British Columbia, Legislative Council: Debate on the Subject of Confederation with Canada (16 March 1870)
By: British Columbia (Legislative Council)
Citation: British Columbia, Legislative Council, Debate on the Subject of Confederation with Canada: Reprinted from the Government Gazette Extraordinary of March, 1870 (Victoria: William H. Cullin, 1912) at 68-82.
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DEBATE ON THE SUBJECT OF CONFEDERATION WITH CANADA.
WEDNESDAY, 16TH MARCH, 1870.
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Committee sat at a quarter-past one.
The Hon. Attorney General moved the adoption of Clause 4:—
“4. The Dominion shall guarantee Interest at the rate of 5 per centum per annum on “such sum, not exceeding £100,000, as may he required for the construction of a first-class ” Graving Dock at Esquimalt.”
He said :—It is pretty generally known that a company was started for the construction of a Graving Dock at Esquimalt, and that negotiations with that object in view had taken place under a former administration; but although both the Admirals and Governor Seymour had reported in favour of it, the thing had fallen through. owing to the inability of the company to obtain the necessary funds. They were, only able to get a small loan in aid from the Admiralty. The Dominion guarantee of 5 per cent. on £100,000 sterling, with a prospect of ultimate profits from the undertaking itself, will, it is believed, secure the whole amount of capital required, which has been variously estimated ; but from preliminary surveys and investigations which have been made, the sum of £100,000 is deemed sufficient, and there is little doubt that if a company can get a guarantee for that amount, they can carry out the undertaking on the largest practicable scale. I am aware that some opposition has been expressed to the locality ; but it is to be supported on general grounds. It will be general to the whole Colony. £100,000 cannot be spent in any part of the Colony without benefiting the rest of it. The Navy are at Esquimalt.
Esquimalt is the first port which ocean ships reach when they want repair. and the last point they leave when they receive sailing orders. Captain Richards, and all the Admiral from first to last, have reported in favour of Esquimalt for a dock. Without Admiralty patronage and aid the thing could not succeed. Another advantage in a dock would be, that it would enable us to utilize our great white elephant, the dredger. As to any opposition to the locality for Burrard Inlet and New Westminster, though as much interested as any Hon. Member round this Board in those places, I must say that they already have the larger share of benefit from the terms ; for in my opinion the Overland Railway must follow down the main artery of the Colony. Fraser River. and have its terminus either at New Westminster or Burrard Inlet. Therefore, on public grounds, and because I believe that it will be a public benefit. I support the establishment of a Graving Dock at Esquimalt.
The Hon. Mr. Holbrook—Sir, I rise to oppose this clause, because I deem it too sectional; all sectional views should be set aside. 1 think the locality should certainly be left out, and the question decided hereafter. I have no objection to getting all the money we can from Canada. but I am not sure that there is any present necessity for a dock, I believe that for some time to come it will be cheaper to send ships to San Francisco. What is wanted is […]
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[…] one of Clarke’s Patent Slips. We shall, before long, have plenty of ships at Burrard Inlet, and when the community requires it we shall have plenty of private parties ready to come forward to construct them. Both at Burrard Inlet and New Westminster there is so great a rise and fall in the tide that they would be good places. I have been asked to support the substitution of Burrard Inlet for Esquimalt in the terms, but I will not do so ; I would prefer striking out the name altogether. We ought, I say, to let go sectional ideas. and go in for the public good.
Hon. Mr. Humphreys said:—Sir, I am at a loss to understand any opposition to this clause. Any such guarantee, if it lead to the expenditure of so much money in any part of the Colony, will be an advantage to the whole community. It is an easily understood benefit. It will not, in my opinion, make much difference where it is built ; perhaps it would be better to leave the selection of the locality to a Committee, who might indicate to the Canadian Government the best locality. I am of opinion that we want a Graving Dock ; we don’t want ships to go to San Francisco.
Hon. Mr. Robson, Member for New Westminster, said:—I may, perhaps, be expected to oppose this clause, and ask for New Westminster to be inserted. but I shall not do so. I have no sectiona1 feelings in supporting Confederation. I think the word Esquimalt is perfectly harmless, although, like my Hon. friend (Mr. Holbrook), I should have preferred that no locality had been named. I do not think that naming the spot will, of itself, decide the question. The Dock will, no doubt, be built in the most suitable place. As the Word is in, let it remain.
Hon. Mr. Wood said:—Sir, I agree with what has fallen from Hon. Members who object to the naming of the locality, and I shall move that the word “Esquimalt” be struck out, and the words “such place as the Dominion Government shall appoint” be inserted. I desire, if we are to have this organic change, that we should be free of sectional and local feelings of irritation The naming of Esquimalt as the locality for the Dock seems to me to be an endeavour to purchase the good-will of Victoria, whose population is known to be anti- confederate [“No, no,” from Mr. DeCosmos]—of Victoria, which stood the test of Confederation at the last election, and whose Members sit here pledged against Confederation. This is bidding for the favour of the Victoria constituency. [“No, no,” from Hons. Attorney-General and Chief Commissioner.] I judge of the effect which it is likely to have upon others by the effect it has upon me. I own some small portion of land at Esquimalt, at Constance Cove, near the probable site of the Docks, and that, I confess, has a softening effect upon me ; and though I do not allow it to influence my vote, it does influence my mind. [Laughter.] Confederation, as the Hon. Member for Victoria (Mr. Helmcken) has said, means a Railway, Docks, and money ; it means to each person the possibility of getting $1,000 at the end of two years, or $100 a month in rents. I do not believe that these terms will be submitted to, and if the inducements are taken away, I say the people will not have Confederation. If they do accept it under the inducement of material benefits, I fear that we shall very shortly see a strong feeling of reaction. Why should we name Esquimalt? What right have we to do so, if it is not intended to have effect on the Victorian interest? Why not leave it open? If Esquimalt is named, it seems to me to tie down the Dominion Government to a locality of which they may not approve, and may be disadvantageous to the negotiation. The more that is left to the Dominion Government, the better is the chance of carrying out the negotiations successfully.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—What is the estimated cost of constructing the Docks?
Hon. Chief Commissioner—I think, Mr. Chairman, that it is much to be regretted that the Hon. Mr. Wood has attributed not very creditable motives to the Government. [” Hear, hear.”] I am sorry to have to say so. I am sorry I cannot congratulate him on statesmanlike qualities when he says he might have been influenced. I have never taken this view. I believe the influence of a vote never occurred to any Member of the Executive Council. I protest against such insinuations. I congratulate the Hon. Member for New Westminster upon the course he has taken, and on his support of: the Government without reference to any sectional views. I feel bound to explain why Esquimalt has been named by the Government. The main object in asking for a Graving Dock there is to secure the headquarters of the Navy on the Pacific Coast within the Colony. When you come to remember that Esquimalt is the Naval Station, and has been for years, and when you come to consider […]
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[…] that assistance is offered by the Imperial Government, it will not be difficult to discern that there was reason on our side. I could give you good commercial reasons, but it is sufficient to say that the Government named Esquimalt especially with a view to the retention of the Fleet. Both the late Admiral and the late Governor agreed in reporting in favour of Esquimalt. We should, therefore, have been remiss in not pointing it out. I think it hard that the Government should be twitted with the intention of catching votes. [” Hear, hear,” from Mr. DeCosmos.] I scout the idea.
