New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Mr. Fisher’s Resolution for the Appointment of Delegates] (28 June 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 33-41.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Thursday, June 28.
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CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON MR. FISHER’S RESOLUTION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF DELEGATES.
Mr. Tilley resumed.—I feel that I am trespassing upon the patience of this House in continuing my remarks upon this resolution, for it is well known that thirty-three of the members of this House have been elected in favour of the principles of this resolution now on the table, and some of the remaining eight for Union but against the Quebec Scheme. My hon. friend (Mr. Smith) has taken exception to a great many of the provisions of the Quebec Scheme, therefore I feel myself called upon to occupy the attention of the House for a short time in discussing this question, but before taking up the principle points in the objections, I desire to reiterate the financial statement made yesterday, because it has been stated it was imaginary and there was nothing real in it. In the first place can there be any doubt about our being relieved from paying $420,000 annually, that being the interest of our debt of $7,000,000! Can there be any doubt about the construction of the Intercolonial Railway that under the arrangement of 1862 we would have to pay 3 1/2 twelfths, whereas if we go into Union we will have to pay but one-thirteenth? Can there be any doubt but that the salaries of the Governor and Judges and the expenses of the collection and protection of the revenue will be paid by the General Government. The deficiency in the Post Office will be paid by the General Government, although it may be that there will be a charge upon newspapers the same as in Canada. My hon. friend (Mr. Smith) has not spoken upon these points because he knows that they are unanswerable. If he had had a leg to stand upon he would have used the same arguments here that he formerly used in addressing his constituents. The very fact that he himself has given adhesion to Union upon some terms has taken away a great deal of the arguments which he used twelve months ago. I have just been informed by the Postmaster General that there is now a proposition before the Canadian Legislature to do away with the postage on newspapers. ( Mr. Smith—very opporture.) There are many opportune circumstances which have convinced the public mind of the advantages of Union, while the late Government have not been favored by Providential circumstances or anything else. Let us look at some of the points which the late Attorney General considers objectionable. He says we have not a sufficient number of representatives in the upper branch of the Legislature. There might be some concessions made to us in this. When the arrangement was made, and representation by population was conceded, it was considered that there was a great protection given to the Maritime Provinces, for New Brunswick was to have one representative for every 25,000 of her population, Lower Canada one to every 50,000, and Upper Canada one to every 75,000. That was twenty-four representatives for Upper and twenty-four for Lower Canada, and twenty-four for the Maritime Provinces, and Newfoundland was to have four. In every case the interests of the Maritime Provinces are nearly identical, and there is scarcely an important question that can come up in which Lower Canada would not be with us. It has been said that Upper Canada wishes to buy the North West Territory, suppose such a question came up, and a majority of the people’s representatives were in favor of the measure. It would still have to pass the Upper House, and twenty-four representatives of Upper Canada would vote for it, and the other fifty-two members against it. Is there not some protection in this? Again there is a protection in the fact that the number of representatives in the Upper Branch cannot be increased by the Crown. Suppose we had not that protection, the Government could come to the Upper Branch and say, unless you pass this Act we will increase your numbers and force it through. There were some remarks made in reference to the residence of the Legislative Councillors. The sixteenth paragraph, in reference to Lower Canada, says:
Each of the twenty-four Legislative Councillors representing Lower Canada in the Legislative Council of the General Legislature, shall be appointed to […]
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[…] represent one of the twenty-four Electoral Divisions mentioned in Schedule A of chapter first of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, and such Councillor shall reside or possess his qualification in the Division he is appointed to represent.
This paragraph was proposed. by the Lower Canadians, because there they have electoral districts for the Upper Branch, and their law requires that they should possess property and be residents of their several districts. I am quite sure that the delegates will see that the Scheme is amended so that the representatives in the Upper Branch will be required to live and have their property qualification in the Province, although I do not think the evil would be so great as the late Attorney General has represented it. He says they would go to Ottawa to reside, and thus become representatives for Canada, and we may look for the same result here as has been produced in Ireland, in consequence of the Irish going to London. Do they go from Maine, Massachusetts or Rhode Island and settle in Washington because it is the seat of Government? He (Mr. Smith) having himself gone for Union should not point this out as an objection. He objects to representation by population. I was surprised to hear him take exception to that, for he was prepared even to go for that during the last session of this House. ( Mr. Smith—It is no such thing ) He admitted that no Union could be had if two principles were not affirmed, they were representation by population and a Federal Government, and his language conveyed no other idea but that he would go for Union, provided there were sufficient checks.
Mr. Smith.—I stated distinctly that I never would go for the principle of representation by population unless neutralized by some checks in the scheme.
Hon. Mr. Wilmot.—I understood him to say that he would not go for it unless there were some checks in the Legislative Council.
Mr. Smith.—I did not say that.
