Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly (17 April 1867)

Document Information

Date: 1867-04-17
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly, 23rd Parl, 4th Sess, 1867 at 132-135.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).

Click here to view the rest of Nova Scotia’s Confederation Debates for 1867.


WEDNESDAY, April 17, 1867.

  • (p. 132)


The House met at 3 o’clock.


Hon. Financial Secretary laid on the table the subdivision of the special road grant. fie said that this has made in the same ratio as the ordinary grant with the exception of two or three counties, for which special provision was made. Mr. S Campbell said he felt in duty bound to comment upon the absence of any provision for the bridge across the St Mary’s River. From the manner in which the petition bad been received he expected that this service which had the strongest claims for consideration would have been favorably received. The Government could not plead want of funds for they had given for new roads ln Colchester County $3,500, for the River Philip Bridge $500, for the Liverpool Bridge $8000 and for the public pier at Digby $1000. […]

  • (p. 133)

[…] He felt that in this respect his constituents had been treated with gross injustice, and that he would be a traitor to them if he failed to express in the strongest language his condemnation of the subdivision. The petition had come from a class of individuals who were doing a great deal to develope the resources and add to the revenues of the country and whose claims were in every respect entitled to consideration. He would be bound to submit, however, to the injustice of the government on this, as on other occasions. 

Hon. Provincial Secretary was sorry that the hon. member approached the subject with the impression that the Government desired to do injustice to his constituents for such was not the case,—only a few days ago, when the vote for Navigation Securities was under discussion, the government had on the representations of the hon. gentleman agreed to erect a light house which he had stated to be a necessary public work, although the cost and maintenance would be great. As to the argument that the moneys at the disposal of the government were sufficient because grants bad been made to other works, it would he seen that this was the very reason why the grant asked for by the hon. member could not be made. Only a portion of the sum stated as being given for roads in Colchester County was in the nature of a special grant, ant the necessity of making these roads to connect with the railway was evident if the benefits of the line were to bp extended to the settlement throughout the country. The River Philip Bridge had been built a few years ago over one of the largest rivers in the Province that were spanned by a bridge, the length being half a mile,—span after span had broken down and the members for the county had been obliged to borrow £l,800 to keep up the communication. As to the Liverpool bridge the existing one was subject to tolls, and as it was going into decay and the proprietors had no intention of continuing the communication, their charter having expired, the work contemplated was essential. Its cost would be $12,000, and the members for the county would have to furnish $4000 in addition to the grant. So far from being disposed to ignore the claims of any constituency the government would have been only too glad to have given all the applications a favorable consideration, if the means at their disposal warranted it. 

Mr. Locke expressed his regret that no grant had been made for the survey of the road from Shelburne to Annapolis. The application had ben made continually for the last ten years and the Government had promised last year that the survey would he made.  

Hon. Provincial Secretary said that when the hon. member was in power himself he must have turned a deaf ear to the application. That fact threw suspicion on the genuineness of the request for the present government had not treated the hon. gentleman’s constituents worse than he bad treated them himself. 

Mr. Locke said that he would not make complaint only for the promise made by the Government last year. 

Hon. Attorney General said that when in charge of the financial department last year, he had made a promise in reference to this work, but the hon. member was largely to blame for not reminding the government of the promise during the vacation. 

Mr. Bourinot expressed his regret that the governments had not been able to provide for the erection of the bridge over Little Bras d’Or. A petition from the inhabitants had been forwarded, and they offered to contribute by subscription to the amount of $1400. He and his colleagues together with the members for Victoria had forwarded to the government the following letter on the subject:— 

Halifax 30th March, 1867. 

Sir,—We have the honor to lay before the Government for its consideration, the accompanying plan of a Bridge, which is intended to be erected across the Little Bras d’or, which separates Cape Breton proper from the island of Boularderie, which bridge will he the connecting link of the only main post road leading from the Cape Breton Coal Mines to the Counties of Victoria and Inverness. 

With the plan you have the letters, of Mr. Crandall, an American gentleman, of a well established reputation for scientific attainments of a high order, which explain fully the nature of the proposed structure. 

The present means of communication is now by a ferry-boat, named the “Charles Tupper,” a most inconvenient and uncertain conveyance which has to be kept in repair at much expense. 