There is an Imperial Act, which only allows the Admiralty to lend a limited sum to Colonial Docks—the Act, of 28 and 29 Victoria, Cap. 206. This Act allows a loan of £20,000 from the Admiralty upon certain terms; it is a loan of so much money that is contemplated, and not a guarantee of interest. Last year I stated to this Council that the Admiralty had offered to lend £20,000, at 4 per cent. The Company did not think it sufficient inducement. We hope to get Imperial assistance still; that is one reason for the locality being named. I stand here to say that Esquimalt is the place. I am surprised that a Member from the Mainland should bring an accusation of sectional proclivities against the Government in this matter, for the Railway will specially benefit the Mainland. I believe and hope it will follow down the Valley of the Fraser, and immediately benefit the district from which the Hon. Member comes. Fraser River is the main artery and the probable course of the Railway. I did not, therefore. expect to hear of any sectional prejudice in the Resolutions from any Member from the Mainland, when, if there is any immediate benefit to any special locality, it will be to the Mainland of British Columbia.
Hon. Mr. Ring, Member for Nanaimo, said :—Sir, I am prepared to support the Government upon this clause. Why should we set ourselves up in opposition to the opinion of the successive Admirals who have been upon this station, and who can have no prejudices? I think it is a waste of public time to impute motives. Esquimalt has been pronounced by engineers to be the proper place. I am not one of those who, like certain Hon. Members here, would constantly “pin their conscience on their sleeves for daws to peck at.” Such motives as are suggested could never have entered into the minds of the Executive. They have been repelled by the Hon. Chief Commissioner, and why should we be accused of giving personal votes?
Hon. Mr. Wood— No personal motives are imputed.
Hon. Mr. Robson—It seems like such an imputation. I think the Hon. Member should withdraw his motion. Consider how such a principle as that suggested by the Hon. Mr. Wood would work. It in effect amounts to this: “Because you have a local interest, you must refrain from supporting by your vote what you conscientiously approve of as beneficial to the community.”
Hon. Mr. Wood—I must correct my Hon. friend (Mr. Ring). I do not attribute personal motives in any improper sense; but I say, is there a butcher, or baker, or any other man, who will, in these days of pressure, fail to vote as his pocket will be influenced? The material benefit to the individual is an influence at all elections, and rightly so. I can see, in my mind’s eye, banners floating at the next general election, and can imagine placards posted with the inscription in the largest type: “Vote for DeCosmos and the Esquimalt Dock.” This object may not be intentional, but yet can it be otherwise? What is it? Intending without intending? I deny that I impure any dishonest motive in the Executive, but it is clear that the Dock at Esquimalt will influence many votes, and I confess I gave them credit for foreseeing so obvious a consequence.
Hon. Chief Commissioner—I say this, Sir, that if any such motives had guided the Executive Council; if any considerations, such as have been suggested, had swayed them; if the object had been a different one, we could have prepared a much more palatable dish; we could have shown you pecuniary advantages. If we had had the intention to get votes, we could have framed the Resolutions very differently. But they were framed with no such views. It was the intention of the Government to prepare terms on a fair and proper basis to be submitted to the people.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken—As a Member of the Executive Council, Sir, I confess that I was pleased to see Esquimalt mentioned as the site for the Docks. I will meet the Hon. Mr. Wood on this issue [sic], and say that supposing this is put in for the sake of gaining the vote of the Victoria people, what is Confederation? Confederation moans union to benefit every part of the Colony. To follow out the Hon. Member’s reasoning, there should have been no public […]
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[…] works at all named in the conditions. I state that the insertion of Esquimalt in the Government Resolutions was not governed by sectional prejudices. The Executive Council took the broad view that is was for the interest of the Canadian Government to build this Dock, because if Victoria prospers under Confederation, it will be so much better for the Dominion revenue. If the work is a benefit to Victoria, through bringing labourers, it will benefit the whole Colony, and our position will be improved, and therefore we shall become a more important part of the Dominion. If it pleases the people of Victoria, if they consider it a sufficient inducement to go into Confederation, let them do so. The people of Victoria are here to make money, and not to found empires; their children may perhaps make the kingdoms and empires. If the people like Confederation on these terms, I say let them vote for it.
Hon. Mr. Carrall, Member for Cariboo—” It may not be intentional, but it is so,” were the concluding words of the Hon. Mr. Wood. I say yes, so far as this: that the whole of the conditions of this scheme were intended to benefit the whole of the Colony. As a Member of the Executive Council, I repudiate entirely the narrow motives which have been suggested by the Hon Mr. Wood. The Executive Council were actuated by no sectional views; their object was to make the whole of the Resolutions not only palatable, but beneficial, to the Colony. The merits of Esquimalt as a site for the Docks are in themselves a sufficient reason to advance in favour of the Executive opinion being correct. I shall vote for the clause as it stands.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—I am one of those who think it proper to have the locality for the Docks named; and I think the Government would have made a blunder if they had left out the word “Esquimalt.” It would have been wrong, in my opinion, if the Government had framed the Resolutions with any sectional views. But it appears to me whilst they are likely to do the Colony good generally, they have been framed with a tendency to create the popular vote, and I do not see much harm in that. The point which I want to hear about is, whether £100,000 will be sufficient to construct a good Dock, and what sort of a Dock it is to be? It is possible that a large Stone Dock may not be of so much use as a Patent Slip. I have visited the Floating Docks in the Arsenals of the United States, to take such observations as would serve an unprofessional man; and I confess that if it is to be a Stone Graving Dock in Constance Cove, to admit of one vessel at a time, I am inclined to the opinion that it would not be as good, nor as much public utility, as a Patent Slip. I shall support the item, or a larger sum than £100,000. I believe that a Dock, or a Patent Slip, at Esquimalt, will attract ships from Puget Sound. It is a step in the right direction. There is a feeling abroad that the Colony would have to construct this Dock. This would be a mistake; but to get Canada to endorse the scheme, by giving a guarantee for the interest, is, in my opinion, the right course to pursue.
