Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly (2 May 1867)
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 177-198.
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DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF NOVA SCOTIA. 1867.
THURSDAY, May 2.
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Speech of the Hon. Provincial Secretary
Hon. Dr. Tupper rose and said:—Mr. speaker, in rising to move that the House go into Committee on Bills, I hope that the House will indulge me in making a few observations in reply to those which fell from the hon. member for East Halifax yesterday, in reference to the management of the public business I feel that after the very full and satisfactory answer given by my hon. friend, the Financial Secretary, it would be unnecessary for ne to make any very lengthy observations at present, were it not that the hon. member for East Halifax, in view, as he frankly admits, of the fact that this Legislature is very soon to terminate its existence, and that an appeal will be made to the people, has felt it his duty and has availed himself of his privilege, as a member of the Legislature, on several occasions, to make very pointed and personal allusions to myself—not personal as regards my private position, but personal in relation to my connection with the government of the country, and the course which, as a public man, I have taken in public affairs.
If ever there was a government able to claim credit from the country for the position which it occupies in relation to the mode in which the public business has been conducted, it is the government of which I have the honor to be a member. I do think that the annals and the records of the proceedings of any legislative assembly, in any part of the world, may be searched in vain to find a parallel to the present case I think, air, it would be difficult to find any instance in which any gentleman had the temerity to challenge the conduct of an administration which has been so eminently successful as the one that now administers the public business. The desperate necessities of the hon, member—his anxiety to find some political capital with which to agitate the country, has induced him to venture upon a ground on which I can only say I am most happy to meet him for I feel that the government can triumphantly sustain their claim to the confidence of this House and of this country.
BOARD OF WORKS.
Whilst I thus gladly avail myself of the opportunity of discussing this question with the hon. member, or any other hon. gentleman in this House, on the general conduct of the public business of the country, I will admit that there is one subject brought to my notice by gentlemen opposite, which I am not, at the pre sent moment, in a position fully to justify, and I make that acknowledgment frankly and decidedly. The statements brought forward by the hon. member for North Colchester, in reference to the Public Works department, took me as much by surprise as they could have any hon. member in this House, and I regret very much to be obliged to make such a statement ai that to this Assembly; but I would remind the late Financial Secretary that, however much ground there might be for cert in statements presented to the House yesterday being made the subject of some animadversion, I think it scarcely becomes honorable gentleman, who. formerly had charge of the financial department. of this country, to make the statement which he did in relation to the matter yesterday. I will only say that the practice of allowing members of the Board of Works, who are unpaid officers, to tender for and supply certain articles for the use of the public service, was not, one which was adopted by the present government.
From the time that the Board of Works was first constituted down to the present time, it has been invariably the practice not to exclude gentlemen who are connected, as unpaid members of the Board of Works, from furnishing for the use of the public departments anything which they might have an opportunity of supplying. I must say, after the statements which were made yesterday, that there is some ground to question whether it is advisable that such a state of things should be allowed to continue; but the present Government did not feel justified in altering or changing the system which had been in operation since the Board of Works was constructed. I mentioned a year ago, when the subject was brought before this House—when a bill was introduced for the purpose of attacking the department, the passage of which would have been to admit that there were grounds for the attack—I mentioned at that time that the Commissioners of the Board of Works, under the late Administration, had been in the habit of supplying articles for hat department. I mentioned a gentleman in this city (Mr. Gibson)—a gentleman of responsibility and standing, as having when a member of the Board of Works, supplied the department with various articles of merchandize. The late Government with which the hon. member for East Halifax was connected, never censured that course, and had never considered it necessary to bring in a bill in reference to the matter. It was not pretended yesterday that any of the articles furnished were at a higher price than they could have been procured in the market at the time. I think that the hon. member for Colchester did find some case where some article had actually cost one cent more than it could have been obtained, he believed, at that time in this city. I do not intend to open up old questions, but I think it hardly becomes gentlemen opposite to talk about the excess of a single cent. There may be something in the fact that a member of the Board of Works was in the habit of supplying articles in which he was not in the habit of dealing; and if the Board of Works was to be continued under the administration of the Government, the question might very legitimately […]
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[…] arise whether the members of that department should not be excluded from tendering for the supplies it may require for the public service.
It will be remembered that when the gentlemen opposite were in power, they undertook to construct a Lunatic Asylum, and I brought forwards the papers to prove that, not in a case where articles had been furnished to comparatively small amounts there had been an overcharge, but that the Government had actually made a contract which bound them to pay prices for lumber which, when stated in this House astonished nobody more than the Government themselves. They had made a contract under which they paid the contractor £35 per thousand feet of spruce floors.
I was also surprised to find the entries made under the bead of “small stores,” and as I think the Committee of Public Accounts had a right to know what the expenditure is on everything that is furnished for the public service, upon the request of the hon. member for North Colchester, I immediately directed the Chairman of the Board of Works to supply the most minute information. I may say something with reference to one account to which the attention of the house is drawn, and that was, an expenditure in connection with a quarantine station. On that question I feel bound to assume my full share of the responsibility. It is well known that this city was perfectly panic-struck last Spring, in consequence of the steamship England having come into this port with cholera, and of a large number of persons having fallen victims to that fearful disease. Under these circumstances, the attention of the Government was directed to the necessity of providing a quarantine station, and I so reported the fact to the Government.
I may say the expense was to be borne by the City conjointly with the Province, and the Mayor and other parties connected with the Civic Government also concurred in that selection; but when it became known that Lawlor’s Island had been chosen, some excitement was created in the city, and a large number of merchants and others expressed themselves against the choice, and represented that it was in every way unsuitable. Under such circumstances the Government thought it necessary to take the steamer Neptune and obtain the cooperation of a number of citizens to examine this and other places, and see whether it was, or was not, suitable for the purpose proposed. I therefore requested the Board of Works to take his Excellency the Governor and General Doyle, both of whom had had experience of cholera in other places, and medical and other gentlemen who, I supposed, took a deep interest in the question, and would satisfy the public mind. I found that this examination would occupy the entire day, and therefore requested the Board of Works to provide luncheon for the gentlemen who were invited to assist in selecting a suitable quarantine station. If there has been any large expenditures in connection with matters of this kind, outside of the two occasions on which the Government visited Sambro and different places, for the purpose of providing a quarantine station, I am not aware of the fact. I would remind the hon. member for East Halifax that he can scarcely have forgotten that it was but a few years ago when the fact was brought to his notice that over £300 had been expended on providing a luncheon and the necessary wines and liquors on the occasion of opening one wing of the Hospital for the Insane.
Mr. Annand—It was only $320.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—I am glad that the memory of the hon. member on the point is so minute; but I believe my recollection of the amount la as good as his own, and that the sum was as large as I have stated it. It may also be remembered that the second clerk in the Provincial Secretary’s office had actually under the regime of the hon. member and his friends. spent this large sum of money which had been charged to the Board of Works, in connection with this public entertainment. It will also be known that when some nine miles of railway were opened, a considerable sum was spent in a public entertainment.
Mr. McKay.—Only three miles.
Dr. Tupper—I am glad of the correction of the hon. member. I feel as respects expenditure for such matters the present Government can challenge comparison with their predecessors. The present Government have opened up not three but over one hundred miles of railway, since they came into power, without expending a single dollar for a public entertainment, snob as the on. member and his friends gave when the insignificant length of railroad that I have mentioned was completed. The Government have, indeed, been censured—have been called mean because they went to no expense in laying the corner atone of the Provincial Building opposite. They have not built one wing only, but the centre of the Hospital for the insane, and completed other great public works, and yet have never given the entertainments which the gentlemen opposite indulged in on every possible occasion. I will bear, however, as equably as I can the censure of my countrymen for having been too economical, and not having that regard to eclat which all governments generally like.
With reference to the large expenditure to which attention has been called in reference to the Board of Works, I may say that no person was more dissatisfied than were the government when they found that that department had expended so large a sum of money on this service. But I must add that when I saw the hon. member for South Kings (Dr. Brown) smiling complacently while the character of his brother was at stake whilst it was placed in a position the most humble mas would shrink from, I began to think that there was reason to suspect treachery in reference to that officer. When I knew that this hon. member had always opposed the Government—when I found him thus sustaining gentlemen in making this attack upon his own brother who is the chief and responsible officer of the board of Works, at a time when he was about appealing to the country, and was desirous of having political capital to take to the people, I felt that the time had come when no government would ever venture to have any public officer so closely identified with a gentleman who had determined to break them […]
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[…] down and destroy their reputation. (Hear, hear.) I felt if ever there was a gentleman who occupied a humiliating position it was the hon. member for south Kings, who could sit bore and see his political friends make statements, which, if true, would prove his brother unworthy of the slightest confidence which would prove him guilty of having used the public funds for which he is mainly responsible, and wasting them upon extravagant and uncalled for services. I can only say that [ have felt bound without saying a word as to the truth or these allegations, to demand the most explicit information from the Chairman of the Board of Works. More than this, the moment the attention of the government was directed to the lavish expenditures in the public works, the chairman was called upon and told not to expend one dollar on any public service without the express authority of the government.
The hon. member has referred to what he call “unauthorized expenditures,” as if they were made without the authority of this house. The Financial Secretary has given the most ample refutation of these assertions; he has shown that the expenditures have been for services that have received the sanction of this Legislature. The house will recollect that gentlemen on both sides, last session, gave a vote of credit to the government, and authorized them to spend the last dollar in the treasury for the defence of the country. Yet in the face of this fact, this expenditure has been brought forward by gentlemen opposite as “unauthorized.” It is also known that the St Peter’s Canal la being constructed under an act of the Legislature. The Insane Hospital is being enlarged by the express authority of this house. A large sum was voted for the protection of the fisheries. All these authorized expenditures for most Important public services have been brought forward and charged against the government as being unauthorized. Such is the way in which gentlemen opposite presume to trifle with the intelligence of this house and country.