We entertain the hope that the Government will take immediate means of erecting it. It is a work which must he considered Provincial, and not local, and which can he done at a cost of somewhat less than a mile of railway. 

It must be remembered that Nova Scotia proper is being intersected with lines of railways leading to sections which cannot for a moment be compared in a commercial aspect with the great resources of Cape Breton. 

We await with confidence the attention of the Government to this appeal. 

We remain, Sir, 

Your obedient servants,

J. Bourinot

Thomas Caldwell,

C.J. Campbell,

W. Ross. 

The Honorable The Provincial Secretary, etc. 

The work was very necessary, and the county would not rest satisfied until its accomplishment. He would not have been so urgent in this matter if it were not that the inhabitants had made very liberal offers, but he would do the government the justice to say that they had dealt by Cape Breton in a liberal spirit, as compared with former governments. Another important matter was the lighthouse at Guyon Island, which was a place of resort in connection with the mines. He trusted that under the changed state of affairs which Confederation would produce, Cape Breton would receive a greater amount of justice than she had hitherto been able to obtain and this was one reason why he gave his cordial support to the union which was about to be consummated. Cape Breton was on the highway to Canada, and could […]

  • (p. 134)

[…] not fail to receive a great impulse from the extended commerce and enterprize that were expected to accrue from the union of the Provinces. 

Mr. Ross also expressed his regret that these two works had been left unprovided for. He thought that a special grant should have been made for the bridge, more especially as the people had made such liberal offers. He had not such sanguine expectations as the hon. member who preceded him as to the benefits of Confederation, and feared that the bridge would not he built for many a year to come. He wished also to ask that some provision be made for completing the breakwater at St. Ann’s, which had been commenced. 

Hon. Financial Secretary replied that provision would he made for the last mentioned work. 

Mr. Annand said that generally speaking, the subdivision was fair but there was an important omission in reference to his constituency. It was well known that in many parts of East Halifax there were no roads, and that communication was maintained by dangerous and expensive ferries. He thought it would have been a true policy to have made a road along the Eastern shore and to have constructed the bridge asked by Mr. Campbell. 

Mr. Kaulback said it was natural for gentlemen to press strongly the claims of their respective constituencies at that time. It was of great importance that Lunenburg should have road communication with the Annapolis Railway and he had hoped that the petitions on this subject would have received attention from the Government, more especially as one of them carne from a locality with the very attractive name of New Canada. He was however disposed to give the Government credit of having made liberal grants to the county for its roads and bridges and Navigation Securities. 

Hon. Attorney General said that when the subdivision was brought down the only cries heard were, “money, money,” and “give, give.” The object of the grants this year was not so much to encourage the undertaking of new works and the construction of new lines of road as to place within the means of members the repairing of existing works. The Government could lot have made the large grant of £10,000 for the bridge over Little Bras d’or without doing gross injustice to the other counties; even if one fourth of the whole special grant had been given it would not have been one-third of the sum required. It would be almost useless to give $2000 or $3000 to a work that would cost $40,000. 

Mr. Ross—Is not that the principle carried out in reference to St. Peter’s Canal?

Hon. Attorney General answered that the cansi was a progressive work carried on under a permanent Act of the Legislature. There had been a bridge at the place alluded to some years ago, and great difficulty and complaint had been made by the inhabitants in consequence of navigation being interfered with, a draw had been put in it, and the whole work had been destroyed by the worms so that a stone one would have to be built. If these works were of such importance gentlemen should have shewn their sincerity by offering to contribute from the road grants No county would have more reason to make a complaint than his own, but the Government could not he expected to do impossibilities, and had to look to the interests of all the counties. 

Mr. Bourinot said that the opposition of the inhabitants was made to the erection of a wooden bridge, which would be unsafe. The plan which he had submitted obviated the difficulty, as according to it the bridge could not obstruct navigation. His remarks had been made not with the view of censuring the government but in order to show his constituents that he had not neglected the duty devolving on him. 

Mr. Ross, in reply to the Attorney General, said that if the interests of Antigonishe had been neglected, the government should he brought to account—the representatives for that county had the matter in their own hands, but that was no reason why other counties should he neglected. The intention was to have built the Little Bras d’Or bridge of granite so that it would have lasted for ages—longer, probably, than the new dominion. The difficulty was that when Confederation was se near there could be no certainty that if a sum were expended this year any grant could he obtained next year, while if the old state of things had been allowed to proceed the work could have been done gradually with the assurance of regular aid. The very fact that there had been some years ago a bridge at the locality referred to was a reason why the facilities of communication should be continued. 