Hon. Mr. Trutch—That is the intention; that a private company should undertake the work, the Dominion giving a guarantee. it will be left for the company to choose. Probably Clarke’s Patent Slip, with hydraulic lift, would be the easiest worked, as it would be the cheapest. It could probably be erected for £75,000, whereas a cut stone Graving Dock would cost more. One of the advantages of the latter would be that there would be more money expended in the Colony during its construction, whereas the principal cost of a Patent Slip would be expended elsewhere for machinery. I cannot say if £100,000 would be enough for the construction of a cut stone Dock or not. I think that a guarantee of 5 per cent. on £100,000 will be a sufficient inducement for any company to take the matter up. I am convinced that £100,000 will not build a stone Dock of sufficient capacity to take in such a ship as the Zealous.
Hon. Mr. Wood—If the people of Victoria desire the terms, why should not they vote for Union? My desire is, if we are to be united. to see a union which shall be lasting. I say that these terms are not lasting. They are in the nature of direct and immediate pecuniary advantage. Reaction will set in after the Railway and Dock are built. Show me in these terms continuing and abiding benefit, and I am satisfied. Let the people of Victoria choose, but I ask Hon. Members, who understand human nature, whether the people would not choose direct benefit in preference to prospective and continuing advantages. Mankind will choose direct present pecuniary benefit, rather than. that benefit which is to be lasting and remote. I fear reaction. I look upon this place as my home, and shall complain, I think with justice, if ten years hence I find a great reaction of the present hasty action.
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Hon. Mr. Helmcken—Would it be better to have Confederation with no terms at all, or with terms equal to these?
Hon. Mr. Wood—I ask for different terms; power to impose our own tariff, for instance.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken—The objections of the Hon. Member are not correct. When the Dock and Railway are built, I admit that some source of labour, and consequent interest, will be gone, but then we must look for other interests to arise. I admit that discontent may arise; it has frequently been so in England, when a large number of labourers have been thrown out of employment; but I say that the Dominion and Local Governments will have the power and the sense to remedy any such evils as they occur.
Hon. Attorney-General—I cannot fancy anything more calculated to promote permanent benefit than the establishment of Graving Docks. Every ship that comes in would spend money, would be a benefit to the town, and a continuing benefit; and not to the town only, but to some extent to the whole Colony. It the Colony goes on and increases, so must the work to be done in the Docks go on increasing. I regret that the Hon. Mr. Wood should have taken the ground that the Executive are influenced by any sectional motives. I do not see why the Hon. Member should refuse benefits which come under Confederation. He would surely not prefer to go in without terms.
Hon. Mr. Drake—I doubt whether the amount named is large enough. I have information from good authority that double that amount will be required. Canada is only asked to guarantee the interest. I shall, therefore, move an amendment, in the shape of a recommendation to His Excellency, that the sum of £100,000 be increased to £150,000 in the conditions I am of opinion that the terms should be put in as favourable a light as possible for this Colony.
Hon. Mr. Pemberton—I would ask the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works whether it would be possible to connect the supply of water with the Docks? London is supplied by a large fresh water reservoir, and it is possible that the same course might be adopted as regards this city. If the course of the water in the valley of Victoria Arm were stopped, the Gorge being a natural valley, if it were possible to exclude the salt water from the whole of Victoria Harbour, a vast natural reservoir of fresh water might be formed, which would supply the whole city with water. Being no engineer, I feel some diffidence in putting it forward. I only put it as a suggestion to the Chief Commissioner, with the view of inquiring whether it could be done.
Hon. Chief Commissioner—It is impossible for me to offer an opinion upon the suggestion of the Hon. Mr. Pemberton. The supply of water upon the supposed plan, would contemplate the expenditure of much more money than the sum required for Graving Docks. Besides the proposed place is too low, and would necessitate the water being pumped up to a second reservoir. Moreover, I am of opinion that the supply of water is too much of a local matter to be worthy of mention in the terms.
Hon. Mr. Holbrook— My amendment is, that the word “Esquimalt” be struck out, on the ground that it is too sectional. I believe that any Company which is formed will erect a Patent Slip instead of a Dock. It has been shown in practice to be more useful. I move that the word “Esquimalt ” be struck out.
Hon. Mr. Wood‘s recommendation to strike out the word “Esquimalt,” and to insert “such place as the Dominion Government shall appoint,” on division was lost, two only voting in favour of it.
Hon. Mr. Drake‘s recommendation “That the sum of £150,000 be named,” on division was lost, eight voting in favour of the recommendation.
Clause 4 was then passed as read.
The Chairman then read section 5:—
“5. In addition to the other provisions of this Resolution, Canada shall assume and defray ” the charges of the following Services:—
“(a.) Salary and allowances of the Lieutenant-Governor:
“(b.) Salaries and Allowances of the Judges and Officers of the Supreme Court, and ” of the County Courts:
“(c.) The charges in respect of the Department of Customs:
“(d.) The Postal Department:
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“(e.) Lighthouses, Buoys, Beacons, and Lightships, and such further charges as may “be incident to and connected with the services which by ‘The British North “America Act. 1867,’ appertain to the General Government, and as are or may be “allowed to the other Provinces.”
The Hon. Attorney-General moved the adoption of this Clause, which he said was taken from “The British North America Act, 1867,” and would relieve the Colony of the payment of a certain amount annually in the shape of Salaries.
Hon. Mr. Humphreys—I shall move a recommendation that the maintenance of the Roads by the Dominion Government, be included in this Clause.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—This seems to be a made up clause, it is provided for in “The British North America Act,” and the insertion of the clause in these Resolutions looks like setting it before the country for the object of educating them up to what they are expected to ask for.
Hon. Attorney-General—It is an essential part of the whole scheme.
Hon. Mr. Trutch—I think it is partly provided for by “The British North America Act; ” yet it is included in the Terms of the proposed admission of Newfoundland.
Hon. Attorney-General—And of all the other Provinces.
Hon. Mr. Robson—I do not agree with the Hon. Member for Victoria District. I think the Act of British North America applies to original Provinces, and provision is made for the admission of others. They might be presumed to apply to us, but I think it is proper to ask in an address that these charges should be put in, and that it is as necessary to insert these as it is to insert any clauses. We should make it plain that we desire to have these terms applied to us.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—There is no provision in paragraph (b) for payment of salaries of Judges of Admiralty or District Courts.
Hon. Mr. Wood—I move to strike out these paragraphs; they are mere verbiage. One word with respect to the Admiralty Court, which ought to be included if the Supreme Court is inserted. ‘
Hon. Attorney-General—We have no power, as a Council, to deal with the constitution of the Admiralty Court; nor is this the proper time to enter into any discussion respecting it.
