Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Close of the Confederation Debate (21 April 1865)
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings, 23rd Parl, 2nd Sess, 1865 at 288-298.
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DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF NOVA SCOTIA. 1865.
FRIDAY, April 21.
CLOSE OF THE CONFEDERATION DEBATE.
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Hon. Prov. Sec. moved that the adjourned debate on the Union of the Colonies be resumed.
Mr. Archibald said—At this late period the session, it is impossible to resume the debate on this question without wearing the patience of the House on all sides. The Supreme Court meets here next Tuesday, and the legal gentlemen in this House have necessarily much to occupy their attention. Besides nothing practical can grow out of this discussion. The House are already committed by the resolution of last year to a Union of the Maritime Provinces, and the only difficulty that may prevent gentlemen agreeing to the present resolution is its preamble. I therefore rise to suggest to the Provincial Secretary, whether he would not be willing to withdraw this preamble, which is a matter of no importance.
Hon. Prov. Sec.—My colleagues and myself, entirely concur in the opinion that it is very desirable that the House should preserve the same attitude it assumed last session in reference to a Union of the Maritime Provinces. I think it is only justice to the delegates from these Provinces to say that it was not their fault that the Conference held under the resolution of last session had not a different result. It is only fair that I should also say that I am now much less sanguine than I was last year of any practical result growing out of this resolution. It is a secret no where, that as are as the Island of Prince Edward is concerned, they have decided to have nothing to do with anybody under any circumstances, and to remain in their present isolated condition. Since I addressed the House on the last occasion I notice that two prominent members of the New Brunswick Government have pledged themselves against a Legislative Union of the Maritime Provinces. It will be our duty, however, to ascertain the feelings of the Government of that Province […]
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[…] on the subject, and to bring it to a termination. I can but add, that, if removing the preamble to this resolution will enable the House to come to the some unanimous conclusion they did last year, I will cheerfully consent to the proposition made by my hon. friend opposite
Mr. Annand.— I am glad the Prov. Secy. has made the announcement he has, that he will withdraw the preamble. This portion of the resolution was distasteful to many gentlemen, and prevented them assuming the same position they did last year. It is apparent that the proposed Union with New Brunswick cannot possibly be consummated—a union I heartily desire—and it would, be therefore, useless at the present stage of the session, to proceed any further with the matter.
Hon. Attorney General— I have come to the conclusion that I will not have the pleasure of addressing the House, for the reasons given by the gentlemen who have spoken. There is now a considerable amount of business that must be transacted without delay. I have no hesitation in saying that if the course now suggested is not adopted, the House must be delayed at least a fort- night longer. I have reluctantly yielded to the suggestion to close the debate. I have listened with a great deal of attention, to the gentlemen who have spoken on this subject, and I certainly must say, that I had hoped to have been able to reply to their observations.
I have not yet had an opportunity of fully expressing my opinions as one of the delegates. I did not consider that it was necessary for me at the outset of this debate to address the House, but allowed gentlemen to procede me. I must congratulate gentlemen in the Opposition on this question, that they have had an opportunity of fully explaining their views, and placing them before the country to an extent that the friends of Confederation have not. Looking, however, at the time that must be occupied if the debate is continued, and the delay of public business that must result, I have waived my own feelings in the matter.
Mr. Tobin.—Whilst I am not going to oppose the resolution, I must express my conviction that a Union of the Maritime Provinces cannot bring with it any positive advantages. There is very little trade and business between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We can never gain nationality by means of such a Union. I am quite Sure, too, that New Brunswick has no desire whatever to unite with us. I firmly believe, if we cannot be united to a large country like Canada, it is better for us to remain as we are. I expressed the same opinions last year, and I see no reasons now for changing them.
Mr. S. McDonnell—I must confess that I vote for the resolution with no little reluctance. That the time of the House would be wasted in the discussion of this question, I do not believe. A question that has engaged the attention of so many prominent public men in these Provinces, and has agitated the public mind to so large an extent, is surely worth a few day’s debate. The country has expected that every man would express his opinion on the subject In view, however, of the desire of the House to bring the discussion to a close, and of the fact that the Prov. Secy. has consented to withdraw the preamble, I shall agree to allow the resolution to pass without making any further observations
Mr. Miller —I feel just as reluctant as other gentlemen, to allow the question to pass without expressing my views, especially after the position which I occupied last year, and have since taken in reference to it. However, I heartily concur with gentlemen as to the necessity of saving the public time. Besides the debate would not really elicit much new information, for nearly all the facts connected with it have already been put before the country. I don’t desire to divide the House on the resolution, but I wish it to be understood distinctly that I am not at all committed to it. I entertain views similar to those expressed by the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Tobin,) respecting a Union of the Maritime Provinces. If I have any desire for a Union it is for the larger one. The opinions I held last year I hold now. My opposition has not been to the Union in the abstract but to the terms on which it was secured. I defy any one to find a passage in anything I have said since last session, which proves that I am opposed to a Union on fair and equitable terms.
Hon. Fin. Sec.—Any one must see that that if this debate were continued, we must be here a good many days longer. I take it for granted that every gentlemen in this House will feel that he should give his constituents the benefit of the views he entertains, and define the position which he occupies, but that he can do equally as well when he visits his county.
Mr. S. Campbell—As I have offered no remarks upon the question during the debate which has ensued, I now rise to make a speech. It will be a very short one; it is that the question be now put
The resolution then passed as amended without a division.
[The remaining days, till the prorogation. were taken up with merely routine business, summaries of which have already appeared in the city papers—Reporter.]