British Columbia, Legislative Council: Debate on the Subject of Confederation with Canada (24 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 142-150.
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DEBATE ON THE SUBJECT OF CONFEDERATION WITH CANADA.
THURSDAY, 24TH March, 1870.
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On the House going into Committee of the Whole on the Confederation Resolution,
Mr. DeCosmos moved the following resolution :—” That in the opinion of this Council it is expedient, in order to foster commerce, to admit, duty free, into this Colony or some portions thereof, certain articles of foreign merchandise not produced in the Dominion or this Colony, and that provision for the admission of the same be made in the terms of Union with Canada.” In reply to a question the Hon. mover said it would be impossible to name all the articles; but a few of them might be instanced, such as tropical fruits, silks, and English dry […]
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[…] goods; he thought this the proper time to bring these matters to the attention of the Dominion Government, believing that they would listen to them. Some discussion ensued as to the mode in which the different recommendations and resolutions were to be taken up.
The Hon. Attorney-General called Hon. Members’ attention to the fact, that it had been agreed by the House that an expression of opinion on these general principles, namely, as to the protection of agriculture, of manufactures, and of commerce, should be taken, and that, as had been very properly suggested by the Member for Victoria District, a general resolution should be framed on these abstract views.
Hon. Mr. Robson —I shall offer an amendment, because I think the question of free port and protection should not be dealt with together.
Hon. Attorney-General —The proposition of the Hon. Member for Victoria District is as to what shall he admitted free; the Hon. Member for New Westminster proposes to suspend the whole tariff.
Hon. Mr. Robson —I stated one reason why I thought it not desirable to put the two together. You cannot get the control of the tariff. I say we want free trade in certain articles, and I say we must have the tariff entirely re—modelled as to these articles. My difficulty is that we were last evening discussing protection, and how far we should have the power to deal with it. I moved an amendment which was, I think, the only constitutional way of dealing with the question, and in answering certain propositions of Hon. gentlemen yesterday, I endeavoured to deal with protection, per se. I listened with interest to what fell from the Hon. Commissioner of Customs, and I do not like to set my opinion against his on matters of this kind, on which I know he is an authority, especially when I find him backed by the Hon. Attorney-General and Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works. I instanced the United States of America, and said that they are a living instance of non-separation of tariff. The Hon. Commissioner of Customs did not go so far as to say we could frame a tariff for ourselves, but that the Dominion Government would frame it for us.
Now, Sir, I say that we must not run away with any such idea. If we were allowed to have a different scheme of revenue, Newfoundland would ask the same; New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and other Provinces would all ask for exceptional tariffs, and the Federal fiscal policy would be broken up and destroyed. Depend upon it we ought not to run away with such an idea. The Dominion Government cannot admit of exceptional or differential tariffs any more than the United States can do so. Some Hon. Members say that we are not under the Organic Act, and need not be under it, unless we choose; that there is a distinction between the relations of the Provinces that were Confederated under the Act and those that may hereafter come in, and that we can change the Organic Act if we think proper. I admit that any Province not prepared to come in under the Organic Act can stay out. The Act is not binding on us now, but it will be if we go into the Dominion. I am surprised to hear some Hon. Members speaking lightly of a reciprocity treaty. Look at the single item of coal. We at present only send 18,000 tons per annum to San Francisco. I have no doubt that under a reciprocity treaty, we should supply them with 50,000 tons a year at least, to say nothing of anthracite coal. In the course of a few years, allowing time for trade to develop itself, this would bring in $900,000 or, say, one million dollars a year into the Colony.
Mr. Chairman, we are now speaking of a single item, and that, I believe, not the largest, which would bring in one million a year, and that calculation is based upon the present consumption of coal in San Francisco, and the consumption will no doubt increase. In addition to this, look at the quantity of shipping, and the cheap commodities which these ships bring in, which could hardly be brought as a measure of commerce. There are objectors to reciprocity. No doubt it would be very nice if we could open the United States ports to our goods, and close our ports to their goods. But this would not be reciprocity. There is, in my opinion, only one answer to be given. I say, give the farmers good roads, and this will be protection for them. Now, Sir, what does the development of our coal interests mean? It means extension of labour, and circulation of money. Farmers have at once a full demand for their produce. Apply the same argument to lumber. Its development would cause more money to be expended in the Colony. Every ton of coal brought to the bank, and every tree cut down, means spending of money. There, then, is another field opened up for what farmers have to sell. Give the farmers this development and good roads, and they would soon find out that reciprocity would be like the handle of a jug, on the side of British Columbia. Depend upon it we will come in under the reciprocity treaty, and the advantages will be so great on our side that it will hardly be reciprocity. Nothing can be more unfair than to suppose we are to have a free market in the United States and they have none here.