Hon. Mr. Wood – I say we have every power, and I take this opportunity of saying that the Admiralty Court is badly managed. I have heard it insinuated that the Judges of the Admiralty Courts in this Colony have been influenced by fees to prolong the business of the Court and drag out Admiralty business to its utmost length, instead of pushing it through, as the business of the Common Law Courts is pushed through. There ought to be no fees. Admiralty practice in this Colony is likely, in case of war, to assume enormous proportions. I do not see why a condition should not be inserted to provide us with an Admiralty Court with Judges to be paid by fees.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—Does the Hon. the Attorney-General intend to insert Admiralty Court?
Hon. Attorney-General—We must not arrogate to ourselves powers which we have not; and the insertion of such a clause in the Resolutions which we are now discussing would be entirely out of place, and I would suggest to Hon. Members not to introduce this Resolution now, but let it be brought up as a substantive measure. It cannot be brought up again, if it is decided now.
Hon. Mr. Wood—I said, and I repeat it, that if the Imperial Government were properly approached this thing might be done, just as if the Crown were properly approached, the Crown Salaries Act might be repealed.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—I think some action ought to be taken. I wish to call attention to the fact that the Canadian Parliament have power to fix the salaries of the Judges in Admiralty, where they are paid by salaries.
Hon. Attorney-General—Then bring the matter up separately.
Hon. Mr. Drake—I would draw the Attorney-General’s attention to section 100 of the British North America Act, which includes Admiralty Courts where the Judges are paid by salaries and pensions. It is expressly stated that the terms of the British North America Act shall apply to this Colony; then why not insert it in the words} of the Act? Though we are […]
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[…] aware that these Resolutions have to be carried, there is no reason that we should not add recommendations. I think section 100 of the Act is better than our clause. I will move the addition of the word “pensions”
Hon. Mr. Robson—I cannot see that the application of section 100 would meet the case. It would be ineffectual because our Judges of the Admiralty Court are not paid by salaries; therefore it would be inoperative as regards British Columbia. Whilst I deem it quite desirable to make the change suggested, I do not think this is the time to make it. I should suggest postponing the discussion of the question as to the Admiralty Court until these Resolutions are settled.
Hon. Mr. Trutch—Why complicate the question? Why not bring it up in open House and discuss it?
Hon. Mr. Wood—It could be done in three or four months. The Judges of the Admiralty Courts could be put upon salaries, and section 100 would then be applicable. We are upon the question of Judges, and why not decide it at once?
Hon. Mr. Trutch—I am not prepared to discuss this question, as to the Admiralty Court, now. It proper notice is given of its being brought up, I shall then be prepared to go fully into its merits.
Hon. Mr. Wood—The principle is bad to pay Judges by fees.
Hon. Mr. Ring—The question is: are the Judges of the Admiralty Court, Judges? Why should we not say clearly and unmistakeably what we mean? I shall support the recommendation of the Hon. Mr. Wood, and I hope the members of the Government will pause before they oppose it. Let them consider whether it is desirable to admit the principle that any person exercising the office of a Judge should be paid by fees. I say that the question is properly before us now, and the recommendation comes fairly and correctly in this place.
Hon. Mr. Alston—I agree with the Hon. Mr. Wood, as to the Constitution of the Admiralty Court, but should vote against the recommendation, and for the Resolution, because i do not think that this recommendation, or amendment, for it virtually amounts to that, if acted upon by the Executive, would effect the cure; the Judges would still take tees.
Hon. Attorney-General—I shall be obliged to vote against this recommendation, if it is pressed, on account of the way in which it is brought up here. The friends of the alteration are those who are refusing to join in bringing it forward at this inopportune time. A vote taken now, would prevent free discussion of the subject. I recommend the Hon. Member to withdraw his amendment, and I invite full and free discussion of the subject of the Admiralty Courts upon a special day to be fixed.
Hon. Mr. Trutch—This discussion is inapposite at this time. If this side of the House were against the consideration of the payment of Admiralty Judges by fees, they could let it pass in Committee, and kill it in the House; then. under our Standing Orders, it could not be brought up again, but we do not intend to do so. I shall vote against it
The Hon. Mr. Wood, with the permission of the Council, withdrew his recommendation, on the understanding that it was to he brought up at a future day as a distinct motion.
The Hon. Mr. Drake’s recommendation as to Pensions was put, and lost.
Hon. Mr. Wood—It is treating the recommendations of non-official members with contempt and disrespect to find the Government Members voting them down. [“No, no,” from the Attorney-General]. [“Yes, yes,” from Mr. Drake.] Let us have an opportunity of putting our opinion upon record. This Government vote operates as a wet blanket upon all occasions.
Hon. Attorney-General—It is the common sense of the House, which says that recommendations which are against the basis of the Resolutions should not pass.
Hon. Mr. Humphreys—If what we do is not to meet the eye of the Executive, it is of no use being here. I never felt so mean. Our position in this Council is nugatory; utterly futile and contemptible. If all the elected members felt as I do, we should leave the Council in a body. and have nothing more to do with it. [“Hear. hear,” from Mr. DeCosmos] Hon. Mr. Humphreys I find it difficult to speak of the Government conduct of business in this House with patience.
Hon. Mr. Trutch—I should really like to know what this is all about. One Hon. Member that the course is disrespectful, because the sense of the Council was against him. The Hon. Member for Lillooet indulges in a species of harangue which is peculiar to him; when he is at a loss for an argument he shakes the red flag of officialdom before him, lowers his head, […]
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[…] and charges at it madly. With regard to disrespect, I think we treat them with respect by discussing them here at all. We might allow them to pass here, and vote them down in the Executive; but instead of that, the Executive Members enter freely into the discussion here, and declare what their views are fully. As to voting recommendations of Hon. Members down, when a suggestion is made to substitute one Scheme for another, it would be strange if the Government Members should not unite in voting it down. With regard to the recommendations for adding to the terms and conditions, they ought to be carefully made. or their insertion may create great disappointment in the public mind by leading people to expect more than will he acceded. Hon. Members should weigh their votes well. I, for one, will not vote for what I cannot recommend to His Excellency in the Executive Council.
Hon. Mr. Humphreys—I am not in the habit of holding my head down, I always hold it up. I agree with the Hon. Mr. Wood, that all that we are likely to do for the public benefit is crushed by the official vote.
Hon. Mr. Carrall—The Hon. Mr. Wood has stated that the recommendations of the Elected Members would be treated with contempt. He is not a Member of the Executive Council. I, as a Member of that Council, can tell him that they are always treated with the greatest respect.