THE POSITION OF THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT.
I shall not travel over the ground so ably trodden by the Financial Secretary, when he shewed that there was never a government that stood in a prouder position than the present, in relation to the administration of public affairs. Do we not all remember when the late government came down to the House, and in a public document claimed the support of the Legislature on the ground that there had been an increase in the revenue of £20,000? If, as gentlemen opposite would now pretend, an increase of revenue has nothing to do with the government of the country—has no connection with the mode in which the public business is conducted, or with the confidence that is felt among men of enterprize and capital who are developing our resources in consequence of the administration of public affair,—if this be the case, how could they then dare to come down and ask from the people their confidence, because there had been an insignificant increase in the revenue of £20,000? But let me ask these gentlemen how is it from the moment the present government assumed power, there has been a steady increase in the revenue from all public services? The hon. gentleman (Mr. Annand) has said it was his tariff that did it, but he knows that he has not the shadow of a claim to that tariff; it was put on the statute book by the Attorney General when the present party were in power, and the only specific alteration that it underwent was at the hands of J. J. Marshall when Financial Secretary, who arranged it on its present basis. Let the hon. gentleman only claim paternity for what belongs to him. he can lay claim only for having come into this Legislature and declared that a ton per cent. duty was not enough to carry on the ordinary business after giving the most paltry amount to roads and bridges—and therefore proposed to saddle the people of this country with an additional duty of 2 1/2 per cent, raising our taxes twenty-five per cent. over what they had ever been before. Under a tariff of 10 per cent he bad sunk this Province into debt without grappling with a single important public service—without building a single. mile of railway—without constructing a public building—to the extent of thirty-eight thousand pounds.
Now let me show what followed the change of administration,—when the public business was taken out of the hands of the hon. member for East Halifax, and placed in those of the present government. I have no hesitation in saying that my hon. friend, the Financial Secretary, if he were to leave public life to-morrow, would be able to point his fellow-countrymen with pride to the record which he would leave behind of the manner in which he had managed the public affairs. There is no man who has a child to be educated—who requires to use a public highway—who does not owe a debt of gratitude to my hon. friend and his colleagues for the management of the financial affaire of this Province. I will glance, for a short time, at the position of the country, and contrast the three years we have been in power—leaving out 1863, which was divided between both governments—with the three years our predecessors managed the public business. Now take the leading services, and what do you get from them?
The revenue received from customs and excise, light duty, railways, crown lands and licenses, gold mines, coal mines, fees and hospital for the insane during the three years—1860, ’61 and ’62 -under the late Financial Secretary, Mr. Annand, was $2,808,300.48, while the revenue collected from the same sources during 1864, ’65 and ’66 under the present government was $4,428,433,25, shewing a balance of no less than $1,620,132.77, in favor of the present Financial Secretary, yet the hon. member for East Halifax ventures to challenge a discussion as to their relative claim to public confidence. I ask now does It become the late Financial Secretary—whose only credit to public support is that he increased the ton per cents. to 12 1/2 per cent—to challenge the financial management of the present government. Let me remind the House that this 12 ½ per cent. passed away with the hon. member’s retirement from office. It will be, therefore, seen […]
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[…] in making the comparison that I give the gentle. men opposite credit for all the money derived from the burthen of 2 1/2 per cent that they imposed upon the people over and above the ton per cent duty under which we have collected such an enormous revenue.
Yet it is in the face of figures like those I have given that the hon. gentleman has presumed to make the statements he did. The man who took credit for a paltry increase of $80,000 in the revenue during one year he was in office—an increase which he attributed to the vigilance and superior management of himself and colleagues —now comes in and challenges my hon. friend with being incompetent because he can show nearly two millions of dollars in three years over and above what the ex-Financial Secretary was able to collect.
IMPORTS AND EXPORTS
When you look at the condition of every department of the public service, you will find the same vitality and progress exhibited. During the three years the gentlemen opposite were in power there was a complete stagnation in enterprise, and I ask them to point me to a single act which entitles them to the slightest claim as men of progress. The railway made no progress—they left it where they found it. No public works were constructed, except, I believe, the pier at Digby, which the tide washed away the other day. What is our position? The moment we came into power, and confidence was restored among men of capital and enterprise, the tide of prosperity again flowed back, and has gone on, until we now close the Legislature and go to receive from the people their verdict in the most triumphant attitude that ever public men stood in a country before. What do yon think was the total amount of imports during the three years of the administration of the hon. gentleman —when confidence was shaken from one end of the country to the other, under the inefficient and paralyzing effect of the financial management of the member for Eat Halifax? The total amount was $24,113,708. During the three years of the present Administration those imports have increased from $24,000,000 to $41,000,000, the exact amount being $41,367,312.
The exports show a similar state of things, though the trade returns, as it is well known, give the most feeble exhibit of the actual exports from the country. If we added the amounts derived from our shipping, in ships sold and the amounts which come back in bills of exchange, and from other sources of wealth, the exports would be really beyond the imports. The exports rose from $18,000,000, under the administration of the honorable gentleman, to $24,000,000 under the present, Government. I give these facts as an evidence of the confidence that is inspired in trade the moment men have charge of the public affairs in whom the country has faith.
CUSTOMS AND EXCISE.
Thon. the customs and excise rose from $2,089,898.77 to $3,299,335.32 under the present government. Here is another evidence of the vigilance and efficient management of public affairs by men who have labored earnestly and zealously for the promotion of the public service.
THE CROWN LANDS DEPARTMENT.
Take the Crown Lands Department, and what do you find? Upon what does the prosperity of a country depend? Is it not upon the imducement that is offered to men to come in and open up the waste lands and make them valuable? Under the management of our predecessors the Crown Lands Department only collected in the first year $22,168.63. In the next year it to tell to $17,363.63c. What does that mean? It means that no sooner did the late Financial Secretary get into power than the people of this country opened up no more wilderness lands, fur they had no confidence in the administrative ability of the hon. gentleman. More than that, during those three years there was a complete system of retrogression in all the elements of wealth and prosperity. In 1862 the receipts from the Crown Lands went down still lower, to $16,601.69. The total Receipts during the three years were $5,132.95. I ask the House to contrast that exhibit with the record we shall leave behind. During the three years we have been in power, the receipts rose to $136,579.01. Thus under an improved administration—under one in which the people had confidence—the receipts more than doubled.
Take the gold mines again, and what do you find? The hon. member only collected, down to 1863, $47,650.52 from this source, whereas under the three years of the present administration $69,108.33. Mas it to be expected that men of capital and enterprize would willingly develop the re sources of this country, after the position that the hon. member for East Halifax had taken with reference to the mining interest of this country? I am proud to exempt the late Attorney General (Mr. Archibald), who, with a spirit of patriotism which has also marked his conduct on another great question, stood forward and gave to the party in power his hearty co-operation in effecting the most valuable change that was ever made in connection with the development of the industrial resources of the country. Regardless of the ties of party, Mr. Archibald united with Mr. Johnston and his party, for the purpose of throwing open the minces and minerals of this Province, so long under a complete monopoly, to the capital and enterprise of the world. If Mr. Archibald had no other claim to public consideration, this alone would be sufficient to entitle him to the eternal gratitude of Nova Scotia. When the arrangement that had been made by the delegates in London—an arrangement most favorable to this Province—came to be ratified by this Legislature, what position did the hon. member for East Halifax take? Why, he placed himself in direct hostility to this great measure, which has conferred such untold benefits upon the people of this country. Therefore, I say, when the capitalists of Europe, the United States, and of this country saw that the man who had been so obstructive—who had shewn that he was the enemy of progress […]
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[…]—was placed in the position of Finance Minister, they naturally shrank from investing their money in this country. It is not therefore surprising that during the three years the hon. gentleman held power, the receipts from the coal mines were only $95,036.07. Let me show the record that was exhibited when the hon. member was relieved from the responsibility of dealing with the finances of this country, and a new administration, in whom capitalists and men of enterprize had confidence, came into office. The returns from the coal mines rose to $188,716.03. I give that to the hon. member as one of the fruits of the fact that he was not in a position to obstruct the prosperity of the country.
The hon. gentleman made a strong appeal for the confidence of the country, before he went out of office, on the ground that there had been a small increase in the revenue of the railway. Nobody ought to have been surprised that a railroad in its third year would have a larger revenue than its first year, and when it had not time to develop itself. Now we have received $562,831.59 for the receipts of the railway against $376,767.26 when the department was in the hands of the hon. member and his friends.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE POSITION OF FINANCE MINISTER.
The importance of having the public finances managed by able bands cannot be over-estimated. in England, the great Liberal party have only one man to whom they look as their master in finance—The great Conservative party, the moment they take office, entrust the financial management of the country to one man above all others. In England, as in every country, the intelligent public look with greater interest to the ability of the man who is to fill the position of Finance Minister than they do to all the other ministers put together. They know that unless he has the capacity to understand the trade of the country, and to grasp the subject of finance in all its details, there is no security for industry and enterprise. Then I say it was not strange that when the man who had shown himself the enemy of all progress—as the obstructive of the best interests of the Province—had become Finance Minister, trade and enterprise should have languished.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE PUBLIC MONEYS—ROADS AND BRIDGES.
I have now shewn the House what prosperity evinced itself in every department the moment the present government came into power. This prosperity occurred, not under what we may call the “Annand tariff,” the highest ever known in this Province, but under a tariff twenty-five per cent lower. The question now occurs, what was done with all this money? Let any one look over the face of this country and lie will sec the way In which the public moneys have been expended. What was given by the gentlemen opposite for the road and bridge service-in which everybody, from the highest to the lowest, feels so deep an interest-on which depends the ability of the people to communicate so freely with one another, and take their produce to market. All that they gave for three years for this important service was $324,100; but what do we find when we come to look at the claim. or the present administration to support in this particular. We have put against the sum given by our predecessors the munificent amount of $805,676. Is not that a fact which should enable my hon. friend, the Financial Secretary, to go into any county in this Province and ask its support and confidence. Not only have we thus generously dealt with the road and bridge service, but whenever there was a great and stringent necessity for some important undertaking we freely lent it our assistance.