Hon. Mr. Tilley.—I should like to know how he is going to neutralize it except by checks in the Upper House. He says the revenues collected in the different Provinces should be for the benefit of each Province when collected, except a certain amount to be givin [sic] for the support of the General Government. That objection might emanate from a gentleman who had just come into political life, but any person who knows anything would know that it never could be acted upon. If New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are to be the frontage of a great back country they will collect all the import duties, and Canada would never consent that we should take all the duties on imports collected on articles consumed in Canada, therefore not one check can be had except in the Legislative Council, and we thought that was secured No arrangement can be made except upon the principle of representation by population. Have we heard any objection to representation by population on the floors of this House. The members for King’s asked for an increase of representation because the population of their county is greater than the population of some other Counties, but you never saw the members for Queen’s rising and saying, because Westmorland had four members Queen’s should have four Governments generally try to do justice to all parties in order to hold on to their power, for they know that members will come out in opposition if they do not. In this Union let any injustice be perceived and no Government that permits it will be able to stand, for a very few members going into the Opposition can generally oust a Government, and in this lies our safety. It has been said that all the Provinces should have equal representation in the Upper House. ( Mr. Smith.—How is it in the United States.) The Senate in the States is an Executive power, and is altogether different from ours. They are in a position to exercise executive functions, therefore in their executive position it is necessary for each State to have an equal representation. Their is no appointment, even to a subordinate in the army, but has to go to the Senate and be ratified by them. We now come to another objection, and considering the long time the hon. member had to consider the scheme: the time he has devoted to it, and the number of addresses he has delivered upon the subject, and we admit that he has great ability, but his ability lies in taking to pieces rather than constructing; he is an admirable member of the Opposition, but as a member of the Government he is not so successful. After fifteen months study of the subject, he has come to the House and presented his objections to the Scheme, and they amount to very little. The mountain has brought forth but a mouse. He objects to the General Government and the local Legislatures each having power to legislate on the same subjects, for instance on the seacoast and inland fisheries, immigration and agriculture. And he says the same power being given to each Government there would be no right of appeal at all. It was desirable that the seacoast fisheries should be under the direction of the General Government, because the cost of protecting them should be borne by the General Government, but the local Governments should have the power to make laws for the fisheries in the rivers of their respective Provinces. If, however, any one of the local Governments do not make laws sufficient to protect the fisheries in the rivers, where all this wealth originates, it was considered expedient that the General Government should have power to enact laws to protect them. Again: it was thought necessary that there should be an Agricultural Bureau for the General Government, and the local Governments should control and regulate their own Agricultural Societies. Then it was thought necessary for the General Government to have the control of immigration, while, at the same time, it was desirable that the local Governments should have the power of arranging the locality of the immigrants, therefore this power was given to both. The forty-fifth paragraph says:
In regard to all subjects over which jurisdiction belongs to both the General and Local Legislatures, the laws of the General Parliament shall control and supersede those made by the Local Legislature, and the latter shall be void so far as they are repugnant to or consistent with the former.
This was prepared for the purpose of protecting the Fisheries, so that if the laws were not sufficient to secure the origin of the great wealth of the country, the General Government could enact laws for that purpose. The next objection is to this paragraph.
All such works as shall, although lying wholly within any Province, be specially declared by the Acts authorizing them to be to the general advantage.
This produced considerable discussion at the Conference, and a decision was arrived at different from this, but the subject was reconsidered upon the motion of the present Attorney General because we found that New Brunswick would get more benefit from it as it is, then if it was put in a different way. Then in regard to beacons, buoys and lighthouses. we now collect this money and expend it among ourselves, and it is charged upon the shipping. In the Union you do not suppose the General Parliament will charge the shipping with anything more than is necessary for this purpose; if they brought forward a measure for that purpose Lower Canada would go against it as well as the Maratime [sic] Provinces. There might be a law passed by our combined influence to place this expense upon the General Government, as it is in the United States. He (Mr. Smith) also takes exception to the 37th section.
“And generally respecting all matters […]
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[…] of a general character, not specially and exclusively reserved for the local governments and legislatures.”
There can be no reasonable objection taken to this. We had the experience of the United States before us, and had seen the working of their constitution. We had seen the difficulties that had arisen and the clashing of interests that had taken place between Congress and the State Governments. The people had delegated a portion of their power to the State Legislature, another portion to Congress, and certain powers remained to the people themselves; the States claiming certain rights which they did not possess in the Constitution, and this led to the United States war. The hon. gentleman (Mr Smith) has expressed himself in favour of a Legislative instead of a Federal Union. Then how can he object to this power being given to the General Government, for much more power would be given them under a Legislative Union. He has spoken of this Legislature becoming a mere corporation, with but limited powers, but under a Legislative Union all these towns and counties would be municipalities, but they would have powers given them which would be clearly defined. St. John has certain corporate powers given to it, but there is no clashing with ours. He says that when Acts are passed by each Government which conflict there is no power to appeal to. Does not the Scheme say that the laws of the General Parliament shall control and supersede those made by the Local Legislature. Suppose they attempted to interfere with the rights and privileges of the Local Legislature, the Local Government would at once appeal to the Imperial Government, and say, the General Parliament have exceeded their powers and ask them to interfere. This is the protection in this matter. Then he says we have to send the Bills we pass here to a political body for their approval. Do we not send them to a political body when we send them to the British Government, and no difficulties occur. Can it be supposed that more difficulties will arise in getting the assent of the General Parliament to our Bills, when we have representatives there who will make and unmake Governments, than will arise in the Imperial Government where we have no direct voice in the matter. He takes exception to this:
- Until the consolidation of the laws of Upper Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, the judges at these Provinces appointed by the general Government shall be selected from their respective bars.
- The Judges of the Court of Lower Canada shall be selected from the Bar of Lower Canada.
He says this implies that Judges might be selected from other Bars in any of the other Provinces. I ask legal men if they do not consider it an advantage for gentlemen to be taken from the Bar of New Brunswick to be made Judges in Nova Scotia, and vice versa. Cases have occurred here where there was only one Judge on the Bench who was not interested in the matter. It was put down as one of the most desirable propositions that could be made, for it secures Judges who have no local interests or political bias in the Province to which they are appointed. Is it to be said that the members of the profession in New Brunswick are to be confined simply to New Brunswick. If you can put them in a better position they have a right to it. But this cannot take place unless our laws are assimilated. If our laws are different from those of Canada and Nova Scotia there would be a difficulty in having Judges appointed from other parts to decide upon laws they are not conversant with. The Judges of Lower Canada have to be selected from the bar of Lower Canada, for they are under a code of Laws secured to them at the time of Union and they will not change it. The French language being used there it was the wish of the Lower Canadians that they should be selected from Lower Canada. He then objects to the way in which the basis of representation by population was arranged. The basis made was that Lower Canada was to have sixty-five members upon which there should be no increase. That was to prevent the number of representatives increasing in the General Parliament. There is to be one representative for every 17,000 of the population. If the population of Lower Canada increases so that she will have but one representative for every 20,000 of her population, none of the other Provinces can get any increase unless they have 20,000 in addition to her average of 20,000.