Hon. Mr. Wood—What I say is that the recommendations of Independent Members do not reach, and will not reach, the head of the Executive. We want them to reach. We all believe that the Members of the Executive will mention them, but that is not what we want. We desire that these recommendations should meet the eye of the Executive. 1 disdain to consider that the Executive rules this Colony. They do not; they administer the Government, and l consider it to be the duty of the Executive to sink their own views, when they do not accord with the popular will. It is quite possible that the Executive may be wrong and the Popular Members right occasionally
Hon. Mr. Trutch—I do not think the position of the Hon. Mr. Wood is correct. There are now three Resolutions of, so-called, Popular Members before the Executive; why are so many of their recommendations carried if there is any desire to treat them with dis» respect? The difficulty is, that the Hon. gentleman persisted in trying to force a vote upon his Resolution about the Admiralty Court. I, if pressed to give an opinion at an inapposite time, would vote against it.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—The conviction in and out of this House is, that the Elected Members are useless, being outnumbered by the official vote. The only reason why I would endeavour to be elected to a seat, in a Council so constituted, is to prevent evils that might happen. The Government might get tools to go in and vote as they liked. The Government might get some one to be elected, and then call it the popular vote. The mistake has been in interpreting recommendations into amendments.
Hon. Mr. Robson—Mr. Chairman, I think that nothing can be more unfair, nothing more ungenerous, than the position taken by some Hon. Members towards the Government. This scheme was brought down to the House by the Government. and we were invited by the Hon. Attorney-Genera and other Members of the Government, to make any recommendations or suggestions that we thought proper, and they would receive every consideration at the hands of the Executive. I fail to see one single act or vote at variance with that position. I have seen leading Members of the Government vote different ways; and this I take to be an evidence of their sincerity. There seems to be a disposition to run away with the impression that the unofficial members are treated with disrespect. To me. Sir, such a position is undignified and absurd. Because I have moved a recommendation. and the House has voted it down, am I treated with disrespect? Why, follow this up and an adverse vote would be in every case an insult to the minority, and legislation would become an impossibility. I am grateful to the Government for what I consider a great scheme; grateful for having the opportunity of voting upon it, and I join the Hon. Chief Commissioner in warning the House against voting alterations in the Terms. lest such a course should create hopes to be afterwards disappointed, and lead to a reaction which might result in the defeat of the whole scheme at the polls. 1′ would also caution Hon. Members to avoid attempting to induce the Government to insert terms which would imperil the scheme with the Dominion Government. I shall set aside any particular views and suggestions I should like to make, to avoid that result. I can understand […]
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[…] enemies of the cause rushing in resolutions calculated to raise extravagant hopes, and so produce disappointment and fatal reaction, but not friends of the caus.. In recommending alterations to Government our reason and judgment should be fairly and calmly exercised.
Clause 5 was put to the Committee by the Chairman, and passed as read.
The Chairman read Clause 6:—
“6. Suitable Pensions, such as shall be approved of by Her Majesty’s Government, shall “be provided by the Government of the Dominion for those of Her Majesty’s Servants in the “Colony, whose position and emoluments derived therefrom would be affected by political “changes on the admission of this Colony into the Dominion of Canada,”
The Hon. Attorney-General said :—In proposing the adoption of this clause, it is only necessary for me to state to the House that it is inserted in accordance with Lord Granville’s despatch. Confederation will, in all probability, affect the positions of certain officials, and the despatch advises that provision should he made, hence this clause.
Hon. Mr. Humphreys—I do not approve of the principle of pensions, and I cannot understand why pensions should be given to men who came out to this Colony, as I came out, as needy adventurers. The people of this country do not approve of pensions. If Hon. Members had been induced to come out from England to assume positions under Government for life, I could understand their being provided for with pensions on the positions being abolished. I was once a Government Officer in this Colony myself, and should of course have liked to get a pension; but in my opinion the present Government officials have drawn very good pay for doing very little work, for long enough; and before a pension is given, it should he shown that the person to whom it is given has done the State some service.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—We have now, Sir, arrived at the. Government’s “wisdom” in delaying Confederation in 1868, and subsequently, and of which we heard from the Hon. Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works The Hon. gentlemen who own this Colony—for the Governor and Executive virtually own the country—are now ready to execute a quit claim deed of this colony to Canada, for a pension to each, and it may be the cheapest mode of getting rid of them. Pensions are a modern discovery. The Romans granted triumphal entries as a reward to their most distinguished citizens; and the Greeks crowned those whom they would honour with laurels; but now pensions are the fashion. How much more substantial! The whole secret of the opposition of the Government to Confederation lay in the question of pensions. [“No, no.”] [“Yes, yes.”] Still I shall vote for the clause, as I believe this to be the cheapest way of buying out the present possessors, the virtual owners of the Colony, I think it ought to be pensions or compensation, but I will move no amendment:
Hon. Mr. Holbrook—I am prepared to support this clause. It shows that Great Britain does not forget her public servants, It is a good and proper clause, and a usual one. This is following out what is done in every other British Colony. I shall support the clause.
Hon. Mr. Wood—I shall support this clause. It stands out in strong contrast to the action of the Imperial Government, in their treatment of public officers upon the occasion of another union. I am glad to see this clause inserted, as representing a principle that ought always to he recognized.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken—The Hon. Member for Victoria District is attributing motives again. If he throws dirt on others, he must expect to have it thrown back on himself, and it might as well be said that Hon. Representative Members who vote for Confederation only vote for it for the sake of the loaves and fishes. [No, no,” from DeCosmos.] This is a question for the Canadian Government. not for us. Government officials are entitled to some compensation for loss of offices, and the Canadian Government will think so too To them I leave it. They will, I believe, settle the question honourably.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos— I challenge any man to say that I ever asked to have any Government post or appointment. I have lived half a century, and three-fourths of that time I have earned my own bread and spent my own money.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken— I don’t accuse the Hon. Member of seeking office. I say the argument might be used; and if gentlemen will throw dirt, they must expect. to get it thrown on them.
Hon Mr. DeCosmos—The remarks I made were as to times past. As to dirt, I never use it. I deal in facts. I know men, however, who have for themselves and friends stuck closely to the loaves and fishes; and I could name some public men who did their best and succeeded in […]
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[…] depriving the Colony of Vancouver Island of half a million of dollars, that the Duke of Newcastle, as Colonial Secretary, said belonged to it. [Hon Mr. Helmcken —”Name.”]
[Hon Mr. DeCosmos:] No, I will not mention names. I say, again, that the chief reason for this question not being taken up in 1868, was because pensions were not provided. Now, Sir, I am glad the Hon. senior Member for Victoria City has afforded me an opportunity to explain the part that I took in pressing Confederation on the Council in 1868. I first endeavoured, with the Hon. Member for New Westminster, to enlist Governor Seymour in the matter,—get him to take it up as a Government measure,—and open negotiations with the Canadian Government. But he refused to interfere in it, and said the Council might deal with it. Without the support of the Governor, in a Council so constituted, there was no hope for the measure. It then became a question whether any Resolution on it ought to be brought forward in the Council. Some Confederates urged that it would not do to have a Resolution defeated. 0n the other hand, I thought it best to make some proposition, merely to elicit an expression of the Council’s opinion, and show the country its attitude on the question. For in agitating the question, unless it could be proved incontestably that the Council and Executive were opposed, the people could not be aroused to take action. I, therefore, brought it up in a series of Resolutions before the House, and not in Committee of the Whole.