Another most important service is Education. We all feel that the entire progress and prosperity of the country depends upon the means the people have of educating their children. Men sprung from the lowest ranks of life have been able to become the ornaments of their country, because, in their growth, they have been afforded facilities for educating and maturing their minds. I ask then what is due to a Government who grappled vigorously with the question of education which the Census of 1861 shewed to be in a most deplorable condition. What is due to the men who, with a single eye to the best interests of the country, and regardless of popular feeling, came forward and gave the country the blessings derived from Free Schools—who gave to the children of the poor the means of obtaining the best education the country could afford. Instead of the $199,800—which the hon. member for East Halifax was able to give during the three years le was in power—the present Administration have given no less a sum than $355,305 for the same service. I do not claim for the present Government the entire credit for the system of education. The hon. member for Colchester occupied on this question the same patriotic position that he did in respect to the Mines and Minerals and the Union of Colonies. Regardless of the ties of party he assisted the Government to put the present law upon the Statute Book. So it may be said of the bon member for Inverness (Mr. Blanchard); but the hon. member for East Halifax did his utmost, in the press and elsewhere, to embitter the public sentiment of this country against the measure and to obstruct the enlightenment of the intellect of the people.
Then there is the service of navigation securities—a service which has such important connection with the shipping interest of this country—that interest which has done so much to add to the wealth of the country. The total amount given to that service during the three years that the hon. member was in power was $10,283. On the other hand, during the three years we have been in office, we have granted to this service the sum of $171,620. I give that as the claim we have to the favorable consideration of all those persons interested in the shipping interest of this country.
THE DEFENCES OF THE COUNTRY.
But there is another service which is, perhaps, more vitally important to the country than roads and bridges or navigation securities; it is not as popular a service, but it is most important—I mean the defence of the […]
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[…] country. Who is there that does not know and feel that if you wish to invite capital and enterprize into your country—if you wish to encourage mon to expend their money in the developement of its resources, you must give them a guarantee that the results of their labors will be preserved and protected. Now, I would like the House to look at the position which’ the hon. member occupies in comparison with that of the present Finance Minister in relation to this question. Now, I tell the louse that the great Power with which we are connected requires that the people should show that they are prepared to come forward, and by means of the public treasury and personal service, prove that they are desirous of perpetuating the connection. Who is there that does not know that this expenditure on our part is still more important as inspiring the great Power upon which we lean for protection with the confidence that the great sacrifices they have made in the past, and they are prepared to make in the future, will be appreciated by us, and will be met by corresponding exertions on our part? Just before leaving England my colleagues and myself had the honor of an interview with His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, the Commander-in-Chief, with Gen. Peel and the Colonial Minister, and when we explained what this and the other Provinces had done, and were prepared to do, in reference to the defences, the Minister of War (General Peel) said: “I am glad, gentlemen, that you have stated those facts so fully, for I can go down to Parliament and ask for the large grants that will be required in connection with the defences of British North America, because I shall have evidence to show that these loyal Provinces are ready to put their own shoulders to the wheel, and give such co-operation to the British Government as will, in case of conflict, prevent it being humiliated by any Power.”
Now, we have to put against the $36,000 given by our predecessors no lest a sum than $191,000. I give this as an evidence that, without an additional shilling of taxation imposed upon the people, we are able to give this handsome contribution to the public defences. And if the comparison was drawn between the amounts actually paid, it would be found that whilst the late Government expended $35,619,55, we paid actually $197,413.07.
THE FOREGOING RESULTS SUMMED UP.
Now, if we take all these important services I have enumerated, we find that we have a balance against the late Financial Secretary of
$481,576—Roads and Bridges
or a total of $959,831—or nearly a million of dollars that we have expended more than was given by the late Financial Secretary.
The hon. member also referred to the question of Retrenchment. That question has already been se fully explained that it seems almost trifling with the house to go into it at present. I would direct the attention of the hon. member to the fact that when I proposed a system of Retrenchment I did so—and the hon. member’s own journal will prove it—on this ground: that when the hon. member came to confess that under his financial administration the entire revenue of the country with a 10 per cent. duty—after giving a mere pittance to the Road and Bridge service—had not met the expenditure to the extent of £38,000, and that he was obliged, under these circumstances, to propose to tax the people 12 1/2 per cent.; thon. I resisted the proposal and argued that in the depressed condition of the country the public expenditures ought to be brought, if possible, within the revenue, instead of imposing additional burthens on the country. But, sir, in the presence of the country I declared whilst proposing reductions in the salaries of certain public officers—and I refer the house to my speech as reported in full in the journal owned and edited by the hon. member,—that I based my entire demand upon the depressed condition of the country, and instead of saying that salary of the office thus held by my predecessor was too high, I stated frankly that I had held it for three years and had gone out of it a poorer man than I went in; and in addition to this I pledged myself, the moment the circumstances of the country warranted it to restore the salaries I proposed to reduce in consequence of the existing urgent necessity, to their former amounts.
The next year, it is true, there was not the same necessity for retrenchment, and I did not move the same resolution; but I proposed au inquiry into the public expenditures for the purpose of finding whether it was not possible to make such reductions as would enable us to give larger grants to the roads and bridges and public schools. Now, I ask the hon. member whether, when we came into power, and we were able to give such enormous amounts to roads and bridges, education, and other public services, we were in a position to make reductions in the public expenditures which had only been proposed at a time of a great public emergency, and which wore only to continue as long as that public necessity existed. Besides, it should be remembered that the Civil List could not be touched; for, when I proposed my scheme, the leader of the Government applied to England and obtained the declaration from the Imperial Government that they would not consent to have the civil list reduced. But I can say that I have in reality held office since I carne into power at a hundred ponds less salary than was enjoyed by my predecessor. Is there any one acquainted with Halifax who does not know that the cost of living has largely increased within four years-that the £600 which I proposed to give the Provincial Secretary in 1862 was a larger salary than £700 now, Take rental and every article of living and it is obvious that the present administration have held office at much smaller salaries than those enjoyed by their predecessors. The moment, however, we obtained permission, under the Act of Union, to deal with the Civil List, we brought forward a retrenchment measure which will save in salaries and the expense of the Legislature over thirty thousands dollars per annum.
THE COST OF DELEGATIONS.
The hon. member, in his speech of yesterday, admitted that I could claim credit for having reduced the cost of delegations to one half of what it had been, under himself and friends. The […]
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[…] first time I was appointed delegate to England, instead of drawing the £500 which my predecessor had always drawn, I reduced the amount to £300. I give that first to the hon. member as a proof that this was an economical and retrenching Government. He says that my predecessor, on his last delegation, only received £300; but to whom is the saving due? Is it not to those who made the reduction, and rendered it impossible to exceed the amount? The hon. member says that the late delegation received £500 apiece. Is there a member who would question the propriety of £500 being given for services which extended to some seven or eight months residence in London and were of so important a character! But I am in a position to relieve the hon. member’s fear that the treasury of this Province is to suffer in consequence of having a large sum of money drawn for this service. By one of the resolutions of the conference, it was decided, that every dollar taken from the revenues of the several Provinces should be refunded by the General Government, for it was considered an expenditure affecting all the Provinces that were united.
But the hon. member says that I have not abandoned the practice of my profession which he says was worth, when I accepted office, from one to two thousand pounds a year. Now, I will give him time to make a very simple calculation: how much money have I put into my pocket by receiving £500 for eight months absence from the country, when I was in the enjoyment of a private practice of between one and two thousand pounds a year? I admit frankly that the hon. member did not overstate the position that I occupied as a professional man in this city, when invited to become Provincial Secretary. When I was called upon to accept office, I admit that I did so at an immense personal sacrifice. Although it was Impossible to shake myself clear of my professional duties—although I have given a certain amount of my time to such duties—yet it is well known that none of my predecessors gave more time to the public service than I have; and when I went to Prince Edward Island, Canada, and England, the amount of compensation I received was entirely insignificant in comparison with the loss I sustained. When I went to Canada, in connection with the delegation, I only received from the treasury the sum of $400 for the service. It appears, from a memorandum from the Financial Secretary’s office, that my predecessor drew $600 for a similar service. I do not say that my services were equally valuable, but I can say that the fruits of the delegation were not so useless. The only valuable feature of the delegation of the hon. gentleman was a speech he delivered at Port Robinson, in which he pledged himself in the most emphatic manner to the Union of the Colonies. Mr. Howe went on a delegation to Canada and England in 1861, and again in 1862; and it was not altogether without its fruits, for it resulted in the appointment of himself as Fishery Commissioner, with a salary of £1000 a year. I forget the excuse for that delegation—
Mr. Annand—The Railway.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—The railway that is not to pay the price of the grease for its wheels! Altogether, then, he drew from these delegations $4000. Now I will show that the total amount that will be borne by our treasury for the services of your humble servant was little more than one-half. I went to Canada for the purpose of organizing a survey of the Intercolonial Railway. This survey has never cost this Province a dollar, and it resulted in proving that there was a thoroughly practicable line through the centre of New Brunswick, 50 miles shorter than the North line. The entire amount I drew for travelling expenses whilst engaged on that service was $200. I drew but $160 for the delegation on the Union of the Colonies to Charlottetown, authorized by this House, although it occupied some considerable time in connection with the conference which has led to such important results.