Mr. Smith—Suppose you increase the representation thirty per cent., does not that give Canada a larger majority? There is a provision that the number of members may at any time be increased by the General Parliament.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—If that would be for the benefit of Upper Canada alone the representatives for Lower Canada and the Maritime Provinces would not support it, and it could not be carried. Then again, Railway stock shall be the property of the General Government. Our Railway yields but three-fourths per cent., while the Railways of Canada, combined with the Canals, yields them one and a quarter per cent. The hon. member says that there is no protection that the different Provinces will receive this eighty cents per head which is to be secured to them by an annual grand of the General Parliament, for he says they may incur liabilities, and this eighty cents per head might not be left for the Local Governments. This might be made a first charge upon the revenues of the country. Do you imagine that a Parliament representing the Provinces, the population of which are to get this eighty cents a head, would vote away the money that was to be appropriated for that purpose. Again, all engagements that may before the Union be entered into with the Imperial Government for the defence of the country, shall be assumed by the General Government. We will have to pay some $105,000 for the defence of New Brunswick during the late danger of a Fenian raid. In regard to the opening up of the North West Territory, there have been no arrangements made. The Hudson Bay Company have bought that territory, and have £500,000 worth of property there, and those people will contribute not to the revenue of Canada, but to the revenue of the Union. He says that after communicating with Mr. Galt, he was satisfied that there could be little or no change made in the Quebec Scheme. I entertain a different view. I would have been willing to go into Union upon the terms named, but a large number of the people of New Brunswick think we should have a better scheme, and I am willing and anxious that we should get the best terms we can. He says that after a conversation he had with Mr. Galt and Mr. Howland at Washington, he came to the conclusion that no changes could be made. Then I claim him an advocate for the Quebec Scheme. How was it that after he came back he had a conference with His Excellency and agreed to go into Union.
Mr. Smith—I told His Excellency that I was opposed to the Quebec Scheme. The correspondence explains how far I was in favour of Union, and I never committed myself to any Scheme.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—I will read from the Debates:
We also discussed the question as to whether it had better be a joint committee of both Houses or separate committees of each. He told |me at one of our interviews that he thought he would go to Canada. When I saw him again, I think the next day, I asked him it he had determined to go to Canada; he replied that he had, and asked me what objections I had to the Quebec Scheme, and said that he would try and ascertain when there what modifications they would make. He rose and took the Journals of 1865, containing the Scheme, and I proceeded to enumerate the following as some of the objections, viz:
- Representation by Population.
- That each Province should have an equal number of Legislative Councillors.
- That the Lower Provinces should be exempt from taxation for the Canals of […]
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[…] Upper Canada, and for the purchase money and other expenditures connected with the North West Territory.
- That the Revenues collected in the different Provinces should be for the benefit of each Province when collected, except a certain amount to be given for the support of the General Government.
Here was an understanding had with His Excellency immediately after his return from Washington. When His Excellency put the acceptance of Mr. Wilmot’s resignation on the grounds of Union, he (Mr. Smith) told him that he would go and consult his friends and colleagues upon the question of Union.
Mr. Smith.—I never was to consult my friends with regard to Union. I was to consult my friends as to whether they would consent that a Select Committee should be appointed to take the subject into consideration after the despatches had been laid before the House. They were to take the whole subject into consideration, and make such suggestions as they thought proper. I stated distinctly in the House that we had no Union policy to submit to the House. This the Governor knew well, and so did every member of the House.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—I think if you were to poll the country North and South on this question of whether the late Attorney General had committed himself to Union or not, there would not be one in fifty but would say that he had.
Mr. Smith—That impression has been created by speeches which have been made not founded on fact.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—I will take the Speech and the Address in answer to the Speech as evidence.
Mr. Smith—The Government in preparing that Speech did not commit themselves to Union. The Governor wanted us to put in something that would have committed us, but we did not. The Governor did not pretend to say that we were committed to Union.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—Then we have no constitution in this country. It is the opinion of every one who knows anything about Responsible Government that they were committed to Union. Some years ago the Governor had a despatch from the Colonial Office which he wished referred to in the Speech. The Government objected to refer to it, because it would make them responsible, and they waited upon His Excellency, and had it struck out. This Union was also referred to in the Address in answer to the Speech, which was moved by Mr. Boyd, a representative from Charlotte. In that it is stated that any measure for Union submitted to the House should receive attention.
Mr. Smith—It is not any measure submitted to the House. It is any measure that should be proposed. I want the Secretary, when he quotes from these records, to read them.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—Is there any difference whether they used the word propose or submit? The way they dealt with the subject was enough to destroy any Government. To throw the question upon a Committee with the understanding that they should report favorably when the hon. and learned member would be in a position to brow-beat every member.
Mr. Smith—I will not take such insinuations, for they are false. That language is unparliamentary. I have ever treated this House in a respectful manner.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—If what he says was correct that at Washington he was told by members of the Canadian Government that no important change could be made in the Scheme, what position would he occupy entering into a negotiation for a change, when he was told no change could be made? I do not want to create any ill-feeling, but I want to put the matter just as I understand it. Was it treating His Excellency with candour to negotiate for changes when he knew those changes could not be made. I think they can be made. When I read the correspondence relative to the resignation of Mr. Wilmot, I felt the blood rushing to my cheek to hear his motives impugned—to hear them say that they never heard him say anything about Union until he went to Canada. But to come down further in Mr. Smith’s speech. He says:
The Council met at Fredericton about the third of March. His Excellency in the meantime had returned from Canada. He told me that he had seen Lord Monck and some of the members of the Canadian Government, and he said he thought they would be willing to make concessions.