If I had had the least hope that it would have passed, I would have had it considered in Committee of the Whole,—the proper place to settle such an important matter, after the terms had been settled between the two Governments. As a matter of course, the Resolutions were defeated. But subsequently, when it was urged upon the Governor, at the instance of the Collector of Customs, that the Council be allowed to take action, he said “No; let the people act.”
Hon. Mr. Carrall—I shall vote in favour of this clause, and I only desire to offer three remarks. The Council have had two objects mainly in view: first, to bring in a scheme which should bring general prosperity; and, secondly, that no vested interests should be affected by the act of Confederation. The positions held by official gentlemen are, I contend, vested interests, and as such, entitled to protection. As regards the way in which members have been treated in other Colonies, there are numbers who are now receiving pensions. I may instance two notable members of the Imperial Government—the Right Hons. Robert Lowe and H. C. E. Childers. I desire to put it upon record that I vote for this clause with as much pleasure as I support any clause of the Resolutions.
Clause 6 was then read by the Chairman, and passed as read.
The Hon. Attorney-General proposed the adoption of Clause 7:—
“7. The Dominion Government shall supply an efficient and regular fortnightly steam communication between Victoria and San Francisco, by steamers adapted and giving facilities for the conveyance of passengers and cargo.”
This clause speaks for itself, and it is unnecessary for me to say anything in support of it.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—I regard this paragraph of the Resolutions as a make-weight, nothing more nor less. It is a mistake to make it one of the essential conditions. The time may come when we don’t want this steam communication. The Railway may come to Puget Sound, and then this clause will be unnecessary. People will say, at first, that this is a splendid thing; but it is all included in the British North America Act
Hon. Chief Commissioner—The Hon. Member refers, I suppose, to clause (b) of Section 92, which excepts “Lines of steamships between the Province and any British or foreign country” from the “Local works and undertakings” which are declared to be subjects of exclusive Provincial legislation. The Dominion Government would have to make provision for mail steamers. This clause provides for regular communication. When we have communication with Canada by railway, such a clause as this would be unnecessary; but now, if confederated, we shall need, more than ever, regular and more frequent communication with San Francisco, which is the chain of communication with Canada.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—There seems to be a spirit of distrust in this and other clauses of those Resolutions, a desire to have everything in writing. I believe that we should have a steamship line without this clause.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken—The Hon. Member says it is of no use. If the clause was not there, the Dominion Government need not give us this communication. Postal communication it must give; but that means only communication with Olympia
Hon. Mr. Robson—I do not think that this implies distrust any more than asking a man to give a note for a debt implies distrust. In the conditions framed on the admission into the […]
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[…] Confederation of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, these matters are set out with great minuteness. I perfectly agree that we might trust the Canadian Government, but we are not in Canada, and we are asked to name specific terms. Surely we ought to do so. It would be very unbusiness-like to say to the Dominion, we will leave it all to you. The Dominion Government would say, let it be prepared in black and white, so that we may say whether we can perform it or not.
The Chairman read Clause 7. Passed as read.
The Hon. Attorney-General proposed the adoption of Clause 8:—
“8. Inasmuch as no real Union can subsist between this Colony and Canada without the speedy establishment of communication across the Rocky Mountains by Coach Road and Railway, the Dominion shall, within three years from the date of Union, construct and open for traffic such Coach Road, from some point on the line of the Main Trunk Road of this Colony to Fort Garry, of similar character to the said Main Trunk Road; and shall further engage to use all means in her power to complete such Railway communication at the earliest practicable date, and that surveys to determine the proper line for such Railway shall be at once commenced; and that a sum of not less than One Million Dollars shall be expended in every year, from and after three years from the date of Union, in actually constructing the initial sections of such Railway from the seaboard of British Columbia, to connect with the Railway system of Canada.”
I move this Resolution, Mr. Chairman, as being the practical bond of Union between the Dominion and this Colony. I leave it to other members to discuss the details. I merely say that three years is the time deemed necessary to make preliminary surveys, and the expenditure of a sum of $1,000,000 is the best practical guarantee that the work will be done. The Dominion would not submit to the expenditure of such an amount if they did not intend to push the work forward as quickly as possible.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—Sir, I do not claim any honour in connection with the Resolution respecting the Railway. I am perfectly willing to accord the praise that is due to the originator of this clause, but think a portion of it a great mistake. I do not altogether like the way in which these Resolutions are got up. I don’t like the preamble as to “real union.” In all these Government Resolutions there is something of a “catching” character; little hooks to catch the popular vote. Material union can exist without railroads. Look at the real union between this Colony and Great Britain. People who were here in 1859 may recollect how safe they felt during the San Juan difficulty, and subsequently during the Trent affair. There was then a physical union; we felt that we should be protected by force if necessary. I believe that I was amongst the first or second of those who moved in the matter of the transcontinental coach road. But whilst on this Subject I will take occasion to do justice to the memory of the gentleman who proposed the Overland Railway through British America.
It was during the administration of Sir Robert Peel, in 1844 or 1845, that A. W. Godfrey, a bookseller in Halifax, addressed letters to Sir Robert Peel, about a Railway from Halifax to Vancouver Island. Previously, Whitney had proposed his scheme for a Railroad from Texas to the Pacific. Our worthy old citizen, Mr. Waddington, has been distinguished among those who have taken active measures in favour of the Railway. Till Lord Granville’s despatch arrived, none of the railway agitators seemed to have made much headway. At the Conference of Delegates from British North America in London, an Overland Railway was considered and described as “a subject of the highest importance, and one to be promoted at the earliest stage that the finances of the country would admit of” The proposition before us shows how great a stride has been made in this matter since 1867, I have no wish to claim any honour or to detract from that which is due to others, but we must recollect that $1,000,000 a year is not a Railway across the Rocky Mountains. I have, however, year after year, looked upon Railway communication as the only means to settle up the interior of British Columbia.
I never could see how British Columbia could be settled up without a Railway to connect Fraser River with Kamloops. I think, Sir, that a different course ought to be pursued by the Government with the Dominion than that proposed. Assuming that the Coach Road may be open in three years,—for I am ready to admit that proposition,—when people settle the country from Thompson River to Osoyoos Lake the farmers must have the means of transport for their various productions. How are they to get them out? I maintain that the true course for the development of the resources of the country is to make a line of Railway from […]
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[…] some navigable spot on the Fraser to Lake Kamloops, I claim for this that it might be regarded as a part of the transcontinental line, and in my opinion it would do more to build up the country than anything else that could be conceived, and I believe it to be thoroughly practicable. I, therefore, move a recommendation to His Excellency that the construction of a Railway from steamboat navigation on the Fraser River to Kamloops Lake be inserted in the terms, instead of commending from the initial sections on the seaboard of British Columbia.