Then this House passed a law under which they authorized the construction of a trunk line of railway to connect Truro with Moncton, in case we could get British capitalists to come into the field and do the work. The International Contract Company, with whom correspondence had taken place on the subject, asked that a delegate should be sent to England in order to enter into negotiations on the subject I went, at an expense of $40, to New Brunswick, to confer with its Government, as the line would run in both Provinces; and it was there arranged that a joint delegation should go to England. For that delegation, which occupied some months, I drew the sum of $1500. I thon. went to Ottawa in relation to the fisheries, and to carry out arrangements for the delegation to England, accompanied by a gentlemen from the opposite side. The entire amount drawn for our travelling expenses was $200. Now, the whole amount the Province will have to pay for the important and fruitful delegations in which I have been engaged during four years is only $2500.
It is true that the company with which we made a contract during the delegation of 1865 failed to keep their engagements, but this arose from the financial embarrassment that prevailed, and which led to the stoppage of companies like Overend, Gurney & Co. That delegation was at the same time charged to apply to the Imperial Government with reference to the position that this Province occupied as to the negotiation of commercial treaties with the United States. The result was that a status was given to the Maritime Provinces that they never enjoyed before. Mr. Howe had, on this floor, denounced in the moat eloquent terms the manner in which this Province was treated when the Reciprocity Treaty was ratified. That treaty was closed with the Government of Canada without this Province being even able to reach Washington. I felt that this was a position which the Province ought not to occupy, and therefore my colleague and myself made such a statement to the Imperial Government that a despatch was sent immediately to Sir Frederick Bruce, requiring him not only to consult with the Province of Canada, as he had been instructed before, but with the Maritime Provinces as well. The Imperial Government, for the first time, authorized the appointment of a Colonial Conference for the purpose of negotiating treaties in which the Provinces were interested. If I had done nothing else, I did […]
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[…] more, on this single occasion, to elevate the status of Nova Scotia than all the previous delegations. The Conference was held at the call of the Governor-General, and although the measure of the Union must render it hereafter unnecessary, yet it has led already to important results. A commission was sent to the West Indies and the Brazils in order to see if new lines of communication could not be opened up with these countries. The hon. member for East Halifax has challenged the expenditure for this service; but it should be remembered that the delegates had to go first to England, and place themselves in communication with the Imperial Government, in order to receive the authority necessary to deal with this question. On the mission my hon. friend was detained for very many months. Information of the most valuable character was obtained—information which is going to increase trade and stimulate intercourse between British America and these Southern countries. As soon as the Confederate Government is formed a line of steam communication will be opened up with these countries.
The hon. member also referred to a matter which is rather of a personal character, and that was, that I held the office of Medical Officer of this city at the same tine that I was Provincial Secretary. I do not complain, however, of the reference made to me on this point; for I feel that the people are entitled to every information in respect to their public men. When I was not a member of the government, the City Council did me the honor of electing me to this important office, although the renumeration la merely nominal. Its emolument is perfectly insignificant—some £60 a year, but I was not reluctant to take the office, because I had seen that the condition of the diseased poor in this city was not creditable to Halifax or to the country. I endeavored in the discharge of the duties of that office to make a change for the better in this particular. The first report I made propounded a scheme by which the city could obtain the services of the best medical men without a single shilling of expense, and proposed to abolish the office I held. From that day until I gave up the office, I labored earnestly to carry out the reforms I considered so necessary. I always felt that if I had given up the office before I did, an additional barrier would be interposed to carrying out the scheme that I was determined should be carried out-by which the City Hospital could have the benefit of the best talent amongst us. At the lest session I was able to get an Act passed by which the diseased poor were enabled to receive that attention which previously had been denied them, under which a poor person can come from the most remote part of the Province, and be treated in a hospital that is worthy of the name. As soon as this was accomplished I at once resigned that office. As respects the character of the office, I can only say that it is one connected with the honorable profession to which I belong, and requires high attainments and a knowledge of that which is of the most vital importance, and that is, the best means of promoting the public health of the country.
THE PUBLIC DEBT UNDER CONFEDERATION.
I shall now refer, in conclusion, to the remarks made by the hon. member in respect to the debt with which we shall enter the Confederation. I can only say that should the debt exceed $8,000,000 by $500,000 it is provided for. There is a clause in the Imperial Act which will at once relieve the province from any charge in connection with the additional amount. This clause provides that in case the debt of any province exceeds the amount stated in the Act—$8,000,000 for Nova Scotia, $7,000,000 for New Brunswick, and $62,500,000 for Canada—that province shall be charged 5 per cent. by the general government on that portion of the debt in excess of its proportion; but, on the other hand, it is provided that the Assets represented by that debt shall belong to the province. For instance, £50,000 will have have been expended in the erection of the Provincial Building opposite, and if our debt exceeds the $8,000,000 by the amount required for that building, then it becomes our own property If the general government used it for a Post Office they would have to pay the rent into the treasury, thus reliving the province from the charge of a single dollar.
The hon. gentleman concluded by apologizing to the house for the length of time he had occupied its attention, but he felt compelled, in justice to the government and to its friends in and out of the Legislature, to give the fullest explanations lie was able in answer to the strictures of the gentlemen opposite.
Mr. Heffernan introduced a bill to enable the members for Guysboro to borrow $40 on the credit of the road grant for that county, for the completion of Salmon River bridge. He also moved the second reading of the bill to divide a polling district in the county of Guysboro, The bill was read a second time.
Dr. Brown said—It will be expected that I should say a few words in reply to the hon. Provincial Secretary remarks in reference to the Chairman of the Board of Works,—and I must say I was surprised at the tone and manner of those remarks. I cannot see why I should be attacked because that department has been accused of malpractices. Whether those accusations are true or false, surely, situated as I am, sixty miles away, I could use no supervision, and could not prevent it. I say, if they were true, but I presume they are not true; I do not for a moment believe that anything extraordinary has occurred in that office to deserve the censure of this house and the country. It seems to be an old practice in the Department of Works, existing ever since it was created, and in other departments as well, for members of the board to purchase goods and supplies for the use of the various institutions under their charge. I do not think this is a good practice, and I so expressed myself last winter, when the hon. […]
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[…] member for Shelburne introduced a bill to put a stop to it. Mr. Pugh was only following the example of Mr. Gibson. It is not true that I approved of the attack on the Chairman of the Board of Works. I did not smile on and encourage that attack, as the hon. Provincial Secretary has said. I felt sorry it was made; I regretted it, both on his account and my own; I had no reason to suppose such an attack would be made. It is true I was a member of the Committee of Public Accounts; but the Accounts of the Works Department were not submitted to my examination, and I heard no remarks made relative to them before the committee, nor was there any mention made in the report of the committee; therefore I could not foresee that such a charge was to be made. But if this charge be true, and the Board is guilty of the waste and fraud imputed to them, brother or no brother, I cannot afford to sustain him in it. I am not here to encourage any practices of the kind. But I do not believe it I know he was honest and faithful when he came here, and as every man is innocent until proved guilty, I shall continue to disbelieve until an investigation is had and the public verdict is given. The hon. gentleman is angry because do not sustain him in all his measures, especially his Confederation scheme. Does he place me so low in the ranks of men that I am to have no mind of my own—that I must blindly follow him wherever he leads, because I happen to have a brother in a subordinate office? As long as I have had the honor of a seat here, I have endeavoured to act consistently and conscientiously, and I trust I shall continue to do so in future.
Mr. C. J. Campbell said that in the discussion on the Presbyterian Church Bill, which took place a day or two ago, he found from the report the Provincial Secretary made an assertion which surprised him. The Provincial Secretary had said that le had both written and telegraphed to him (Mr. C.) asking the appointment of an arbitrator in the case of the Middle River dispute. fie asked the Government to lay the papers on the table, and denied having ever obstructed the settlement of the dispute.
Mr. Annand said:—In continuation of the adjourned debate, I feel called upon, even at this late period of the Session, to make a few remarks in reply to the very animated, and I may add, excited speech of the Provincial Secretary this morning. I was glad to find that in addressing the House he did not attempt to justify the action which was called in question of a member of the Board of Works. I was glad to hear him say that it was the intention of the government to have all the facto enquired into instead of attempting to justify anything which appeared like abuse or corruption. In justice to the hon. member for South Kings, who has just spoken, I must say that, to the best of my belief, not a single fact which was brought to the notice of the House was communicated either by that gentleman or his brother, the Chairman of the Board. Mr. McLelan was a member of the Committee on Public Accounts, and I may explain that the committee are accustomed to divide the labour among the several members, each gentleman taking up a department, and that hon. member took charge of the accounts et the Board of Works. In the discharge of his duty he made a searching enquiry and brought the result to the notice of the House without any previous intimation either to the member for South Kings or to the Chairman of the Board. The Provincial Secretary has been pleased to refer to the management of the Board, under the previous administration, when Mr. Gibson was a member. It is true that on one occasion that gentlemen tendered to supply and obtained flour or meal, the contract; but it never was pretended that his tender was not the lowest, and that his prices were not the lowest In the market. But mark the difference between the two cases; here we find an officer not tendering for a few barrels of fleur or meal, but furnishing supplies of goods amounting to some $20,000, many of them being articles In which he le not a dealer, but, which he, no doubt, purchased in the market. When the accounts I examined it is found that the original invoices are not before the Committee, and that the prices are in excess of those for which the article could be obtained on six months credit, while Mr. Pugh was receiving cash. That la the distinction between the two cases, and we see new what a misfortune It was that the bill which would have prevented this abuse was rejected by the Government at our last session The Provincial Secretary has undertaken to justify the expenditure in connection with the quarantine service, telling us that the Lieut. Governor, the General, and a number of private gentlemen visited the proposed station with him. My view of the way in which that duty should have been performed is very different from his If the Government were anxious to select a suitable site they should have secured the advice and attendance of members of the medical profession and other gentlemen of Sound judgment and practical experience, instead of converting the whole affair Into a more pleasure party to visit the island.
Hon. Financial Secretary—We did that.
Mr. Annand continued:—It should have been done independently of the trip to which, I referred, and, instead of having a grand entertainment on board the steamer, at which liquors and champagne flowed liked water, I maintain that the matter should have been gone into as a business transaction.