Hon. Financial Secretary said that it the work were of such importance the hon. gentleman might have appropriated his special and a part of his ordinary grant to it. He would thon. he in a better position to ask that funds be withdrawn from other counties to its aid. 

Mr. Ross said that the bridge would not be in the County of Victoria at all 

Hon. Financial Secretary replied that the hon. member would do well not to go outside of his own county when he wished to make complaint. The remarks of Mr. Bourinot had been made in a very creditable spirit, and it was possible that it was from the desire that gentleman’s successors in the representation of the county should have something to do that the government did not accede to his request That gentleman had succeeded in obtaining such large sums of money for his county that the wonder was that all the bridges required there had not been built. He had hoped to have made provision for the bridge across St. Mary’s River, but the demands from every county had been so urgent that it was found impossible to depart from the equal subdivision, except ii a very few cases of absolute necessity. Unless the members for Cumberland had received the grant for River Philip they would have been unable to expend a dollar for other purposes and would have been left in debt. It was essential to repair the damage occasioned to the Digby wharf, and the grant would he inadequate for that purpose. The government had endeavored to do what was fair and honorable irrespective of […]

  • (p. 135)

[…] party relations. The hon. member for Shelburne was hardly warranted in his expressions of distrust as to the survey of the Annapolis and Shelburne road, for the Attorney General, who made the promise last year, was absent from the country for a great part of the vacation, and, after the pledge that had been given, the government might be expected to go on with the work. 

Mr. Locke thanked the Government for the assurance that the survey would be proceeded with. 

Mr. McLelan said that he observed an item of $1052 charged as an advance against Colchester. That sum had been expended by the Government without consulting the members fur the county, and he thought it should go in as a special grant. 

Mr. Blackwood said that a charge of $3000 for expenditure on French River Bridge was charged against his county. This should have been given as a special grant, for when thus charged, it absorbed all the funds at the disposal of members this year. The special grant had been all appropriated for the making of roads in one section of the county, and the expenditure would produce little benefit for a long time. 

Mr. Archibald said that the large investment of two millions of dollars in the railway depended on the ease of access by the great body of the inhabitants. Although a large sum had been at first expended in the opening up of roads for this purpose, yet it had been replaced by the proceeds of crown lands, the sale of which had been thus facilitated. Last year during his absence $1,600 dollars had been spent on one road in his county, —he would hardly have advised the expenditure if he had been present, but since that 6000 tons of freight had passed over the road, shewing that in course of time the addition of the railway freight would be more than an equivalent for the outlay. The government had therefore acted wisely in making a grant for roads to connect with the railway. There was an enormous tract of the country lying in a wilderness state,—the object was to fill it with the houses of an industrious population, and to show that this object could be attamed, he referred to one locality wherefrom the construction of a road a settlement had sprung up with its Post Office, its Literary Society and other local organizations. Earltown and Stewiacke had formerly no connection but by a very circuitous route, and although they were but twenty miles apart the length of the journey was sixty miles, and the result of the recent expenditure there was to bring these two settlements into contiguity. 

Hon. Financial Secretary, in reply to Mr. McLelan said that the expenditure which he referred to had been made on the application of himself and Mr. Donkin.

Mr. McLelan replied that the application was for a special grant,—he had received no reply to, his request and when he had heard that a commission was to issue for the expenditure he understood that allowance had been made in the supplementary Estimate. The Government had expended the money without consulting the members and a further sum would have to be laid out to complete the road this year. 

After some further explanations on this point by hon. Attorney Gen and Mr. Donkin, an intimation was given by hon. Financial Secretary that some arrangement would be make in reference to the expenditure and that it would not be charged against the county. 

Hon. Mr. McFarlane remarked that during the past season numbers of bridges throughout the country had been swept away. A number of expensive bridges required an outlay in the county of Cumberland, and a large portion of the expense in connection with the River Philip Bridge would have to be taken out of the grant so that very little would be left for the roads. 

The subdivision was adopted.

Leave a Reply