Hon, Chief Commissioner—Sir, I approach the consideration of this clause with a great sense of the magnitude of the work which we propose to the Government of, that Dominion with which we propose to be confederated. My mind seems somewhat to shrink before the contemplation of its magnitude; and it is only when the reflection is gradually forced upon me, that the union can never be a reality until the Railway is commenced in our own territory, and that it is necessary, that I can bring myself to believe that it should be done. That it is practicable is undeniable, and needs no argument. From all information I have been able to obtain, and comparing it with the difficulties which have been overcome on the Pacific line, I believe the proportion of cost of the proposed line of Railway from the seaboard of British Columbia to Canada to be not more than two-thirds of the cost of the line already built from California across the Sierra Nevada. There will, of course, be difficulties to overcome, which may influence the choice of the best line of route I believe we are justified in asking for the construction of the Railway, and I am satisfied, I may say I know, that there is a great desire on the part of those now in power in Canada to construct this Railroad, and if it be in their power to do it it [sic] will be done.
To go to the terms: objections have been made to the time of commencement I would ask the House to consider what an amount of prospecting and survey will have to be done before any commencement can possibly be made in the work. I do not think that there is any delay suggested by fixing the time of three years. I think it is the shortest time that could be named. The proper line could hardly be determined sooner. We do not presume to suggest the scheme, or the means. My opinion is that the Railway will be built by private enterprise, under a guarantee. As the Imperial Government have shown a desire to encourage Confederation, I think we have a right to expect that they will render seine assistance in the building of the Railway. especially after Lord Granville’s despatch. [Hear, hear] I hope that the Canadian Government will have the assistance of the Imperial Government in carrying out this scheme.
It will be some time before the scheme can be developed, and then at least two seasons must elapse, as an immense amount of reconnoitring and surveying will be necessary. Three years is not too much. The Hour Member for Victoria District (Mr. DeCosmos) objects to the framing of this Resolution as too catching. I think his objection is unfounded, I believe that the benefits will be real and substantial. The reason that so small a sum as $1,000,000 is asked for is that it is only intended to be an earnest. so to speak, on the part of the Dominion Government that the Railway will be made. I believe that the expenditure of $1,000,000 upon the first twenty miles will bring an accession of from 5,000 to 10,000 to our population. We have a right to ask that the Railway should be commenced here. It is desirable that it should be made here. It will be found that when once it is commenced here a nucleus of, population will be formed which will add considerably to the prosperity of the Colony. It has been argued that no profit can arise from the expenditure of the vast amount of capital that will be required to build this Railway. It will cost probably $20,000,000, and therefore is not likely to be profitable for years to come.
We cannot, in my opinion. expect any pecuniary return for years. It believes the Dominion Government, if they desire the prosperity of this part of the Empire, to develop the resources of the estate which we are handing over. If they value it as we. do, and as we believe that they do. they will endeavour to realize the advantages at the earliest possible date. This Railway will do so. when it is completed across the Rocky Mountains, and in my opinion not till then shall we have a population. Before concluding, I desire to say that it is intended, although it is not so stated in the terms, to give an assurance to the Dominion Government that any amount of land which they think reasonable will be given. This will be made a part of the scheme for the construction of the Railway, if thought desirable.
Hon, Mr. Humphreys—Sir, I look upon this clause as most important. I am one of those who believe that there can be no real Confederation without a Railroad. Government has made a mistake in naming the sum of $1,000,000 to be expended on the seaboard. There […]
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[…] is no necessity to put this in. This would only bring a floating population, which we do not want. I agree with the Hon. Member for Victoria District, that the Railway ought to be commenced in the agricultural districts of the Mainland. so as to connect them with the head of navigation on the Fraser.
Hon. Chief Commissioner—It does not become us, I think, to dictate in what way the work should be done, or to describe the details of the scheme to Canada. I feel confident that if this plan is really taken up it will be done much more quickly than if only $1,000,000 a year were spent. I think that several millions a year will be expended, and if so I have little doubt that the Railway from the seaboard to the agricultural districts will be made in five years.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—What is the seaboard? Does it mean Barclay Sound?
Hon. Chief Commissioner—That is what we have purposely left open. The line may come down the valley of the Fraser, as in my opinion will be best, or it may come through to Bute Inlet or Bentinck Arm. We have purposely generalized and left it for those who undertake the work to determine for themselves. It is not desirable for us to cramp this Resolution by defining the locality for the line or terminus.
The Hon. Mr. Robson—Sir, l conceive that we have now come to the most vital part of the whole scheme. I quite concur in the opinion that no real union can take place without a Railway. Did I believe that the Overland Railway would not be made. I should hesitate very much about Confederation, because l should he apprehensive that the whole scheme would fall to pieces. I think that great haste must he used to build up an English-speaking nation alongside of another existing English-speaking country. To accomplish this end, I think that the Overland Railway is necessary, and must: be pushed through to speedy completion to be an immediate success. In ten years’ time, without an Overland Railway, I do not believe that we should have any British Territory here at all. The great work must be undertaken with the assistance of both the Canadian and Imperial Governments, and pushed through to a speedy success. It is true that a sort of union might exist without a Railway, such as the union between British Columbia and Great Britain. But we propose to establish a union that will endure and that will render an Overland Railway just as necessary as the arteries in the human body are necessary to circulate the blood and to keep up life.
I believe that $1,000,000 is a mere nominal sum, as explained by the Hon. Chief Commissioner, a tangible security that the work will be completed. The expenditure of the first million will be a guarantee that any company or Government undertaking it will carry it through. Every reflecting mind will see that if any company spend $1,000,000 a year, they must spend more, and that it will he to their interest to push it through. To say that because we only name a sum of $1,000,000, that it will be a matter of 100 years is absurd; my reply to this, I cannot call it an argument, is that capitalists could not be found in the world so silly as to spread the construction over one hundred, or fifty, or twenty, or even ten years. I cannot support the amendment of the Hon Member for Victoria District; we must carefully avoid committing ourselves to the route, or terms of building. I think this may be safely left in the bands of the Dominion Government. It is useless to argue that it is of vital importance to them to have be best route. The Railway must pass through the Colony, and benefit the Colony. no matter where the terminus; it must be in British Columbia. and consequently a benefit to the whole Colony. I cannot see that it would be better to begin in the middle. I look upon it as an absolute necessity that the Railway should commence at the seaboard: moving the material is the great expense that has to be contended against, and the advantage of being able to land the material and lay it down at once on the road, will be incalculable. If the Railway were to be constructed from a given point ten miles from the seaboard, it would probably pay the contractors to build that piece of the line. Unless Hon. Members can show us that the material can be brought to the line by way of the Rocky Mountains, don’t let us stultify ourselves by asking them to begin in the middle.