But the Provincial Secretary has also referred to a time when the members of a former Government spent £80 in an entertainment when laying the foundation atone of the Lunatic Asylum, and he therefore thinks it wrong that we should complain about the expenditure on the quarantine service; but what did he do on that occasion? When the account of that expenditure was produced, did he not denounce it as a piece of gross jobbery and corruption? and yet we find him spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars in a pleasure excursion—for it was nothing else—to McNab’s Island. He referred also to the small expenditure on opening the first section of the railway. If au outlay could be justified upon any occasion, it would be when, for the first […]
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[…] time, railways were introduced to the Province, and we witnessed the iron horse running over our roads. It is unfortunate that he should have thus drawn into comparison an entertainment warranted by the circumstances and concurred in by all parties, which he bad not the courage to assail at the time. Then lie told us that the present Government have opened a hundred miles of railway. I am glad of it; I am glad that the revenues and credit of the country will admit of such large public works being carried on. But does any one think that the Government can fairly take credit for the extension of our railways? The tariff under which those large sums of money were collected was the tariff of their predecessors. It la true that it was remodelled by Mr. Marshall in 1858; but when they charge us with having, for one year, raised the duties from 10 to 12 1/2 per cent., they should remember that the Attorney General and Mr. Marshall, and not the Government of which I was a member, increased the tariff from 6 1/2 to 10 per cent.
The Provincial Secretary claims credit, also, for expending large sumo on the roads and bridges, and education, and navigation securities,—but what credit are they entitled to? Were they to allow the money which flowed in under the tariff bequeathed to them by their predecessors to accumulate in the treasury? We added 2 1/2 per cent, it is true; but before we left office we reduced it again, contrary to the wishes of gentlemen opposite, and under that tariff of 10 per cent. the revenues of the past year came in. And, air, would not the treasury have been as fall as if those gentleman had never been in existence—if their clerks, without their aid, had conducted the public business? But the late Government, on the other hand, were entitled to credit. When they came into power they found the Halifax revenue department completely demoralized; there was no organized water-side arrangement, no night watch, and under their rule the system was entirely remodelled. Stringent oaths were substituted for declarations, and stringent vigilance adopted in all parts of the country; and under that system, continued by our successors, the large revenues we have enjoyed have been brought.
The house was told that, as the result of out second year’s administration, we had a debt of £38,000; but Provincial Secretary is wrong again. I refer him to the Journals, where he will find that it is only £34,000—a small but characteristic mistake on the part of that gentleman. We are also told that when the late Financial Secretary came into office, at the very mention of his name every branch of industry was suddenly paralyzed—that our imports and exports immediately fell off—that capital ceased to flow into the country—that people shrank from working our coal and gold mins, and purchasing our Crown lands—that the traffic and travel on the railway was sensibly diminished—and that even the necessary daily consumption of the people was reduced when it was discovered that the office of Financial Secretary was conferred on the gentleman who filled that post under the late Government.
The time is not very distant when the Provincial Secretary and his friends never lost the opportunity to depreciate the ability of the late Financial Secretary,—if he wrote a pamphlet in London, or a brilliant article appeared in his paper the Provincial Secretary, on every occasion, tried to make it appear that the writer was au insignificant individual, without talent or influence, and that somebody else wrote the pamphlet or editorial; but here, to-day, for the first time we have heard that the gentleman who last held the seals of the Financial Secretary’s office was an individual of so much importance that his appointment affected the imports and exorts of the country—affected the working of our mines and the sale of our lands, and that such was he terror of his name that intending emigants were deterred from finding a new home in this Province. The late Financial Secretary claims no such distinction; he has up to the present time taken a comparatively subordinate part in public affairs, and if circumstances have recently led him to assume a more prominent position, it was because of the desertion of other gentlemen whom he would have preferred to follow. We were told of the great evils inflicted on the country in relation to the settlement of Crown Lands when the late Financial Secretary held office,—I was under the impression that the Crown Land Department was managed by the same officer, and under the same regulations, then as now. As every one knows, the American civil war was the cause of the falling off in the revenue In 1861, but the revenue rose rapidly when trade found new channels. I thought also that the railway was managed, not by the Financial Secretary, but by a distinguished individual, then a warm opponent; but now the fast friend of the Provincial Secretary. Over and over again have I heard the Provincial Secretary rise and assail the late Commissioner of Railways, who was considered too exacting and parsimonious, and was generally believed to have carried the system of retrenchment too far. If there was one officer more than another that made the government unpopular it was the late Commissioner of Railways, but I apprehend that his management had no effect in diminishing the traffic over the lines. I remember, when the scheme of railway retrenchment was brought down in 1860, the question was put to me: “What amount do you propose to retrench in the Revenue Department? My answer was that I believed the officers under my charge were not over paid, and that if we reduced their salaries we would impair the public service. I said: “Gentlemen, if yon intend to carry out the system of retrenchment, begin with your own salaries, and then I will be prepared to apply the pruning knife to the Revenue Department,” that was my reply; and I believe it f would have been better if the commissioner had allowed the officers on the railway to enjoy the salaries which they fairly earned.
We were told that immediately on the change of government our revenues came up. It is true that our imports and exports did increase, and with them the products of our r mines and sales of crown lands, by which large I sums were placed at the disposal of the government;—all that did take place, but the tide of prosperity had commenced to flow in long before the change of government. On the 31st Dec. 1861, the balance against the treasury was $136,000, and by putting on the additional 2 ½ per cent. we were enable to pay off that debt and show a surplus in the treasury.
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Hon. Provincial Secretary—The hon. member’s returns showed in the last quarter, with the additional 2 1/2 per cent. a falling off of $17,000 as compared with the previous year.
Mr. Annand continued—The hon. gentleman is quite right and the explanation which la simple is this: The alteration of the tariff was no secret in the community, and knowing that the duties would be reduced in a few days the merchants did not withdraw their goods from warehouse until after the close of the quarter. The hon. gentleman would have us believe that on the change of administration his new-born Financial Secy. worked a marvellous change, but he forgets that the gentleman who fills that office made his first appearance after the elections as Commissioner of Railways, and if there be any credit attaching to the increase in our prosperity during the first year, it is due to his predecessor Mr. LeVesconte, but as I have already said the tide of prosperity commenced to flow before we left office, those gentlemen found a balance in the treasury, and the revenue which they collected in 1863 and since that time was obtained under a tariff bequeathed to them. Does the Pro. Secy. mean to tell me that because one Financial Secretary was taken from Isle Madame and his successor from the backwoods of Pictou, that larger sums of money flowed into the treasury? Does he mean to insult the Intelligence of the, country by such an assertion? As I said yesterday, if every one of these gentlemen had been in Jerusalem or Jericho the money would have come in. But the Provincial Secretary told us that under our administration the people were leaving the country;—they spent $20,000 last year on immigration, with how much effect the report of the department will show, the greater part of it unauthorized by the House, which might as well have been thrown into the sea.
Where are the immigrants now?, They were brought into the country, and their passages paid,—the greater number making this a halfway house to the United States. But we are told that the moment the present government came into power, and the present Financial Secretary was entrusted with the seals of office, the public began to import more and export more—that the work in the mines increased—that there was a rush for the crown lands. These were the results, as we were informed, of my leaving office and his succeeding me. It is a great pity that the marvellous abilities of the Financial Secretary should be limited to so small a sphere—that a gentleman whose mere appointment to office should cause the revenues to swell so suddenly, and Induce men to rush to the mines and seize the crown lands, should bury his talents under a Nova Scotia bushel. We have heard of the Galts and other eminent financiers of Canada, but I think it would be well for the Canadians to import our Financial Secretary. Who knows but in that extensive field for the exercise of his great financial ability, lie might convert deficits into surpluses, and so increase the trade and credit of that country that its government and people might be able to bold up their heads in the market of the world, and obtain the money they require on equal terms with New Zealand, the Ca and the Australian colonies. I can perfectly understand the references which we heard this morning to the Financial Secy. After the exhibition of yesterday, it was necessary that something should be said in his behalf—that some one should come forward to rescue him from the difficulties in which we saw him floundering, and in view of the election which must soon come off in the county of Pictou, where all the eloquence of the Provincial Secretary and all his energy will be required In the support of his friend.
As regards the mining monopoly the gentlemen with whom I was associated did all in their power to break it up, and I believe at this hour that better, terms should have beau obtained than those which were eventually secured. Th movement against that monopoly commenced with the old Liberal party, and the obstructive party in the House was not that led by Mr. Young and Mr. Howe, but that which followed the present Judge in Equity, who, as the paid agent of the General Mining Association, offered every obstruction year after year, and but for his efforts the monopoly might have been broken up years before.
The Provincial Secretary dwelt at length upon the large grants to roads and bridges and education. The large increase ln the revenue is not due to the government, but to the consumption of dutiable articles—to the industry of the people—to the exertions of the men who go into the woods, fell the timber and build ships,—to the men who work our mines—to the men who till the soil and beautify our country—to the sturdy fishermen who draw wealth from the bosom of the deep-to men in every branch of business who are promoting the industry of the Province. And in this connection I would ask, under whose administration was gold discovered ln this Province?
Hon. Provincial Secretary—Gold was discovered during the term of office of the government of which I was a member.
Mr. Annand continued:—Well, I can only say that the first practical illustration of the value of our gold mines was given by the late government, and we might as well claim credit for the sums added to our revenue from that source as gentlemen opposite can claim credit for the general increase of revenue during their term of office.