This was after Mr. Smith had been told that no concessions would be made. Therefore there is some chance of getting concessions. I have taken up every objection referred to by the ex-Attorney General. I have taken up the finances and shown that in Union with a uniform tariff New Brunswick will not pay more, if not as much, duties as other parts of British North America, because we do not consume as many dutiable goods. It will give us more money for local purposes. It will secure the construction of the Intercolonial Railway. $9,000,000 of the money necessary to build this Railway will be expended in New Brunswick thereby developing the resources of the country. It gives us $1,400,000 for Railway Extension, without costing us a cent more than we paid in 1864. It was these facts known by the great bulk of the people that caused them to go for Confederation. If the population of Kent Westmorland, and Gloucester had been a reading people, we would not have had the pleasure of seeing some of the hon. gentlemen who represent those Counties, here in opposition to the Government. They have been returned because the French do not read as much as the English population. The press does not have the same influence upon them, and public opinion does not reach them.
The late Attorney General comes here and appeals to the House upon this question, and tells the members that if they invest so much power in the delegates they cannot go back to their constituents and say they have done their duty. I doubt whether the leader of the Opposition—the great anti-Confederate, now a Unionist, can lead them astray. There are a thousand reasons why he should not, although he has made some suggestions which may be acted upon. The country has declared against him both with reference to his administration of the Government, and with reference to his policy on this question. A more inconsistent politician does not live in New Brunswick. When he was in the Government of which I was a member we constructed a railway but when he went out of the Government there was not a man who denounced his own act with as much power and force as he did. When a proposition was before the House to provide for the extension of our railways, he opposed it, and said £200 a day was sent out of the Province as interest, and the country could not bear it; but now he says build these extensions and our railway will pay six cent. His vote is recorded against the Subsidy Act, but he has put those extensions through and even in one respect exceeded the authority given him by law. He brought in an Act to appropriate $10,000 for Military purposes when he was in the Government, and when out of it he voted that that money should not be appropriated for that purpose, but should be given to the bye-roads. The next year he comes in and asks for $30,000, for military purposes, and is there not a letter published in which he tells us that after Union with Canada we will have to keep up an army and navy, and yet he came down to the House when a member of the Government and asked for a navy. He is now a Unionist, although a short time ago he was against any Union with the Canadas. Great as may be his abilities he is more successful when he is seeking to break down, than when he is endeavoring to build up. He is endeavouring to delay this question with the hope that something might possibly grow out of the delay.
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Mr. Smith—Is the thing in that state that it cannot stand the delay of a few hours.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—The proposition is not for a delay of a few hours but for a delay which will render it impossible for that Act to come into the present Imperial Parliament. The object of the proposition is that it shall come back and be confirmed by the people before it goes to Parliament, with the hope that a European war,.or a change of ministry might delay or defeat it, or that it might come into other hands to carry it out, so that it could be moulded and shaped to suit the purposes of those who are now in the Opposition.
Mr. Smith—Do you expect the Government will break down?
Hon. Mr. Tilley—We do not. If we were to act as the late Government acted we would soon break down. We have made up our minds that when changes are to be made we will make them. I will not say as my hon. and learned friend said to me after we were defeated—”Tilley we have got you by the hair of the head for four years,” for I do not consider it a party victory, but a national one.
Mr. Smith—If any man says anything in a joke is it to be brought up in a serious debate. I have no recollection of making this remark at all. If I did he must have understood it to be in a joke.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—I was not speaking of it seriously. He asked me if I was afraid the Government would break down, and that remark brought it up. We are not going to make it a personal conflict, for it is a national question, inasmuch as the people of this country have felt that their connection with the British Empire depended upon this question. Canada is for it, and Nova Scotia is for it, and this brings to my mind a statement made by the ex-Attorney General that there was hope for them yet, and the hope was that the Imperial Parliament, when Mr. Howe appears before them, will not consent to pass this Scheme. Whatever may be said in reference to the policy of Canada in this matter, I should like to know from him if, when he was in England, he heard any expression of dissatisfaction on the part of the British Government that it had passed through the Canadian Legislature without being left for the approval of the people. Did Mr. Cardwell say it could not be passed in the Imperial Parliament until the people of Upper Canada had passed upon it. Whatever may be the policy in Nova Scotia in regard to the question, it is perfectly constitutional. I have no doubt of the course the Imperial Parliament will pursue, even though Mr. Howe present all the arguments of which he is capable. It was thought a majority of the people of this country that if they did not go into Confederation Annexation would follow. Those who have been engaged in negotiating for the extension of the trade of British North America, know that peculiar difficulties exist when negotiating out of Union, compared with the facilities which would exist in negotiating when united. It has been said that the Reciprocity Treaty could not be renewed with the United States, because a large portion of the members of Congress and members of the Senate thought it was only necessary to cripple the trade of British North America to bring about Annexation. Will we not let them know that we are for Union, and that our intention is to increase the power of the British Government. We are not as likely to have difficulty with the Fenians as if we had gone against Union, because if we had gone against Union, the opinion of the people of the United States would have been that we were in favor of annexation, and we would have had hordes of men down here, and had difficulties which will not now exist, because the moral effect of this Union is, that both the whole power of the British Government and the whole force of the nation will be put forth to maintain our integrity. The people have spoken emphatically that they desire this Union to be consummated, and their representatives will not accept any proposition to delay this Union, but knowing the principles upon which they were elected, they will speak the opinions of the electors who sent them here.