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Hon. Collector of Customs asked if Hon. Mr. Robson had any resolution to propose.
Hon. Mr. Robson said that at present he was replying to remarks that had been made by other Hon. gentlemen.
Hon. Attorney-General said that the course that the Hon. gentleman was pursuing was embarrassing, and would tend to complicate the question before the House, and proceeded to correct a statement which he understood Hon. Mr. Robson to have made as to what had fallen from the Hon. Chief Commissioner, Hon. Mr. Hamley, and himself on a previous occasion as to the right to control tariff being in the Provinces after Union.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos —Anyone who knows the history of the United States knows that if any question of dealing with the tariff law in any manner other than Federal could arise, it would be in reference to groups of States instead of single States. I say, then, that we must consider this as a group of Provinces of the Dominion. Many years will probably not elapse before we see groups of States distinguished as Pacific and Atlantic, or East and West, and North and South, in the neighbouring Republic.
Hon Mr. Robson —I rise to move a resolution. It is the same as that proposed at the Yale Convention by the Hon. Member for Victoria District, in 1867.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken and Attorney-General —What Convention? We know of no Convention.
Hon. Mr. Robson —I have a perfect right to allude to what took place at the little Parliament at Yale. I believe this to be the proper way to approach the subject. The resolution which I propose is as follows :—
“That a respectful Address be presented to His Excellency the Governor recommending that the following may be included in the conditions of the proposed terms of Union with Canada: ‘If at any time after the admission, the Legislature of British Columbia shall pass an Address to the Governor-General of Canada declaring that it is expedient to establish a free port on the Pacific in order to advance the interests of British commerce in the North Pacific, the Parliament of the Dominion to make provision for the establishment of the same.’ “
It is astonishing to find what a change has come over the Hon. Mr. DeCosmos since he changed his city seat for a rural seat. He is becoming less capable of taking a statesmanlike view of these things than he was two years ago. 1 think by providing that if the new Council shall, after due deliberation, find it desirable, that a free port shall be established in this Colony is, after all, the proper way. I cannot think that this House, with the small representative element that it has, should be asked to decide this point. I say that the tendency of the Canadian policy is in the direction of free trade. [No, no, from the Hon. Mr. DeCosmos.]
I say it is, and there is a speech of Sir G. E. Cartier recently published, in which he says that the tendency of Canadian policy is towards free trade. Now, I believe, that a great British Empire is to be established on this Continent,—the Greater Britain ; and I believe that all British manufactures will be admitted free. If Great Britain takes her true part in pushing forward this Empire, she will naturally expect some advantages; she will naturally look for some immediate financial result. Every unproductive labourer in England is a tax upon the others ; but transfer them to the Dominion and they will become producers and consumers. I believe it to be of the first importance that there should be a free port here. By a free port I do not mean that everything should necessarily be admitted free.
There is no reason why local industries, and especially agricultural interests, should not continue to enjoy substantial protection. I believe the Canadian Government will readily realize the advantages of the policy of having a free port on the Pacific. There could be no local jealousies growing out of it. The Provinces on the Atlantic could not object. Our free port would attract commerce and wealth to the nation which they could not possibly attract, and thus enrich the nation and reflexly [sic] benefit all. I maintain that while the larger advantages would be local, the general advantages would be very considerable. I was gratified in reading a leading article in the Ottawa Times, the organ of the Dominion Government, in which the theory of a free port for the Dominion on the Pacific is strongly and ably advocated ; and this article forms a complete answer to those who allege that the Canadian statesmen would never listen to any such proposition. If it should be decided that a free port would conduce to the interest of the Province and, consequently, to the interest of the Dominion, why should not we have it? Why should we object? What more glorious idea can there be than that of a British Empire extending across the Continent, with its back to the North Pole, with its face looking Southward. I will not venture to say how far ; with one foot planted on the Atlantic and the other on the Pacific, […]
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[…] stretching out one hand to Europe and the other to Asia, and inviting the commerce of both hemispheres to enter its wide open portals, free as the wind that fills the canvas. Depend upon it, Sir, if this is to be the true north-west passage, the gates must be thrown open. Let us not repel commerce, but woo it. I venture to think that the resolution which I have the honour to offer proposes to deal with the matter in the most statesmanlike way; and I trust it will commend itself to the judgment, and receive the support, of all parties in the House.