It is right that the work should be commenced simultaneously on the Atlantic and Pacific sides. I fancy that, as a matter of policy and economy, any company undertaking the work would so commence, without it being named in the terms, as it would undoubtedly be more economical to carry on the work by sea from the westward in British Columbia, and by land from the East. As for the amount named in the conditions. as I have said. I look upon it as a tangible assurance to the people that the thing will be done, rather than as the specific statement of a sum with the expenditure of which this Colony will be satisfied. I have some […]
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[…] doubts about the clause requiring the Dominion Government to make a Coach Road. The age for Coach Roads has almost passed away. Such a road would not meet the requirements of the present day. I would prefer removing this condition, and require the work to be commenced within two years, or seek compensation in some other way as an equivalent for the supposed advantage of the road. The sooner we do our little part towards convincing the Dominion Government that this is necessary, the better, Not only is the Railway a national necessity for the Dominion, but for every fractional part of British North America.
The Hon. Mr. Helmcken—I reiterate that Confederation means terms. What feeling now exists in favour of Confederation has been brought about by the assertion that Canada will do certain things for the Colony, amongst others, that she will build a Railway. If the people are deceived in this matter; if Canada does not accede to this portion of the conditions, she need not ask the people of this Colony to be united. I would ask the people to hand them selves together to demand that the terms shall be verified, and I hope they will take that stand. And I will ask that the promises made by the Dominion Government will be strictly performed. [“Hear, hear,” from Mr. DeCosmos and Mr. Wood]
This Colony would be just as much isolated as ever after a paper union, without a Railway as one of the conditions. I acknowledge that we might have such union as exists with England now, with a Railway. We are a Colony of England, and I don’t know that many people object to being a Colony of England; but I say that verv many would object to becoming a Colony of Canada. As a Colony of England we have the right to legislate for ourselves; if we become a Colony of Canada, that power is taken away. [“No, no,” from Mr. DeCosmos] [Hon Mr. Robson, it will give us more power]
[The Hon. Mr. Helmcken:] I say that the power of regulating our own commerce is taken away, and the only power left to us is that of raising taxes for Municipal purposes That is the difference between being a Colony of Canada, and a Colony of England. The distance is so great between this Colony and Ottawa without any Railway and without any Telegraphic communication, that laws might be passed there, which would ruin British Columbia, without our having any notice of them. I do not consider that Canada expects or intends to attempt to make this Railway a paying institution of itself. There are a great many institutions in this Colony which are not paying institutions. Canada takes the view that the Railway is necessary to complete the British line of communication between England and her Asiatic possessions, in order that the English people may share in the carrying trade to China and the East Indies with our American neighbours. Canada expects to influence Great Britain to guarantee the loan for the formation of the Railway. Great Britain may guarantee the loan for the purpose of having a check on the American line of Railway, but, she would never guarantee it for Canadian purposes only. The people of England would not tolerate it. I consider this an essential condition. Without it Confederation must not take place. This is one of those things which will he a vast benefit to this Colony and to Canada, and therefore I regard it as a necessary condition.
Why should this Colony join Canada except for the benefit of both? We should be better off without Canada if we have no Railway. I say that this Colony had better stand alone than risk everything without a Railway. What benefit can Canada expect from Confederation with British Columbia without a Railway? Is she afraid of, British Columbia being handed over to America? If Canada thinks she can hold British Columbia for her own purposes, and use it when she pleases, and takes her own time to do what she likes with it, she is mistaken. The Railway has been made a lever for Confederation, by Canada, I ask that Canada he now made to promise faithfully that a Railway shall be made. With regard to the expenditure of $1,000,000, there should he a forfeit of ten per cent payable to this Colony if it is not spent; I am not so much afraid about the Canadian Government not carrying out the terms as I am of our own people.
I believe that there is more danger from our own people than from the Canadian Government. British Columbia may cheat herself, and it is our duty, man for man, to take care that we don’t cheat this Colony; that we don’t in fact cheat ourselves. I think that the Coach Road may be useful; it will take some time to build a Railroad, and it will be necessary to have communication. The road might be used for Immigration purposes, and for drving cattle, but will he of no use commercially; such an idea would have suited people who lived some years ago. Speaking of commerce in which the Dominion is to take part, I do not myself believe that the Asiatic traffic will come this way; but still we must not lose sight of the idea that it may eventually be partially diverted to this route. These Resolutions do not afford practically any immediate benefit. [“Hear, hear,” from DeCosmos.] If the Colony was united to the Dominion to-morrow, there would be no immediate […]
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[…] benefit to result even from the Railway. This is one of the points on which the people may be deceived. If they imagine that with Confederation will come immediate prosperity. I shall be glad if anyone will point out how it is to come. If it were made inland it might be more beneficial to agricultural interests in a short space of time, than if commenced on the sea coast. Public works in this Colony should help to develop the resources, and one thing should he made to work with another, so as to be mutually beneficial; each should be for the benefit of the whole, and the whole for the benefit of each. Suppose a Railway were commenced tomorrow at Fraser River, how much benefit would it be? It might be some, but if these public works were made subservient to the interests of settling up the Colony, they would be more likely to be beneficial.
Hon. Mr. Carrall—Sir, I have only a few words to say, and have no intention of detaining the House at this late hour, but I must be allowed to express the satisfaction which I feel in observing a change in the sentiments of the Hon. Member for Victoria City (Mr. Helmcken), a change which does honour to his head and heart. He has begun to show some faith in the Canadian Government at last. He may be called the pattern of the distrustful party, and I augur favourably from his conversion. With regard to the local advantages of a Railway, I would point to the construction of the Intercolonial Railway Property in Halifax has gone up 40 per cent. since it was built. I fully admit the desirability and necessity of a Railway, but I cannot admit that Union cannot exist without it; look at the Union which existed for so many years between California and the Eastern States of America without a Railway. I believe that Canada, for Imperial reasons, intends to undertake the construction of this Railway. As for the length of time allowed for the commencement, I think it could not be well less than three years. I believe with the Hon. Chief Commissioner, that the work will be undertaken by a private company, under guarantee. If so, it would be hampering the Government of the Dominion to make them commence earlier. It might compel them to close with parties not in all respects eligible. It would put them in a false position. If the Colony had charge of her own Crown lands, there should be a power given to Canada to promise Crown lands in connection with the construction of the Railway. I regret that this has not been put in the Resolutions, but no doubt the omission can be remedied hereafter.
On the motion of Hon. Mr. Drake, the Committee rose, reported the passing of Clauses 5, 6, and 7, and obtained leave to sit again at one o’clock the 17th instant.
Report adopted, and Clauses 5, 6, and 7, passed.