Mr. Babbit.—I shall take up very few moments, for the subject has been discussed over and over again, and the people of the country have expressed their opinion upon it. It would be entirely out of place for me, even if I had the ability, to take up time in reviewing it. We are informed that Government intend to take the Quebec Scheme as a basis, and delegates are to be appointed to go to England to get the best terms they can. When the subject was brought before the people, after the Quebec delegates had returned, the first objection in our country was representation by population, but after this subject was ventilated, it was ascertained that we could not get anything else, and the public mind was directed to ascertain if a check could not be provided. it was believed that an increased representation would provide that check, and my constituents now ask to have the delegates instructed to endeavor to secure increased representation in the Legislative Council. I agree with the remark made by the ex-Attorney General, that if the Legislative Councillors appointed to seats at Ottawa are simply to have a property qualification here, it will not amount to a great deal, because some of them would remove to Canada, and instead of looking after our interests they would be looking after the interest of the Canadians, for it is natural to suppose that a man would be most interested in the place in which he resides. We should instruct our delegates
in unmistakable terms, that it should be provided in the Scheme, that our Legislative Councillors should both reside and have their property qualification in this Province. If this idea is not carried out I shall think it was the fault of our delegates and not of the Canadians, because it is immaterial to them whether they reside here or there. The next question the people have mentioned to me is the eighty cents question; we feel that there should be some advance upon the eighty cents per head. I do not want this advance to apply to Canada, let it remain as it is there, but give us more. I may have narrow views upon this question, but I say if you increase it in Canada as well as here we will have to pay our proportional part of it, and there will be no gain; but if you stop it there and give us the increase we will gain something. The next really important question is to define the action of these two Governments. I do not believe you can so define the power but what some little difficulties will arise, but it should be so defined that no difficulties should arise which can be prevented. The delegates should give that subject every consideration, so that there may not be a constant turmoil and strife between the two powers. If we want to prosper, the Legislature must work in harmony with the General Government. I cannot agree with the remarks made by my hon. friend from Westmorland, (Mr. Smith,) that the Canadians are prepared to give us everything rather than not have Confederation, and that we should demand everything from them. I only ask that the bargain shall be fair. These are some of the main things that should be taken into consideration by the delegates, and I trust they will go unbiassed and agree to a Scheme calculated in their judgment to promote the welfare of the country.
Mr. Stevens—I am not sorry that this discussion has taken place upon this question. I think that if we had passed the resolution without any discussion it would not have been so satisfactory to the country. Whether we adopt the Scheme in its entirety or have it modified, the country expects a discussion to arise to give them information in regard to the details of the Scheme. Those of us who were rejected fifteen months ago for having supported Confederation, now come […]
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[…] from the great battle, and I feel proud to take my place here where another conflict is going on. If there is one man who should feel more proud than another, it is that man who from conscious merit, when he sees that the people are running against the views which he is conscious are right, takes his stand and breasts the tide, and when after the lapse of time these people who were against him come round and embrace his views, that ought to be the proudest day of his life. We come here after a conflict with renewed vigor, because when this Scheme was rejected before, it was enough to daunt the hearts of any one, that the ablest men in the Province were rejected upon that question. These men were strong in their belief that this question was sound in principle, had truth as its basis, and that it must come in and prevail. Though the trial might have been severe, though you could not see through the cloudy vista any ray of the sunlight of promise breaking in upon that gloom, yet we believed that the time would come when if it was a proper principle it would prevail. “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.”
So it is in every question that has taken place in history, I refer you to the great emancipation of slaves; when Britain was agitated from its centre to its circumference. Still men stood strong in the belief that Britain would at last accede to the justice of their cause and that the manacles of the manumitted slaves would fall powerless to the ground. Need I refer to the Reform Bills, and the repeal of the Corn Laws. Though they were supported only by a few leading men of the day, they knew their principles to be correct, and their glory was, what we now ourselves can experience, when the tide of public opinion turned in their favour. History in these questions but repeats itself, and it is repeating itself at this moment. Strange as it may appear, fifteen months ago the people rose in their might and rejected Union, but now they come round and adopt it by large majorities; just as we have seen and experienced in past time. Let us enquire for one moment into the causes of this change, for certainly there must have been a reason for it. Had it been a neck and neck race so to speak, then it might have been said that those who possessed the greatest amount of means and money at their command would have had the advantage, and by this means accomplished their purpose; but when we find that it was not carried by a neck and neck race, but by an overwhelming majority, we must believe it was because the people had an attachment for the institutions of their country. Did they adopt a scheme of Union which they once rejected. I deny that the scheme of Union as such was what they rejected. Any why! Because we all know that many of us who had taken the Scheme in our hand, wanted time to consider it in detail, and how were we to expect the people of the country to be more ready to understand the Scheme than we were. What was the result? The people being frightened, and thinking they were well enough as they were took the wisest and best course for them to take. That was to reject the Scheme, and they did this from the act that it was hurriedly brought upon them, and there were many of those who were unprincipled enough to take advantage of that, to circulate throughout the country the most falacious stories, and taxation was a hobby which they rode to death. Our hens would be taxed and the very eggs they laid would be taxed. They told the poor man who had ten children that he would have to pay $30 because the tax would be three dollars a head; was it to be wondered at that they rejected it upon those representations. The cry was raised throughout the Province that we were going to sell ourselves to Canada: we were going to be connected with a set of political rogues. If all that was said about them were true, they would be the most horrible people upon the face of the earth. We had men among us who would go to the humble abode of a poor woman, and clap her child upon his head, and say, what a pity that son of yours will have to be sent to Canada as a soldier to fight for her defence. One of the great reasons brought forth why this Scheme should be looked upon with abhorrence was because it was originated by designing men who were seeking their own aggrandizement, and that Mr. Tilley wished to be Governor, and Mr. Gray Judge of Appeals. Whilst these things were being said, people began to suspect the originators of the crime, and they rose up in their wrath and almost desired to annihilate them. Such was the fearful daubing that was given to this Scheme, that it has taken fifteen months for intelligent men, with all the scrubbing brushes they could get together, to wipe away the dust from it. The opponents of the Scheme said it could not have been the wish of Her Majesty that we should adopt this Scheme, for we could not put our hand upon any despatch to show that the Imperial Government desired it. It was called the Quebec Scheme, and this provided arguments for our opponents, simply on account of its name. If it had been called the New Brunswick, or the Nova Scotia Scheme, it