Hon. Mr. Holbrook, whilst believing that the establishment of a free port at Victoria might be beneficial to the interests of the Lower Fraser, did not think it would be for the general good of the Colony. In his opinion the agricultural interests wanted protection. For the present he must vote against the Hon. Member for New Westminster. He thought that such questions ought to be left to the Dominion Government.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos —After the very, I will not say unusual, but unexpected, remarks in reference to myself, I must crave the indulgence of the House whilst I say a few words to set myself right. Sir, I had something to do with the Yale Convention, and I am not ashamed of my connection with it; my political standard was unfurled then as it is to-day. When I first entered upon politics in this country I established a high political standard, which would take the measure of a political trickster as well as that of a statesman. There is nothing, in the conduct of the hon. member for New Westminster either here or at Yale to entitle him to the name of statesman. I say, Sir, that I am as free as I was at Yale to vote for that clause, and if it can be got into the terms I will vote for it. I brought the question up at Yale because I knew that there was a party in Victoria favourable to free port, and I wished to see the question fought out after Confederation, not before. The Hon. gentleman was defeated; he could not get the Yale Convention to endorse the retaining of the Assay Office at New Westminster, and he took his defeat very much to heart. [Hon. Mr. Robson—Untrue, untrue.]
[Hon. Mr. DeCosmos:] The Hon. Member for Yale came to me and said :—” You concede this point as to the Assay Office and I will yield the free port. We don’t want Mr. Robson to leave.” That’s how it came to be in the Yale resolutions. Since to this Colony I came, I have never swerved from protection. In the first article I wrote for a newspaper in this Colony the word “protection” occurs. I want to see the Canadian revenue laws extended here; I want to see power in the Local Government to protect the industrial interests of the Colony. I would like to know who has changed the Hon. gentleman’s opinions. I spent my time and money in getting protection. I challenged a gentleman on the floor of this House to retire, and I did retire; I hoisted the flag of protection and won.
Hon. Mr. Barnard —I wish to state that what the Hon. gentleman said was true, except that he mistook the Hon. Mr. Robson for Hon. Mr. Holbrook.
Hon. Dr.Helmcken —We are here to remedy evils likely to occur from Confederation, evils which are admitted by every member of this Council. That there is an evil even the Hon. Member for New Westminster has admitted. [Hon. Mr. Robson—No.]
[Hon. Dr.Helmcken:] The Hon. gentleman makes his net so wide that he slips through; but he said in effect that the difficulty was irremediable, and to get out of it he proposes not general free trade, but free trade in certain special articles. If the Canadian Government can agree to one they can to the other. I believe that if we show the Canadian Government that the Canadian tariff would be an evil they will find means to remove the evil. l believe a tariff fair and suitable to this Colony will be made. I believe we have gone so far right; we have resolved that our agriculture shall be protected. Now comes the question as to commerce. We want articles of commerce as cheap as possible; our trade is chiefly retail, nevertheless it is important, and should be fostered. I think that everything we can do to increase the population of this country is of importance. I therefore propose this resolution :—
“That in the opinion of this Council it is advisable that after Union foreign manufactured articles in which trade can be carried on with neighbouring countries shall be admitted into this Colony at a low nominal rate of duty, and generally the tariff should be made to suit the commercial condition of the Colony.”
