment, which I have the honour to command as Captain, seeing the sudden arming, just at the juncture when they had witnessed so much treachery in the Legislature, and fearing that it was a political dodge, a Confederation trick, refused to be sworn, and only consented to take the oath when they found that they were required to swear allegiance to England, and not to Canada. In the present year, also, since the first of July, whole regiments in Halifax, Pictou, and other counties, have positively refused to perform their annual drill, because they believed it was no longer a Nova Scotian, but a Canadian law that imposed the duty—they refused to serve their country, because, as the men of one fine regiment in Guysborough county informed their Colonel, they thought they had no longer a country to serve. So fervent and determined is that feeling in many parts of Nova Scotia, that I believe, if the prayer of their petition for repeal is denied, it will require the most conciliatory policy and the exercise of the utmost prudence on the part of the Legislature and Government, to prevent trouble, and perhaps outbreaks and violence in some sections of that Province. But Mr. Speaker, in closing let me again assure the House that in all this strong feeling there is no sentiment or taint of disloyalty to the British Crown. On the contrary, it originates in the excess of love and veneration in which the authority and the flag of the Mother Country are held. If any one feature of the scheme more than another contributed to the development of that sentiment of hostility among the people, it was the fear amounting almost to conviction, that under this new system these Provinces might one day be severed from the Mother Country, and this fear will be quickened and intensified when the people find that the House is asked to congratulate His Excellency the Governor-General on the successful organization of a “new nationality,” a new Dominion.
Mr. Alonzo Wright said if the House was all of his mind they would give Nova Scotia every assistance to get out of the Union. Some gentlemen had addressed this House in a most lugubrious tone, one gentleman having ushered in the Dominion in a tone more fit for a funeral, than that auspicious event. He agreed with the Address, and if the Government carried out what was there foreshadowed, they would deserve and receive the support of the country. After an amusing speech the member for Ottawa County sat down amid great applause.
Mr. Forbes, Mr. Speaker, in rising, if I am not too late to speak to this question, which has already occupied the attention of this House for some considerable time, I do so, feeling that I would be recreant to the trust imposed upon me by my constituents, and also to the interest of my country, and the Province I have the honour to represent—if I did not state to this House in clear and decided tones our united views upon this all important subject. In my first consideration of the subject of Confederation, I am free to acknowledge, that I was strongly drawn towards it, and I think had the Quebec delegates submitted the question to the people in the abstract, or rather only on the simple question of Confederation or a Union of the colonies, I should have given it my support, but coming down to us with the Quebec Scheme as a basis of the Union, it immediately challenged discussion, which resulted in raising a very strong and decided opposition to the measure, which I think has since continued to increase, and which fact is evidenced by the large majority of members returned to this House, in opposition to it, from the Province of Nova Scotia. One of the principal reasons of our opposition to this measure was, the people were not asked to accept the scheme at the polls, the
only constitutional mode, as we considered, under responsible Government, by which this question should have been decided, more particularly as the Province of New Brunswick had been appealed to on the question, and the voice of the people respected, and on their refusing to accept the Quebec plan of Confederation the further consideration of the subject was deferred until after a second election, when it received the people’s sanction and acceptance; this was the manner in which the leader of the Government of that Province respected the rights of the people of New Brunswick. I did not question the legal right of our representatives to carry through this measure, for I know that they were the legal guardians of those rights, and that we had placed them in their keeping with every confidence in their integrity to preserve the same, but at the same time, although they had the legal right, I did not for a moment think, they would assert that right, and force it through without an appeal to the people of Nova Scotia, but, Mr. Speaker, they did so, and until the Act received the Imperial sanction, I felt that it would be passed upon by the people before it became the law, and that the people of Nova Scotia would receive the same consideration and justice that the colonies of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island had, and that their views and opinions would be respected in this matter. I ask why Nova Scotia should not have the privilege to accept or reject this Confederation as the people chose, as well as those other colonies. Are her people not intelligent enough to pass upon a question of such importance to their happiness and welfare? I know men have been hanged who have been innocent of the crime for which they suffered, and the law authorized the act, but still no one would say it was right, and so in this case the law upheld the act, but is it right, to a free people under a responsible government to be forced into a Union so entirely distasteful and repugnant to their sympathies and feelings. I will not detain the House at this late hour with going over the subjects which have been brought again and again under their notice, but will consider a few points which have not received much consideration, but which are and will be an interference with rights and privileges which have been enjoyed for a century by our people, or particularly by the people in the County I have the honour to represent. I allude to the leasing of our river fisheries, which must take place under the Union Act. When the laws are consolidated the poor people under this Act will have to pay for setting a net and catching a salmon, and I can assure you it will be a severe tax to make the poor net-fisher pay the bounty, to the man who owns a vessel and fishes in the deep seas. And another objection is, we do not consider the amount we are to receive for our local wants