would not have met with so much opposition. As it was called the Quebec Scheme, they said it had its origin and emanated from those reckless men in Canada, and people looked upon it with suspicion, and said if that is the case, we had better remain as we are. It was said let well enough alone, and it was amusing to find all those fossil putrefactions in the shape of human beings rise up in those days, and take advantage of all the old fogies who felt they were well enough as they were, in the Province of New Brunswick, as hewers of wood and drawers of water, and ought to be content with their position. I am drawing no picture of fancy when I say these were some of the reasons why the Scheme of Confederation was rejected. When the people had these reasons urged upon them, and believed them to be true, it is unfair to say that fifteen months ago this Union was rejected. I find that fifteen months has made a great change in the minds of the people. What has been the cause of this change? Within the last fifteen months there has been a discussion within these walls, and printed matter circulated throughout the country, and people have read for themselves. This victory is not one party triumphing over another, but it is the noblest victory human nature can achieve. It is the victory of sound reason and mature judgment, that is the triumph that does honor to humanity. If the people have considered this and given their verdict in favor of Union, I say we stand here responsible to carry that out, and not to allow any delay to take place to thwart that great principle. If we were to clog the delegates who go home with instructions, and require them to return and report to the Assembly or people, we might be taking what we consider a desirable course if practicable, but we would be doing what the people did not send us here to do, that is, to endanger the passage of Union. Let us look at some of the other causes which have produced this change in the people’s minds. We know that there is a large revolving wheel in the world moving onward, we cannot know all the details of what is revolving on that revolving wheel. If there is anything to be accomplished, at the very nick of time when it does come round, all the power of man is powerless to arrest its force. We are just in that position at present, while we might desire to be let alone, and think we would be better off as we are, there is a pressure of surrounding circumstances that impels us to take to the ship, or lie down and be destroyed. My hon. friend (Mr. Smith) has said the people were in a state of political intoxication. If that is the case now what were they fifteen months ago? Has it been one continual drunk, or has there not been time to sober off during the intervals. Is it not generally found that when the drunk is over that reason returns. He […]
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[…] says again that Fenianism had much to do with this change in the people’s minds. I agree with him. It had much to do with it in this way: Mr. Killian and his brother would tell the people within the neighboring border, that if the people of New Brunswick did not wish to go into Confederation they had only to call upon him, and he was ready to come with his band to do the bidding of the disaffected. This sunk into the hearts of loyal people, and if ever New Brunswick did honor to herself, she did it when she threw aside all considerations of mere dollars and cents, and said that rather than join herself to them, or sail in the same boat with those that held their doctrines, she would sacrifice a great deal and go in for Union under any circumstances. I have heard people say, that now the elections are over we will hear no more of Fenianism in the Province. If we do not, its death blow was struck when we showed unmistakably that we were in favor of Confederation. Another reason for this change was the repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty. We found that we were to be placed at the mercy of our neighbors across the border, and that our supply of flour and breadstuffs might easily be cut off, but if we were united we would be independent of them. We found that many of those people in the Province who had annexation proclivities and desires were most violently opposed to the Scheme, while those who desired to maintain British connection were in favor of it. The ex-Attorney General alludes to back-stairs influence in carrying these elections, and speaks of what he calls the treachery and unconstitutional conduct of the Governor. Any man who brings a charge against the Queen’s representative ought to see that his own garments are perfectly clear. The Government found they must adopt a Union policy or resign their seats. When that confidential memorandum came out, we found that the Government had had several communications with the then Premier of the Government, and that His Excellency was desirous of expressing his views on Union at the opening of the House. This correspondence discloses what the policy of the Government was, that these despatches were to be submitted to a Committee who were to report in favor of Union. The Government did not desire to take the responsibility upon their own shoulders, but that they might more easily effect their purpose and relieve themselves from embarrassments, they were going to throw the responsibility upon the House. They call themselves constitutionalists, because they say the Governor acted in an unconstitutional manner in not consulting with his Council. If he had consulted his Council, and they had not endorsed his reply to the Legislative Council, they would have had to resign, and His Excellency would have had to dissolve the House in consequence; but if they had endorsed it, this Union policy would have been carried out, and the leader of the late Government would have received honor for it. When Sir Robert Peel, who occupied a high position at home, found it necessary to alter his policy, and stood forth ready to sacrifice place, power, and position for the time being, conscious of his own rectitude, there never was a time when he stood higher as a statesman than when he came manly forth with no covered scheme and no desire to shirk responsibility, but took it upon himself, with a few followers, to advocate his changed policy. Had this been the policy of the late Attorney General, there is no doubt but that he would have made himself one of the foremost men in the Province; but instead of this he adopted what might be termed a cowardly policy. We came here not to act in that cowardly spirit, but determined to advocate Union, and to carry out the principle of Union in all its integrity. We have been cautioned to act with solemnity, and not to surrender our judgment to the guidance of others. I think it was scarcely necessary to ask us not to surrender our judgment and follow a leader who would leave us wandering in an inconsistent path, one who was opposed to this Scheme of Union, and whose policy was a vacilating policy. We will follow these statesmen on the floors of the House who have been an honor to the country, and the country have honored them, and are only climbing that steep ascent where their names shall rest when they are no more. We are told that our Local Legislatures will dwindle away. Are we to remain as we are, and never increase in population? Has it not been shown that there would be very few bills that we would not still have to discuss here? Suppose our Local Legislature were to fall into comparative insignificance, must we sacrifice this grand idea for the sake of a Local Legislature? Are we to sacrifice the interests of three millions of people for the sake of a Local Legislature. All we want of it is to manage the affairs of the Province. It was said that the Legislative Councillors would reside in Canada. Could they imagine that men with a property qualification of $4000 would remove to Canada and reside among men whom they termed French Canadians and reckless and corrupt politicians. A man would not take all his equipage and remove to Ottawa for the sake of being there three months with a paltry salary of about £250. There is another objection made to the Scheme which really has much force in it. It is said we should have an increased representation in the Legislative Council. This, if it can be obtained, would provide the necessary cheeks against any action taken in the Lower House detrimental to our interest; but as it is, the terms are more favorable to New Brunswick than to Canada, because, according to population, we have two representatives in the Upper House to Canada’s one. It is said that in the United States each State sends an equal number of representatives to the Upper House, and that it should be the same here. The Senate of the United States exercises the functions of an executive body, and therefore the same reasons for an equal representation does not apply here.