I think free trade in Vancouver Island would be beneficial with protection to agriculturalists, but I do not think it desirable, except in a limited way. Does any one imagine that if free port was restored to Victoria her prosperity would return? In more early days, when she enjoyed free port, there were not the obstructions to free trade with the neighbouring country that there are at present. Now there are Custom House officers to prevent smuggling, and a great deal of illicit trade is checked. With regard to free trade: In former days we were far […]
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[…] more advanced than the people on the Sound ; to-day, on the Sound, trade has so far increased as to be almost equally as good, and I am told you can buy goods almost as cheaply as in Victoria, so I do not believe free port would restore our pristine prosperity. Under free trade it is supposed that large stocks of goods will come by Panama. or by long sea route. But look at the altered condition of things resulting from the Pacific Railway, and the railway to Columbia River, and probably on to Puget Sound. Do you imagine anyone will send large stocks of goods to lie here? and will not people telegraph for whatever they may require, and bring them across the continent by railway?
I say that the same prosperity and trade that we enjoyed before would not come back. We are told that when the railway is made Asiatic trade will come across, but I doubt the railway being made in our time, and, if it is, ships will go wherever the railway terminus is and that will not be here. It would be an advantage to have some articles free, silks, tric tracs, &c. Make Victoria the Paris of the Coast and we may do something. And this brings me to the observation of my Hon. friend on my right, that more frequent steam communication with the Sound would be productive of much good to trade. What I want to say is that the persons going to negotiate these terms ought to be able to state that this Colony requires restrictions in the tariff. I do not intend to be factious, but I do intend to show to the Canadian Government what we consider best for this country, and that without certain terms we believe Confederation will be bad. What use is it to attempt to deceive Canada? She knows what is being done, and if not, there are those here who would tell her. It is our duty to show the Canadian Government that there are things we desire. Of what use is the country to Canada unless it is populated? She wants people, not terms. We must show what will be the advantages of Confederation. If the tariff of the Dominion must come here it will be unsuitable to us—an admitted evil. If this cannot be remedied, Confederation is likely to be put off for years. I merely mean to elicit the feeling of this House on the subject of whether we can take off certain duties. If commerce can be protected in the way we desire, as we shall see when the persons who go to arrange the terms come back, then it will be no use to oppose Confederation. If the evil is still to exist, then there will be opposition.
Hon. Dr. Carrall —I shall vote against the Resolution. With regard to free port, I do not say 1 am opposed to it or in favour of it ; but I do say that the Canadians will say if we pass this Resolution, “What kind of people are these that passed a Resolution yesterday in favour of protection, and to-day desire free port?” The Hon. Member for Victoria City proved forcibly, I will not say conclusively, that free port would not be beneficial. His reasoning is consistent ; and it is eminently characteristic of the honourable gentleman.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken —I desire to explain the terms of my Resolution—the latter part. If the Canadian tariff rules our farmers are ruined.
Hon. Dr. Carrall —Vancouver Island can never be an agricultural country.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken —Bring the Canadian tariff here and you take away protection and tax the farmers for all they consume.
Hon. Commissioner of Customs —A free port is an impossibility. unless the English Parliament repeal the Act of Union. This Act enacts that British Columbia tariff laws shall prevail.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken —I believe a free port could be carried on if, you could wall in an acre or two of this city. and not do any injury to manufacturing interests, or any other interests. I mean to say that upon that acre people might expose their goods—make it one large bonded warehouse.
Hon. Dr. Carrall —We have heard of the pernicious effects in prospective of the Canadian tariff. I maintain that it will protect the principal, that is the pastoral, interests better than what is proposed by some honourable members. The admission of cereals free will be counterbalanced by the additional protection afforded to the farmers’ horses and cattle, and the cheaper rate for goods.
Hon. Attorney—General —I wished to gather the opinion of the House before expressing my opinion on this question. I regret much, and am sure that this House will join me in a feeling of regret. that my honourable colleague, the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, is, unfortunately, absent from his place on account of indisposition, for I am aware that this is a subject to which he has given much consideration, and I would have been glad that the House should have had the benefit of his opinion on this very serious question, for it is […]
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[…] impossible to approach the subject without feeling its vital importance; and I think it would tax our united will and energy to their utmost limits, if we had the power to frame a tariff which would be suitable; therefore, I see, wisely, in all the Resolutions a wide generality.