The House will remember that in a former session the gentleman who was recently the Leader of the Opposition, and who held the position of Attorney General under the late Government, was violently assailed by the Provincial Secretary on a charge of making an improvident bargain in connection with the mines at Lunenburg, and the charge was repeated over and over again in the press and in the Assembly; —with his usual vehemence the Provincial Secretary assailed the government of the day for the ignorance and mismanagement which he charged them with displaying la the purchase of property there; but what do we find these gentlemen doing? Down at Tangier, within the lest year, these gentlemen, through one of their departments, conveyed a lot of land, which did not belong to the government, and after the lessee had expended a—large sum of money in buildings and improvements, he was dispossessed by the owner, who brought a suit in Court, when the Government had to step in and at the cost of $2000,. reimburse the party for the lease which they had made contrary to all law. I give this as a specimen of the blundering of gentlemen opposite, as an illustration of their mode of conducting the public […]
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[…] business during the last four years. But I find there has been another improvident bargain made within the last few days. I refer to the contract made for supplying wood on the Pictou Railway, which, I understand, has been entered into, extending over a period of five years. Here is a railway running to the mouth of a coal mine, and just on the eve of its being opened, we find the government entering into a contract for a supply of wood, which is necessarily far more costly than coal, for five years. I give that as another illustration of the administrative ability, skill, and economy of these gentlemen. I should like to bear that act defended in the presence of skilled engineers who know the difference between the consumption of coal and wood as regards cost.
We were told that the press under my control obstructed the educational measure. Lot me remind the Provincial Secretary that, whatever the merits or demerits of his scheme of education, I always voted with him; and the strictures in the press to which he alludes were the strictures made before the paper fell into my hands as responsible editor, by a gentleman with whom he is now closely allied. I may remind him also that the gentleman who was formerly leader of the Opposition (Mr. Archibald) vehemently opposed the construction of the Council of Public Instruction, and the paper under my control, in that particular, only endorsed the language used by gentlemen whom the Provincial Secretary himself, within a few hours, has highly eulogised in connection with that measure.
Then the hon. member took credit for the large sum given for defence. I never objected to any vote for that service; and I must remind him that the Government of which I was a member brought down a grant of $20,000 at the very time when there was a deficiency of $136,000 in the treasury, and we were obliged to borrow money and levy an additional tax. And so little did the Provincial Secretary then value the character of the country and its credit abroad—so little loyalty and patriotism did he then possess, that he moved a reduction to $8,000. If it be true—as I believe it is—that the granting of money for defence has the effect of inviting capital into a country, how was he so unpatriotic in 1862 when he proposed to cut down the grant to $8,000?
Hon. Provincial Secretary:—When the government brought down the proposition for a grant of $20,000 it was without any measure having been submitted in connection with the expenditure, but after the bill was introduced I withdrew my opposition.
Mr. Annand continued:—The hon. gentleman claims credit for having voted for the bill, but if he had succeeded in his motion there would have been no money to put into the bill;—that is the reply I give to his explanation.
The Provincial Secretary reminded us this morning of the grand scheme of retrenchment which he proposed in 1862, and he told us that on the pages of the press under my control would be found the pledge which he then gave, that if the revenues again came up he would be prepared to restore the salaries which he proposed to reduce. But he forgets that in 1863, when the indebtedness was paid of, and there was a surplus in the treasury, we find him coming down to the house and using language which I will quote, not from the Morning Chronicle, an authority so objectionable to him, but from that influential, creditable and respectable paper the British Colonist, which never ventures on misrepresentation, and which was thon. edited by himself. What do we find in that paper of the 24th March, 1863:
“I still entertain the same views that the expenditure of this country will permit a very considerable reduction without at all injuring the public service.”
That was after the revenues lad come up, and a year after retrenchment was unnecessary if his explanation be true. Again he says:
“I now intend again to invite the attention of the house to the subject of retrenchment.”
“The expenditure of the Government of this Province has constantly and steadily increased of late years, and is, in my opinion, unnecessarily extravagant.”
It will be remembered that in 1865 there was so close a division of parties, that the Government only held their positions by a majority of two or three and the leader, Mr. Howe thought proper to treat with gentlemen opposite to sec whether a coalition could not be formed, so that the base of the government might be widened, believing that there can hardly be a greater misfortune than a weak government, liable to be improperly, often perhaps unfairly, pressed by its own supporters. This was the remark of the Provincial Secretary on the subject of these proposals:
“But I told him (hon. Provincial Secretary) it was impossible for me to combine with him after the course he had taken in reference to the question of economy and retrenchment. Therefore I gave the country the best proof of my sincerity that ever can be given, when I determined to forgo any personal advantage in the service of the people. Sir, I have placed my hand to the plough, and I and those who sustain me are determined never to look back. We believe that there is extravagance in the public expenditure that ought to be retrenched, and we are prepared to co-operate only with those who will aid us in that work. The resolution which I am about to offer to the louse must command the support of every man who has not made up his mind to resist all economy and refuse to consider the propriety of effecting any reduction in the expenses of the Government. If this resolution passes I am prepared to propose large reductions in the estimate, which I believe may he effected, without in the slightest degree impairing the efficiency of the public service.”
This, it will be remembered, was after the revenue had come up, and the debt had been pa.id off; and yet this gentleman went to the hustings on his resolution of 1862 proposing a retrenchment of $79,000 and used the language which I have just read, in the closing hours of 1863. He went to the country preaching retrenchment at every hustings, and upon that cry his large majority was returned. I ask him again how has that pledge been redeemed? Has he made any attempt to curtail what he styled “the extravagant expenditure of the country.” Yes, sir, there was a commencement in 1864; his government proposed to cut down the salaries of the collectors of Pictou and Yarmouth, and I do not wonder that Mr. Killam, when he found that the retrench […]
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[…] which was to effect their own salaries was to be limited to four hundred dollars, and to two officers collecting a large amount of revenue at two of the most important ports of the Province, shrank from sustaining the government and has been found in the ranks of the opposition ever since. He could not consistently support gentlemen who went to the the [sic] country with the cry of retrenchment on their lips, and who, when they found themselves installed in power, not only did not retrench but largely increased the expenditure in every department.
I challenge these gentlemen, one and all, to show me a department in which the expenditure has not been largely increased; even the Attorney General’s office has a new charge of $212 for telegrams. I will not refer again to the hon. gentleman’s defence as regards the proposed reduction in the civil list; he had intelligence enough to know that certain charges on that list could not be touched, and he must have known likewise that it was impossible to effect the large saving which he proposed in 1862. We have been told about delegations and I am reminded that Mr. Howe received $400 for that service. It is said that these delegations were fruitless, and resulted in no good to the country. I ask the Provincial Secretary why it was that they had no immediate result? It was from no want of zeal or ability on the part of Mr. Howe that the great measure on which he visited the mother country and Canada was not accomplished, but it was because the Canadians, with whom the Provincial Secretary is allied, broke faith with him; and in proof of the fact, I refer the hon. gentleman to Mr. Tilley, of whom I am always disposed to speak with respect, for the proof that the Canadian delegates, on that occasion, behaved in a, manner discreditable to themselves and to the Province they professed to represent. I was glad to hear the Provincial Secretary say that the the [sic] cost of the recent delegation to England—$2,500 apiece to the six gentlemen who went, one of whom, it was said, only stopped long enough to see what o’clock it was—will be transferred to the government of the Dominion. I am glad of anything which will enlarge the sum hereafter to he at the disposal of the Province, because I feel that with the paltry pittance we are to receive, even the few thousand pounds, which those gentlemen put into their pockets, will he esteemed a boon by the people towards bridging their rivers, improving their roads, and increasing the grant to education. But giving them credit for that sum as returned to the treasury, it will be found that the large sum of $15,067 has been expended by the present administration in delegations nearly four times the amount spent by the late government. I invite the attention of the country to the fact that in three years these gentlemen have spent $15,000 against our $4,000.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—That $4000 was for Mr. Howe alone, and does not Include the expenses of the other delegates. The Queen’s Printer went on a delegation which cost $160.
Mr. Annand continued—I believe $160 was spent by the Queen’s Printer in a delegation, and that sum added to the $4080 will make $4240 as the entire cost of delegations during our four years of Government. I wish to guard the Provincial Secretary against those reckless assertions which he makes from time to time: he said that there were other delegates not charged for in the amount which I have given, and that while Mr. Howe had charged $600 for mission to Canada, he had been satisfied with $400. Now, I will put him right. Mr. Howe charged that $600 for three delegates, and I was one of them.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—I spoke from the entry in the Journals.
Mr. Annand continued:—If the hon. gentleman had examined the accounts with the care which he should have exercised before making such a statement, he would have found that Mr. Howe, Mr. McCully, and myself were content to take $200 a piece for our expenses to Canada, while these retrenching gentlemen, who were carried free of charge, and entertained with exhaustive festivities, bad the modesty to charge and put into their pockets just double the amount. That is my illustration of the difference between a Government that did not pretend to retrenchment and the Government that came in under that very cry. An attempt was made to justify the large expenditure on the delegation to the West Indies, but we know that almost any merchant in Halifax, with a little enquiry, could have given us all the information which we possess at this hour. I have no hesitation in pronouncing that expenditure a great job. Instead of that attempt to find new markets being regarded as an inducement to the American Government to renew reciprocity, is it not a fact that the effort was regarded as a menace, and has made that Government more determined than ever to refuse negotiation. Where are are [sic] we to find a market like that offered to us by the thirty-four millions of people beside us? The true policy of these Provinces undoubtedly is to cultivate good feeling with the United States, to conciliate its people, and not to menace and threaten what we are powerless to effect. Look at our mining enterprises alone,—where does the capital come from but the United States? Obviously, it is our interest to cultivate the trade between that country and ours. No other land, all the Colonies and countries of the tropics put together, can offer us a market for the product of our industry to be compared with that of our natural customers in the neighboring Republic.