Were we elected to support Union in the abstract, or Union under the basis of the Quebec Scheme, hoping to get improvements? The main question which agitated the minds of the people of New Brunswick was this: was it Imperial policy? If we cast our vote, will we not be casting our vote for or against that policy? The people believed the Queen and the British nation desired it, and they said they would not cast their votes against the policy of the British Empire, lest the construction might be put upon it that they were disloyal to the British Crown. The cry has been raised throughout the country that the Quebec Scheme was not a good Scheme. Many people said they would agree to Union, but could not agree to the Quebec Scheme, and when I asked them to point out their objections to it they could not do it. This was an easy way of letting themselves down; they had formerly opposed all Union, and now they would go for Union but would oppose the Quebec Scheme. They do this because they think it degrading to change their views. Why should a man be always crying out against a building when he has the power to remove it, and build better superstructure if he can. Any fool can cry down but it is the part of a wise men to build up. If the ex-premier does not like the Scheme why does he not bring in a better. If he would bring in a Scheme we should bind it round with silks and ribbons, and crown it with a high cocked hat. If he would only bring it in and present it as his firstborn, in the present emergency we would render it due obeisance. It may show itself but until, it comes we will take the liberty of dealing with the one we have. We have been told that if we went for this Scheme of Union we would be cutting the last connecting link which binds us to the mother country. If it is simply the appointment of our Lieutenant […]
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[…] Governor that binds us to the British Crown our connection must be weak indeed The ex-premier would have had no objections to have had a Governor appointed even from our own Province, for it would have relieved him from embarrassing [sic] difficulties, having come in contact with the present Governor. The Governor-General will still be appointed by the Home Government and the Local Governors will be appointed by him. How easy it is to raise the warning voice—to act upon people’s sympathies, and even frighten them out of their very senses. The eloquent voice and the deep tone will affect the heart and reach even the understanding. I am told that the reason given for this warning is, that we will bitterly regret our adoption of this Scheme which is fraught with ruin to our country. Is he certain of this? Has he lived so in the future as to know it. True he is justified on the floors of the House in doing all he can to frustrate what he believes to be fraught with ruin to the country. But whilst he believes this measure to be attended with such disastrous consequences, it has occurred to me that instead of regretting the action now taking place, the time is not distant when the people of this Province will praise the men who aided in raising this mighty fabric. Why is it that it looms so brightly in the future, and has a response in every heart that desires to see the country rise from its state of isolation. It is because we are to have free intercourse in commercial commodities; and having our mines, minerals and all that make a country great, is there not reason for any one to judge that what has taken place in other countries will take place in our own, when that Union takes place. Is it to be wondered at that in our isolated position the country does not grow as rapidly as other countries. Our manufacturers will tell you they want a larger market. I need not enter into this subject which has been travelled over so often and so well. I ask this House should we not consummate that Union immediately? Why should be delay when we have been sent here for that purpose? We should go for Union as speedily as possible, and endeavor to get the best terms we can. Who are to be the Delegates? I trust they will be men true to their trust, carrying out the wishes of the people, expressed through their representatives, and endeavor to get a larger representation in the Legislative Council, and as many other improvements as possible, but I for one, on behalf of my constituents, say that if by insisting upon them, you fail in obtaining a Scheme, then abandon your insistence [sic] and go for the Quebec Scheme. I will refer for one moment to what is said about Canada; it has been called a bankrupt country, and then again we have been told that the Canadians have given $50 a head to every Fenian that came to our borders, in order to aid the Confederate cause. I heard an election story, wherein it was urged that we should not go into Confederation because Canada was a poor country, and contained more fiddles than ploughs. We find that the agricultural implements of Canada is more than sufficient to pay the debts of the Lower Provinces. It is a country that will draw the weaker Provinces towards it, and give strength to them. The geographical lines of distinction between the Provinces will be swept away, and we shall be amalgamated as one people. We shall all be bound together, so that if you touch the smallest member of the body the heart will feel the throb, and send forth all its power to protect it. We look with ardent hope for the establishment of this glorious Empire, whose greatness shall be measured only by comparison, and who in a few short years shall rival the parent stem from which it sprung.