Upon this question of tariff we must especially avoid attempting to commit the Dominion Government to any fixed principle. The tariff cannot be part of the terms, but it is, undoubtedly, a matter of consideration to be urged on the Canadian Government. Though we have assented to the Organic Act. we have not shut ourselves out from going to the Dominion Parliament to ask for remedies which they can give to us, and to ask them to find a remedy which will make Confederation acceptable to this Colony. Therefore. I think, with the Honourable Chief Commissioner, that one general Resolution upon this subject, after dealing with. the three separate Resolutions or abstract principles, may, with advantage, be passed by this House. I think also, with that honourable gentleman, Mr. Chairman, that Canadian statesmen who will have to deal with this matter. will do so with wisdom. They, in considering the terms when other Provinces have entered the Confederation, must have experienced some of these difficulties which now come to us for the first time. No doubt many honourable members of this House have given great consideration to this question. yet I think that Canadian experience will help us. Much has been said on free port—much for and against. My own tendencies, since first I had a seat on this floor, in another Assembly, have been in favour of free port. I voted for it then, but I feel that I am obliged to vote against it now. The Imperial Government will not sanction anything which is in effect a differential duty in the same tariff; but this is distinct from the question of a separate tariff for British Columbia. Other considerations will naturally strike Canada, and I think if free port was made a sine qua non she would refuse Confederation altogether. as she would not like to run the risk of entering into difficulties and disputes of a fiscal character with her great and powerful neighbour. which might possibly arise out of smuggling.
Another difficulty in dealing with this matter that we have to encounter is, that we have information that a reconstruction of the Canadian tariff is at present going on, and there is some chance of a reciprocity treaty being arranged, therefore we cannot put forward any fixed principles. The main objections of the Dominion to a separate tariff, it strikes me, will be found to be: first, that they are afraid of infringing principle: and, second, the formation of a precedent for a special tariff, which might cause Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and other Provinces to ask for special tariffs to suit their particular circumstances, and to avoid the inconvenience of possible hostile tariffs. There are certainly many plausible reasons to be found in favour of a special tariff for British Columbia. Such as the difficulty of communication. The want of either road or railway, and the security against smuggling into Canada. But the probability is, that protection to commerce would be secured by the reconstruction of the Canadian tariff, and I regard the framing of a tariff now which would apply satisfactorily to our altered circumstances, under such a thorough change as Confederation would bring, a matter of impossibility. Formerly, when there was a free port at Victoria, it was always in danger, and the Hon. Senior Member for Victoria City, then the Speaker of the Vancouver Island House of Assembly, was always afraid of every little impost on stock or produce lest it should infringe upon the principle of free trade. and at last it was so loaded with dues and charges that before the Union the principle of free port was destroyed.
But I see no reason why, when we are going into a partnership, we should not arrange the best terms we can; and I think that the differences could be altered in favour of this Colony, and in favour of Confederation generally. We have no power ourselves; that is the reason this question is not brought up in the terms. We must see what effect Union will have on this Colony first; we must see how the thing works before we decide finally. At the same time. we must take care that we protect such important interests as agriculture and commerce from haste or injurious delay. I will, therefore, as soon as the terms are settled. propose a resolution which will meet this difficulty and give time to see what change, if any, the country may require. In sending our resolutions to the Canadian Government, we must not suppose that we have exhausted the subject. Many points must arise when the Canadian Commissioners come here, or ours go there—if the matter take that turn; but we should be careful not to overload the terms, lest we should endanger the cause of Confederation altogether. We must have some faith in the Dominion Government—in Canada and Canadian statesmen.
We must not forget that their own interests would be ours. I say nothing with regard to the latter part of the resolution of the Hon. Member for Victoria […]
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[…] City, except that it does not accord with his usual statesmanlike views. I shall offer no opposition to the latter part of the resolution of the Hon. Member, but I cannot support the whole. If anyone will move an amendment to leave out the latter part, I will support it.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos—We have three propositions now before the House—my own, and those of the Hon. Members for Victoria and New Westminster. The former divides the subject. I think they would both act judiciously if they withdrew the question of free port.
Hon. Dr. Carrall moved an amendment to strike out the latter part of the resolution of the Hon. Member for Victoria.
