Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Discussion of the Union Question / Confederation (7 March 1865)

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Date: 1865-03-07
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings, 23rd Parl, 2nd Sess, 1865 at 67-71.
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TUESDAY, March 7.


  • ( p. 67)

Mr. Bourinot said, as there was nothing before the House, he was desirous of asking the government a question in reference to the Union of the Colonies. That question was agitating the country to perhaps a greater extent than other question for years, and the people were naturally anxious to hear the views of the House on the subject. He was therefore desirous of learning from the Provincial Secretary, as the leader of the government, when it was proposed to discuss this all important topic.

Hon. Pro. Sec. replied that the House was now in possession of all the correspondence relative to the subject, and the policy of the government relative to it would be submitted at an early day.

Mr. Bourinot said this was not the answer he expected. He had hoped that the government would have been prepared to name the day when they would be ready to lay this question fully before the House. When the prorogation was close at hand, was not the proper time for the discussion of a question which required so much deliberation on the part of every one in the Legislature.


  • (p. 69)

Mr. Jost presented three petitions from Lunenburg which he stated were against Confederation.

Mr. McLelan presented a petition from Acadia Mines, another from Hebert River, and two from Lower Onslow, on the same subject.

Hon. Prov. Sec. said that some misapprehension appeared to exist as to the character of these petitions. They left the question whether a union was desirable or not, entirely open.

They asked for time for the consideration of the question. Any gentleman who took the liberty of putting on the back of these petitions that they were against confederation took an unwarrantable liberty with them.

Mr. McLelan said that the petitions spoke against Confederation being dealt with by the present House, and in favor of the question being first submitted to the people.

The petition being read, Mr. Locke said that he conceived the tenor of the petition was opposed to Confederation, for it stated at the very commencement that this people were to be forced to be represented at Ottawa by only 19 members.

Hon. Atty. Gen. replied that any one could see that the petitioners’ desire was to get more information on this important subject before making their minds up.

Mr. McLelan said that the petitioners earnestly prayed that before passing upon the matter, the people would have an opportunity of expressing their wishes at the polls.

Mr. Stewart Campbell asked if the people were not led to believe that Confederation was to be passed instanter. Petitioners, believing this, asked for delay. The petitions were therefore against Confederation in the sense in which the Provincial Secretary and his friends had presented the question to the public.

Mr. Locke said that the petitions stated at the very outset that they were going to surrender our revenue to a Parliament sitting at Ottawa.

Hon. Atty. Genl. said that petitioners appeared rather to wish to know what they were going to receive in return for what they gave up.


Mr. John Campbell presented a petition from the inhabitants of North Queens on the subject of the Union of the Colonies.

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