Mr. Hibbard—I intend to vote against the amendment. This is a measure that rises above all party considerations. All party lines should be obliterated, and every man should come here to help in every reasonable way he can to bring about a measure so well calculated to promote the general good. If the Delegates from the different Provinces were here we might have some alterations made; but I think it would be asking too much to ask three million people to do just as we say. I had the opinion that the Constitution agreed upon by the Delegates should not be finally consummated until it had been submitted to the Legislature, but I think now that as the people have decided in favor of Confederation, and ask that a constitution may be consummated, it would be unwise to delay the matter by such a course. There is a difference of opinion on this question between two of the ablest speakers in the Province, and their arguments confuse my mind, for I am not as well versed in the workings of that Scheme as I ought to be. My hon. friend from Westmorland (Mr. Smith) says the object of Canada is to get the Lower Provinces into connection with them in order that their revenue may be applied to the improvement of the canals of Canada. I think that when we enter into Confederation the Canals and Railroads of Canada will belong as much to New Brunswick as they will to Canada. I believe the day is not far distant when from the first of May until the last of September the working capacity of the Canals of Canada and the Intercolonial Railroad will be taxed to the fullest ex tent. I say New Brunswick ought to bear its portion of the tax necessary for the general improvement of British North America. I have made this a matter of calculation, and have not come blindfolded into the Confederation Scheme. I have looked at too vast opening that lies before us in the consummation of this Union, and asked myself what benefit will it be to New Brunswick. I look around, and see our public domain teeming with the treasures of the forest, the vast mineral wealth, the fisheries, and the agricultural capabilities of the Province, and I say that entering into Union would develop those resources and increase our wealth. Under Union we would advance more rapidly in science and literature, in railroads and telegraphs, in civilization and religion, than we do at present. I believe that when the General Assembly meets at Ottawa they will not infringe the rights of New Brunswick, for we will form one people, and our interest will be their interest. We will start in the race of national greatness, and go out to the world as competitors with those who will compete with us. I feel a diffidence in addressing this Assembly, for I have not the necessary legislative education, or legal knowledge, that the members of the profession have, but I do not envy them. I am going to vote for the appointment of delegates to meet with other delegates, and I hope they will never leave London until they have settled the constitution of this Confederation. My hon. friends who oppose this Scheme are going to shake off the responsibility but at the same they will reap all the benefits. This is a very comfortable position to be placed in, and if we should err how nicely they can take the advantage of us. If we should unfortunately commit an error, it will be a fearful one. I will not take the responsibility of it, but will throw it back upon my constituents. Though I endorse their sentiments they have an equal responsibility. But presuming the constitution is made, will there never be a means of amending it.
Mr. Smith—The American Constitution has a provision for amendment.
Mr. Hibbard—Perhaps the delegates will see that a provision for that is inserted in ours. It has been said that Fenianism has had something to do with the result of the elections. I believe it has, but if this Fenian excitement had not occurred we would still have had a majority. Am I colouring the picture too highly when I say that thousands of the surplus population of Europe will be glad to find a home in British North America, and at the end of eighty-eight years is it unreasonable to suppose that our population would be 20,00,000. If a man […]
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[…] had said eighty-eight years ago that the neighboring republic would have been what it is now, he would have been stamped as a fanatic. Would New York ever have stood in the rank of cities which she now does, if it had not been for the great western country? If we can get these inland lines, and compete for a portion of that trade, and pass it through our canals and from thence to Britain will it make any difference to us if the tolls go into the Canadian revenue. The Welland Canal a year or two ago after paying working expenses yielded $200,000 revenue to the Government. I think Canada will reap no more from us than we will from them.
Mr. Botsford.—The hon. gentleman who proceded me has said, that in speaking on a subject of such vital importance to the country, we should divest ourselves of party spirit and party feelings. It would be desirable not to have such observations made in the course of this discussion as were made with reference to my hon colleagues in the late Government and mysel f; when he applies to that body the word treachery, he may be familiar with the epithet, but I think it more applicable to his political actions and the actions of the late Government, of which he formed a part. The late Government, of which I was a member. acted both politically and sociably a fair, honorable course with the Governor, and they treated him with respect and courtesy. I have yet to learn that when His Excellency chooses to enter the arena of the public press and brand his Council with feloniously pilfering a paper from the archives of the Council, that they have not a right to hurl that imputation back, no matter how high the source it comes from. I would be wanting the the feelings of a man, if I did not reply to so gross an imputation. As the previous speakers have chosen to take ground that the late Executive Council have acted with treachery in their intercourse with the Lieutenant-Governor, I will draw the attention of the House to a few preliminary facts. The Provincial Secretary told us that we, in endorsing the answer to the address of the Legislative Council, bound ourselves to a Union policy, and that it made no matter whether the Governor consulted us or not, he was justified in answering the address of the Legislative Council, praying tor the Imperial Parliament to pass an Act for Union based upon the Quebec Scheme. If I understand the Constitution of the country, it is simply this, that when the Governor speaks on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, or with reference to the Imperial policy, it is not binding upon the Executive of the Province, but if he chooses to speak on behalf of himself or his Government, then the Executive Council become responsible, under our Constitution, for what he says. In the first reply to the Legislative Council he speaks on behalf of Her Majesty, but in the second reply he speaks on behalf of himself, and makes his Government responsible when there was no need for his doing so, for the address was for the Queen and not an address to the Governor at all. I am accused of purloining a paper. ( Mr. Speaker.—The Governor is not responsible for what he says ) If the Governor chooses in the Royal Gazette to blacken my character and parade his name, not in connection with his Executive Council, I think I have a right to make use of such language as will clear my skirts. I shall make use of the word intrigue, unless the House says I am not in order. ( Mr. Speaker.—That is not Parliamentary language.) Then I will qualify it by saying political intrigue. His Excellency charges his late advisers with having improperly taken from the files of the Executive Council a document which should have been there. That document was what? It was the absolute acceptance of our resignation, and the moment that paper was given to us we ceased to be Executive Councillors, and we had no right to go to the Executive Council Chamber, and it was our paper. I say that was a gross charge against us.
His Honor the Speaker.—This is contrary to Parliamentary rule. The communication in which the expression was made was addressed to his present advisers, and they are responsible.
Mr. Botsford.—If the Governor in Council had laid that communication before the Council, that would have been the view to take of it. But this was published in the Gazette and signed by Arthur Gordon, therefore I treat him as an individual. I wish to give the representative of Her Majesty all due deference, and I shall try to keep within the bounds of Parliamentary language, so as not to give offence to you and the House, and shall err in judgment alone.
The debate was then adjourned until after the Journals were read to-morrow.