Hon. Mr. Ring suggested that the amendment should be deferred. These amendments so qualify the general principles that I must decline voting for any one of them.
Hon. Mr. Wood —Sir, I do not intend to express my opinion on free trade or protection, but I intend to vote; and I think my Hon. friend (Mr. Ring) might consider that he is not. pledged to any particular course by his vote. I give my vote in order that the question may he brought before the Canadian Government, and ultimately before the people of this Colony.
Hon. Mr. Ring —I have great respect for the opinion of the Hon. and learned gentleman; but the resolution of the Hon. Member for New Westminster pledges us to the Organic Act, which I decline to endorse. We are entitled to our own free port and to the regulation of our own tariff.
Hon. Mr. Robson — I hope the Hon. Member will remain while I set him right. My resolution only asks that a Representative Council here, after due deliberation, shall have power to decide upon this question. I consider that the name of free port is attractive; this, under the resolution of the Hon. Member for Victoria District, we should lose. We must not regard the Canadian tariff entirely unprotective. It is wrong. it is untrue, to state that the Canadian tariff is such a great evil, and I maintain that it would not he an evil, but an actual good; but that is no reason we should not seek to make it a greater good.
The Clerk read the resolution of Hon. DeCosmos, the amendment of Hon. Robson, the amendment of Hon. Dr. Helmcken, and the amendment of Hon. Dr. Carrall.
By the leave of the Committee, the amendment of the Hon. Mr. Robson was withdrawn, in order that it might be brought up as a substantive motion.
On a division, the motion of Hon. Dr. Carrall was carried, and the original resolution of Mr. DeCosmos was lost.
The Hon. Mr. Robson then moved his resolution, to which the Hon. Mr. Humphrey’s moved an amendment,
Amendment and resolution were lost.
Hon. Mr. Drake —Sir, I rise to more this resolution on Excise :—
“That in the opinion of this Council, the duties of excise levied upon maltsters and brewers under the Excise Laws of Canada would be detrimental if made applicable to British Columbia, and that His Excellency he requested to take such steps as he may deem advisable for the interest of this Colony, and further to take care that no export duties shall be charged on spars exported from British Columbia.”
And I would remark, in doing so, that excise as levied under the Canadian system, is very hoary indeed; there is duty. licence, and excise. The result would he to the brewing interests. in all probability, total extinction; for on an increasing trade the duty would he so high as to check trade in this direction. The other part of the resolution is in respect to logs, the duty on which is $1 per thousand on saw-legs; but whether a spur or a mast, it is regarded still as a log. Thus the Canadian tariff would seriously interfere with our industry, and interfere with getting out masks and spars.
Hon. Dr. Carrall —I think the Hon. and learned Member for Victoria City is under a misapprehension when he includes spurs with logs. If “logs” refers simply to saw-logs, I cannot see that the spar business would be affected.
Hon. Attorney General —I must confess, Sir, that I do not see the object of this clause, I don’t think there is any need for alarm. I have lived for some years in Canada, and when I think of the Canadian statesmen. who will look at British Columbia without regard to party politics such men, for instance, Sir J, A, Macdonald, Sir Francis Hincks, Sir A. T. Galt, Mr. George Brown. and the various statesmen accustomed to deal with these things—I feel confident that we are safe in their hands; therefore, I hope that the Hon, and learned Member will not imagine that, in voting against this motion, we are voting against the interests he so properly wishes to protect.
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Hon. Mr. Ring —The Hon. Attorney-General seems to think that these honourable men may live forever. He forgets that in the progress of time other men will take the lead in public affairs.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken —It is a most important question. The Canadian Government ought to know what we think of it. The brewing interest would disappear, and it is large in proportion to our population, and to ruin it would be doing an injury. I hope the Hon. Attorney-General will withdraw his opposition and let this recommendation go with the others to the Governor, that he may forward it with them to the Canadian Government. At the time the Organic Act was made it related to contiguous Provinces. The Hon. Attorney-General says they may not put it in force here for ten, twenty, or thirty years. Granted, but it may also he put in force immediately. I say, then, let the Canadian Government he made aware that the application of the excise laws to this Colony will be detrimental to its interests.