The hon. gentleman was pleased to refer to a speech which I made on a former day, in which I referred to the fact of his carrying on a professional practice while a member et the Government. I should never have referred to him in that connection if he had not made a violent, virulent and unjustifiable attack upon me in regard to a gold mining company which was in operation in this country, but which has ceased to exist. He admits that he received a large amount of money for his professional services. I am glad that in that particular I did not misrepresent him; and it will be remembered that the ground I took was this: that the time of a public servant belongs to the people that he is paid for his time, and being amply paid, should be devoted exclusively to the public service. He told us that he made a large sacrifice in accepting the office of Provincial Secretary, and in going to England for seven months, but he did not tell us of the large prospective […]
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[…] advantages which he expects in the higher sphere which he hopes soon to attain;—and we must remember that not only his pay as a delegate, but his official salary, were going on while he was pursuing the object of his ambition. With his personal ambition I do not find fault; but we know that he and his colleagues have been devoting themselves to effect a change which will not merely add 2 1-2 p. cent. to out taxation for a single year, but will increase our burdens at least 50 per cent. for all time to come. These gentlemen boast about the reductions they have made at the eleventh hour, but I ask them why they did not apply the pruning knife when their own salaries were involved? They propose to make these reductions simultaneously with the transfer of our revenues to another country, and when as the member for North Colchester proved the other day, the duties will be so raised that on four articles alone we will pay an additional $300,000 a year.
The Provincial Secretary also told us that when Mr. Howe vent to England on the mission connected with the Intercolonial Railroad, he did nothing but secure for himself the office of Fishery Commissioner. I throw back that slanderous insinuation. Mr. Howe was guilty of no such meanness; the office was not vacant when he was in England, but vas conferred on him when he vas in this country, and if ever there was a man who deserved the consideration of the Imperial Government it was Mr. Howe. So far from his being guilty of selfishness in connection with his visits to England I know that by his efforts on the subject of Confederation he has sacrificed his prospects of preferment, not only with the present government of England but also with the party in op position. When the Reciprocity Treaty was repealed, he might, if se disposed, have kept the Fishery Commission open for a couple of years, receiving his salary, and the Home authorities would not have complained. Instead of which he hurried up his work and closed the commission that he might be in an independent position to urge upon the Home Government his views with regard to Confederation I know also that Lord Stanley, now Foreign Minister, sent to my friend a kind note thanking him not. only for the mode in which be had discharged the duties of his commission, but for his promptness in closing it up.
It does not become one in the Provincial Secretary’s position to assail a public man who, if he is now poor, has had temptations enough to be rich. If the Provincial Secretary has suddenly become wealthy, I ask the people to draw the contrast and ask themselves whether Mr. Howe might not, if he had chosen to be, now be even more independent in his circumstances. The hon. gentleman also attempted to explain his conduct in accepting the position of City Medical officer, but it is notorious that not only when out of office but long after he had been appointed Provincial Secretary, he canvassed to obtain and hold that paltry office “But,” says he, “I remained there that I might benefit the poor” Was it necessary that the premier of Nova Sco- [sic] Nova Scotia, as he delights to call himself, should seek a subordinate position under the City Fathers? That reason may satisfy the hon. member’s friends, but it will not carry much weight in the country, unless I misunderstand the intelligence of the people.
We have been told that in assuming our debt Canada is to take into consideration out assets as an offset. I looked into the act and all I can find is that any excess of our debt over eight millions must be a first charge on the future local government of this country. It is true that certain assets, with the assent of Canada, represented by the increased amount will be our property The new Provincial Building, for instance, may he assigned to the Local Government, but if it is, all we can do is charge the General Government rent for the Post office and such other general departments as may occupy it, and to that extent alone will we receive anything from Canada on account of the debt incurred in connection with its erection As I said on a previous occasion, my belief is taking the information under my hand, and to some extent groping in the dark for want of fuller information, that the debt of Nova Scotia, when the account is closed on the 30th of June, will be $8,500,000. The report of the committee on Public Accounts shows that the debt on 30th of September, including a subsequent issue of Treasury notes, was within a trifle of $8,400,000—so that, assuming that there is only $100,000 more to be added, and we know that heavy liabilities have been incurred in connection with the new building and other services—it will be seen that we will enter Confederation with at least $500,000 more indebtedness than will be assumed by Canada. This would not he a very large sum if we had control of all our revenues, but $25,000 a year to be deducted from the small pittance of 80 cents per head, will be a heavy charge on the local government. Even this year we had the road grant cut down by $64,00, by way of preparing us for Confederation and I do not hesitate to say that unless we reduce the grants to education and navigation securities and other indispensable public securities—if we allow a reasonable sum for the expenses of the Legislature and civil government—by entering confederation with a debt of $250,000, we will not have a dollar to spend on our road and bridges
As regards retrenchment, I have shown that the expenditure in every public department has been increased, and that additions were made to the number of public officers. I conclude by repeating that this government that came in with the cry of retrenchment on their lips have violated every pledge given to the people at the hustings. Retrenchment, and not Confederation, as was asserted by a member of the House of Commons, was preached at every hustings in the country, and that retrenchment scheme has been the foundation of Confederation. If it had not been for that cry, leading the people to believe that large sums of money were to be saved, these gentlemen would never have been in a position to […]
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[…] force Confederation on the country. The Provincial Secretary accused us of claiming credit for all the good measures which were introduced when we were in office, but if ever there was a set of men who adopted the measure of their predecessors, with the exception of retrenchment, it is the present government. The policy of the late administration was railway extension, and that is the only policy in connection with which these gentlemen can truly boast of success. We bequeathed to them the tariff under which they have collected the revenue, and the railway policy which they have been so successful in carrying out.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—I will not detain the House by an address of any length, but I wish to express my regret that by a memorandum prepared from the Journals in the Financial Secretary’s office, I was led into an error as to the amount taken by Mr. Howe for the delegation to Canada. The sum charged against him, I understand, includes the expenses of two of his colleagues. The effect of this is to reduce the $4,000, which I stated as drawn by him during his term of office, to $3,600 as against $2,500 drawn by me, leaving him still $1,100 over the sum which I received. I am glad that the hon. member has referred to the civil list, because he has thus enabled me to state what I had before overlooked; the very important fact that the moment the government accomplished the object of getting power to deal with the civil list, they introduced a retrenchment bill which reduces the amounts to be paid to the Legislature and the different public officers by $30,000 a year; and the hon. member true to his principle of resisting everything like retrenchment, resisted that measure as far as he was able, and that amount will be saved to the country, because we were enabled to carry the bill in spite of all the opposition which he and his friends could give to it. I will not go into the question whether Mr. Howe could or could not have retained his office for a longer time; but the statement of the hon. member tallies strangely with the despatch to Mr. Howe, which is on record, recommending him to close the business of his commission as soon as possible. A more imperative command to a public officer to stop drawing the public money never was put on record, and yet we are to accept the assurance that Mr. Howe would have been allowed to hold on. I did not bring any such charge against Mr. Howe as that he had sought his own interests only on the delegation, but I said that the only result of that delegation, for which the hon. member for East Halifax, as Financial Secretary, paid Mr. Howe $1,500, was to obtain a good office for himself, and that it therefore ill became his friend to talk about delegations. The hon. member tells us that Mr. Howe did everything in his power to accomplish the Intercolonial Railway, but does it lie in his mouth to say that he was engaged in promoting the interests of this country when he was forwarding a measure by which the province was to pay £50,000 per annum for a railway which was so worthless that it would not pay for grease for the wheels? I want to know what excuse he had to make for drawing $1,500 from the pockets of the people and for endeavoring to fasten on the country a liability of £50,000 per annum in connection with a work which was so worthless as that. We were told that the government had adopted the policy of their predecessors. Surely that should not be made a charge against us; but there is a great deal of truth in it; and the fact is, that on every occasion on which we have come forward and carried to maturity the measures on which the hon. member and his friends had staked their public reputation. we were met by the most determined hostility from him and his colleagues
On every question affecting the progress of this Province. the hon. gentleman has assumed the position of an obstructive. All the measures which my colleagues ‘and myself have been able to promote have been passed in the face of the obstruction of the hon. member. What did he do in reference to the Pictou Railway? He got over the hon. member for Yarmouth, and every one he could from this side of the house, in order to defeat and obstruct the Government in their progressive policy. So in respect to the great question of Union, to which he and his friends were so solemnly pledged, he stood forth the uncompromising opponent of the Government and the gentlemen who united with them to accomplish that measure of progress. The same course has been pursued by him with respect to the Inter-colonial Railway. No sooner did the present Government take it up and deal with it with the some success that has characterized their whole action in respect to all measures of progress, then he came forward and did all that man could do to prevent the people of this Province obtaining that great work. It was only necessary for the Government, in fact, to propound their policy on any question, and the hon. member ever came out to oppose them. I am quite willing that the hon. member should charge us with having adopted principles which he and his friends had propounded. It is the first duty of a public man to adopt that policy, and to promote these measures which they believe are essential to the prosperity and development of the country. But we have always stood true to the principles we have adopted, and carried them successfully through while the hon. member has deserted them. We have not spent the public moneys on fruitless delegations, but can point to the accomplishment of great measures as the evidence of our energy and zeal in the public service. I feel, however, that it is altogether unnecessary for me, to labour this question, for I feel that the house as well as the country fully appreciate the position of the hon. member. He stands before the people the opponent of measures of progress.