at all sufficient to supply the necessary means to carry out the requirements of those services and keep them up to their present efficiency. Mr. Speaker, we are told we are a new nationality; for my own part I am satisfied with the old flag and our old institutions, and do not think we in Nova Scotia care to change and come into this new nation, more particularly in the manner of our admission, and also knowing, as we do, some of the many difficulties, both physical and political, under which you were suffering, and that this was the plan adopted to remove those troubles, and use us as a makeweight to relieve some of them. In your physical relations, shut out from the sea (except through an enemy’s country) for five months in the year and dependent upon sufferance for access to the coast to that country, rendered your position perilous in the extreme, and then with equal representation from the two great Canadian families, your political troubles were of no slight character. Mr. Speaker, we have heard a great deal about loyalty, and we in Nova Scotia are proud of ours and also are proud of our patriotism, and feel that we are loyal to our Queen and country, and in this we will not yield to any one. We have the names of Nova Scotians to which we can point with the finger of pride, and who have earned for themselves a place amongst the heroes of the age, and placed their names upon the scroll of fame. We may speak of an Inglis, a Cunard, a Ritchie, and a number of others; but the cry of disloyalty and Fenians comes with a very bad grace from a people whose antecedents have not always been marked by the greatest respect for the representative of royalty, (and now, Mr. Speaker, I would say that if this subject had not been alluded to before, I would be very sorry to bring it here), it can never be said to us that we pelted our Governor-General through the streets, or burned our Parliament Buildings, or what I believe to be true, never left unpaid losses incurred by loyal men in defence of their country. A great deal of ingenuity has been used to prove to us that the Confederate minority at the last elections in Nova Scotia was but very slight. We will not stop to dispute that, but when we look around this House and see eighteen members out of nine-
teen returned as Anti-Confederates, it is quite sufficient to prove what the opinion of the people of that Province is on this question. Indeed, I do not know how to exemplify to you the Confederate party in Nova Scotia better than by an illustration from natural history; there is fish, a long, slim, slimy, slippery, wriggling thing of the eel tribe, it can move about in the grass and over the stones when slightly damp with dew, it will thus get into ponds and streams where it is not wanted, and where its presence is a source of trouble. Now, this fish when it finds that it is about to leave the world as instinct teaches it, will fasten itself by its lips to a rock, a stump, or it may be to a maple limb in some running stream and it dies; gradually a paleness comes over its body, its tail and fins macerate and soften, and soon it disintegrates, and is washed away down the stream and is swallowed up in the great ocean of eternity, and the last thing left of that animal are the jaws, and thus stands the Confederate party of Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I will ask the indulgence of the House for a few minutes longer, and in doing so it is my desire to draw the attention of the House to a speech delivered by the honourable Knight opposite. The Minister of Justice, to a meeting of electors in the city of Hamilton, in the Province of Ontario in July last, that honourable gentleman in that speech told the electors that, when the Confederation Act passed its first reading in the House of Commons that Canadian securities rose 2 per cent in the English market, and when it passed its second reading, and it was known it would certainly pass its third they rose 6 per cent more, 8 per cent in 14 days, thus showing the advantage of Confederation to the Canadians, and exploding the idea that it is wholly and entirely to the advantage of the Maritime Provinces, an idea freely circulated by the agents of Canada in the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; and further, Mr. Speaker, he went on to say, in the same memorable speech, that, “When we got the Imperial Act, we had got merely the license to get married, but we must be united by our own actions,—we must go before the Parliament of the Dominion, and then the marriage must be solemnized.” Now, Mr. Speaker, I ask this House, if it is their intention to force us into this marriage contract? We are in their hands according to those expressed views, and we appeal to your sympathies and the generous impulses of your nature for relief, or is it your determination to take to your breast a wife, kicking, struggling, fighting, determined to be free, to hand down to her posterity the same hostility to the oppression, and the wrong done to a free country and a free people by the brothers of the same tongue and language. (Deafening applause and cheers.) Now, Mr. Speaker, thanking you for your patience and the House for its indulgence, I beg to take my seat.
Mr. Rymal said he had been opposed to the passing of Confederation without appeal to the people, but when the Act was passed was willing to accept it. Still, if Nova Scotia were determined to leave the Confederacy, no act of his would prevent them. He thought a great mistake had been committed in not submitting the measure to the people. If the Confederacy is going to be a success, it is time we stopped finding fault with it, and if the members for Nova Scotia were determined to keep up the agitation on the subject, better to bid them go in peace. If the measures which the Government brought down were such as he believed would conduce to the welfare of the people, they should have no opposition from him; but, on the other hand, if a motion of want of confidence in the gentlemen would at any time be brought forward, he very much feared he should feel bound to support it.
Mr. Jones took the floor amid calls of “question” and “adjourn.”
Sir John A. Macdonald said that it was the desire of the Government that the debate on the Address should be closed to-night, and if one or two gentlemen wished to speak the House could very well remain an hour or two to hear them.
Mr. F. Jones then began to address the House, when
The Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald called an adjournment in order that gentlemen should have a fair hearing.
The adjournment took place accordingly at twenty minutes to 12 o’clock.