Hon. Dr. Carrall —I think the Hon, Member loses sight of one fact He is terribly afraid of the Canadian tariff, but he loses sight of the fact that barley comes in duty free. I believe the whole system will be carefully revised, and it is absurd to hamper the terms of the resolution for such a petty question.
Hon. Mr. Drake —1n reply, I think our duty in coming here is to protect the interests of the Colony. We ask the Dominion Government to consider these things. We do not insist on terms being inserted. I do not ask for this only; I desire to draw the attention of the Canadian Government to these interests that they may not be overlooked. As to these interests being petty and small, that is our misfortune; but let us not lose sight of them for that reason. As for Americans coming here to cut down our legs, I say let them come. If I can alter my resolution to suit the Attorney-General, I will do it.
Hon. Attorney-General —If I thought the interests of the Colony would suffer, I would consent to bring the subject before the Canadian Government, but I think we have nothing to fear.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken —If you ruin the brewing interest, you inflict much harm in other ways Brewers consume one million pounds of barley yearly. This is 700 acres of land which must be cultivated. To ruin this will throw out of employment at large number of people and close up our breweries.
Hon. Mr. DeCosmos —I see no objection to sending this up, but not to make it a sine qua non. I believe the Canadian Government will protect all these interests. Brewing is not of sufficient magnitude to kill Confederation.
Hon. Mr. Robson —I must oppose it logs are left in. l think it may be our duty to protect spars and logs.
Hon. Mr. Drake —Then I will strike out logs and leave spars.
The Clerk then read Hon. Mr. Drake’s motion, as altered. Carried.
Hon. Dr. Helmcken — There are other things to he considered.
Hon. Attorney-General —I think it is now competent for me to more the resolution proposed by the Hon. Chief Commissioner.
Hon. Mr. Robson —It is intended that this shall swamp all the others?
Hon. Attorney General —No; it relates only to tariff :—
“Resolved, That this Council respectfully represent to I is Excellency the Governor that, in negotiating the terms of union of British Columbia with Canada, it is of the first importance to point out to the Government of the Dominion that the circumstances of this Colony are in many respects so different from those of the Eastern Provinces that the application of the present Canadian Tariff to this Colony, while reducing the aggregate burden of taxation, would injuriously affect the agricultural and commercial interests of this community, and that it he therefore urgently impressed upon that Government that it is absolutely necessary to our wellbeing under Confederation that special rates of Customs duties and special Customs regulations be arranged for this Colony in such name’ as may be found practically most advisable, so as to secure, while our requirements in this respect remain as at present, an equal measure of protection to our agricultural products and of facility to commerce, as are provided under the existing British Columbia Tariff.”
The resolution was carried unanimously.
The original motion of the Hon. Mr. DeCosmos, on the Orders of the Day, was read, and by leave withdrawn.
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Hon. Mr. Drake’s motion was also withdrawn.
Hon. Mr. Holbrook’s motion was put and lost.
Hon. Mr. Robson’s motion was put and lost.
Hon. Mr. Humphreys moved :—
“That in the consideration of the subsidies to be given by Canada to this Colony, due weight shall be given to the advisability of abolishing the present road tolls on the Yale- Cariboo road, and also to make provision for funds to keep the same in repair.”
I put this in consequence of the suggestions thrown out by the Hon. Chief Commissioner. I think these road tolls have done more towards making bankrupts than any over-trading. They are main trunk roads, and I think they ought to be kept up by the Dominion Government.
Hon. Attorney-General —I am not aware that that is the result of a suggestion of the Hon. Chief Commissioner, I am aware of his views, and I believe he has doubts as to whether roads can he maintained by a Government so far removed as Canada.
Hon. Mr. Barnard —I would suggest that this be laid over till the Hon. Chief Commissioner be here
Hon. Attorney-General —The Hon. Chief Commissioner would not object to any conclusion of the House on this matter, But I caution Hon. Members not, by the addition of these suggestions, so to overload the resolutions as to break down the whole of them
Hon. Mr. Barnard —I move that the Committee rise and report progress, in order that the matter may he laid over until the Hon. Chief Commissioner is in his place.
Committee rose and reported progress.