The hon. member has said that we were unable to give such a large grant to the road and bridge service this year in consequence of Confederation. He knows that the press under his control told the people some months ago that the country was in a bankrupt condition. Yet this Session he has told us that we were able to build a railway to Annapolis, the Inter-colonial road, and one to Cause as well. But the hon. member must know that it would be impossible to continue the extraordinary grants hitherto given to the road and bridge service the moment we had to bear the annual interest on the Pictou railway. He knows, too, that if it had not, been for Confederation we would not have been able to give the large extra […]
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[…] grant for the road and bridge service. Our financial position, when the expenses of our great public works are assumed by the General Government, would be far better than it would be if we remained without uniting ourserves [sic] with the other Provinces. Then we have made a large saving in the public expenditure by the measures we have passed this Session in reference to the local constitution. The hon. member says we have increased the public debt by $200,000; suppose we had, although I deny the accuracy of his statements, have we got nothing to show for it? How long will it take us to make up that amount? If he looks at the Provincial Building being constructed opposite, at the extension of the Hospital for the Insane, the St. Peter’s Canal, and other works of Provincial importance, he will soon find where $200,000 has gone to. But before I conclude, let me allude to another matter which was a disputed point between us. He questioned the accuracy of my memory as to the amount expended in connection with laying the corner stone of the Asylum. I gave the amount at £300,but he stated it was only £320. Now I must admit that I was wrong, and I cheerfully make the correction required. But how was I mistaken? Why, I understated the amount. I find on referring to a speech of Mr. Howe, that that gentleman gives it at £313 7s. 10. I hope, therefore, the hon. member will acknowledge that my version is at least as reliable as his own.
Mr. Annand—I feel it due to acknowledge an inaccuracy in stating the amount expended by the late Government in the entertainment to which the Provincial Secretary has referred. I spoke, not from memory, but from information given by a friend who sat beside me. But I cannot allow the Provincial Secretary to sit down without replying to the remark in which he accused me of being an obstructionist. I tell him that in all the valuable services which the Government have rendered I was with him. I never voted against the grant for education, nor for roads and bridges, nor navigation securities; I never opposed the extension of the railway to Pictou. It is true that I differed from the Government on some points of policy, and I have felt it my duty to bring them to book and to ask them why they have not redeemed the pledges which they gave to the country. The Provincial Secretary has referred again and again to the action of the People’s delegates on the subject of the Intercolonial Railway. My remark that the road would not pay grease for the wheels was the remark of an eminent engineer who had given the subject his attention,—and I must say that my faith in that road, as a means of through traffic, was very much shaken by the report of Mr. Fleming. After a very thorough examination, that gentleman demonstrated that the railway would not be a paying concern, and he led us to believe that the terminus would be at St. John. But, as Mr. McLelan proved the other day, our revenues would have enabled us to build the road ourselves, and would alnhave [sic] enabled us to go on extending our raso [sic] ways East and West to the extreme bouildaries [sic] of our Province. When I am told that that work is to be a great boon. I ask what are we to pay for it? On four articles alone we are to pay $300,000 & year; that, with the in crease of the advalorem duties, would give half a million of dollars, and the entire cost of the road, £3,000,000 at 4 per cent., would only be $600,000. And, let me ask, what is to become of our railway extension hereafter? Who supposes that we will get it from Canada, with their grand projected fortifications and their expensive canal extension? But even if the railroad were a great boon, it would be no compensation for the loss of our government and our revenues. We were told the other day by the Attorney General that the People’s delegates continue to oppose the guarantee for the railway even after the Confederation bill had passed. I tell him he is entirely wrong and I hold in my hand a letter from Mr. Howe, stating that the moment he and his friends found Confederation was sure to pass, they withdrew their opposition to the railway. I make that explanation in justice to Mr. Howe; and as for myself, I could not offer opposition. when I was on this side of the water.
The Attorney General also taunted us with not having presented the petitions from the people. Let me tell him that that taunt does not become him or his colleagues, for I have good reason to believe that they did their best to prevent our being recognized at the Colonial Office, but in that step they did not succeed—we were heard; and they then used every exertion to prevent the voice of the people from being heard. But the Attorney General should have known better than to charge us with not presenting those petitions, for the records of the Imperial Parliament show that those petitions were presented by Admiral Erskine, on the 5th of March, while the bill was in committee. It is stated to have been the largest petition presented to the Commons of England.
I have been told that the press under my control represented the country as in a bankrupt condition before Confederation; at that time I was not here, and I do not know that I ever read the articles referred to, but is it not a fact that money could not be procured to meet the checks drawn on the treasury of this Province.
Hon. Financial Secretary—It is not true, and never was.
Mr. Annand continued:—I am not able to state the facts from my own knowledge, but the general impression in the community to this day is that the assertions were true, and that being the case, it was the duty of the press to represent the facts. The Provincial Secretary has said that we cannot expect to get so large a sum hereafter for our roads and bridges, but let me ask why not? We have seen the revenue increase in one year by $185,000, being $35,000 more than the interest on the Pictou railway, and if our customs revenue had not been taken away, and handed over to another country, we could have covered the country from end to end with roads. I would like to see the face of the Province covered with railways; and as to the Annapolis road, I may say that I think that line should have been carried on by paying a company a subsidy for twenty years, and then we would be done with the liability, and could have gone on with our extensions. The subsidy would then have been returned to the treasury, to be re-employed in the construction of other railways and public works. Thus the country would have gone on and prospered, and blossomed as the rose. But […]
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[…] under the arrangement which has been effected we are cut short in our career of progress, and the splendid prospect before us is marred. We are to remain, in future, a dependency, not of the mother country, because direct communication with the Crown is cut off, but of Canada, and we are to be subjected to her taxation, and to be drawn into her broils and her isolation. That word isolation has been used in reference to Nova Scotia, but Nova Scotia can never be isolated as long as she remains beside the sea, forming a part of the magnificent Empire to which I am proud to belong, and commanding the ports to which every Englishman sailing from the Mersey or the Thames resorts. We are to become a dependency of Canada—to submit to new trade regulations imposed by a country cut off from the rest of the world, whose policy is protection, and to share in her isolation; and our people, peaceful, prosperous and happy, are to be identified with the factions, and I might almost say, the bankruptcy of Canada.
Mr. C.J. Campbell—We have heard a good deal about expenditures for wines, but I can assure the hon. member for East Halifax that it was not all used by the supporters of the government. As regards the expenditure in the Board of Works, it is no good defence to say that the late government did wrong, be—cause every one knows that they were turned out of office for their misdeeds.
Hon. Attorney General—Several matters connected with the closing of the business of the legislature have called my attention away from the debate up to this time, but I understand it was produced by an attack made on the Government by the hon. member for North Colchester, which was followed up by a series of attacks on the part of the hon. member for East Halifax. There are persons connected with dramatic performances who, after being lost sight of for a time, make their appearance in so different a costume that they can hardly be recognized. If the hon. member would only look in the glass occasionly [sic], and try himself by the different phrases of character which he has assumed for the last twenty-five years, he would hardly know whether he was a representative of East Halifax in this legislature or a native of the South Sea Islands. From the various positions he has assumed, there is no man in the country who can undertake to say whether he is in favor of government construction of railways or construction by companies, or whether he is in favor of a capitalization or an annual subsidy for the companies. There is an old adage which tells us that certain persons of doubtful character should have good memories, but unfortunately the hon. member has not a good memory, and he reminds me of those birds who cover their heads, and think that their whole body is concealed,—having a bad memory himself he is led away by the delusion that every one else has a bad memory also.
He accuses us of telling the House that the people’s petitions were not presented, but he told us so himself the other day, and gave us the reasons, telling us that he and his colleagues behaved so badly that they could not find a man to present them. I felt that if the 40,000 signers of the petition were satisfied with that excuse we had no great reason to complain, but he went further and gave us another reason—the assertion that there was not time for them to be presented. I thought that the intelligent public outside would hardly accept these statements as correct, and when in the face of those assertions he now tells us that his excuses were all a sham, that we did not prevent the petitions from being presented, and that they were really presented, I ask whether the members who have heard him, or the people who read the debates, can place any reliance on what he says. If the petitions were not presented, his statement of to-day is untrue,—if they were presented, his charge against the delegates of preventing their presentation is groundless. He made another statement today with just as much confidence as if he spoke from his own knowledge—that the authorized delegates did all in their power to prevent him and his colleagues from being heard and recognized. I deny the truth of that assertion and I demand the proof;—from my knowledge of the feelings of every one of my colleagues, I deny that, by act, word or deed, we did anything to prevent those gentlemen from being heard. If the hon. member does not produce the proof of his assertion, he must stand condemned as a man who will hazard an assertion which he makes out of whole cloth without having the slightest corroboration to support it.
But the honorable member went further and not only told us what took place while he was in England, but undertook to contradict my statement of what took place after he left. He says it is not true that the people’s delegates tried to prevent the passage of the guarantee bill when they found that the Confederation bill was likely to pass, but I ask him did he sign a document bearing his name which was presented to the House of Commons, and which made use of every argument to induce the Parliament and the public of England to come to the conclusion that if the railroad were built it would not pay grease for the wheels? But I take the statement which he has just made, and which he gives not only on his own behalf but on that of his colleagues, that the opposition to the guarantee bill was withdrawn, and I make to the House a statement not from hearsay, but from actual knowledge: the gentleman who led the hon. member from East Halifax and others into opposition to union, in my presence and in the presence of members of the Imperial Parliament after the union bill had passed a second reading, and it was known that it was merely awaiting the guaranty, used language calculated to raise distrust in the colonies, and as far as words could go, induced those who heard him to believe that the guaranty would have to be redeemed out of the pockets of the people of England.
That is my answer to the hon. gentleman’s assertion, and I give it thus specifically because he has challenged it. The reply I made at the time was to this effect: “Is that the language that is now used to the people of England? I can recollect when a gentleman came from Nova Scotia whom the people expected to return with seven millions of dollars, and they were viewing with each other to reward him for this very work.” Then the hon. member tells us that the petition was the largest ever presented in England but he must have a very imperfect knowledge of the number of names usually appended to petitions in England, or […]
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[…] he would have known that hundreds of thousands of names are sometimes presented. He asked us also why we should not hereafter have as large a sum as hitherto for our roads and bridges. Does he expect an answer to that question when himself and others who are obstructing us, have so lately declared that there would be no means by which the annual liability for the construction of the Annapolis Railway could be met? I can answer him in his own words, but one who heard his declaration to-day, that even with Confederation, by holding on to the subvention, the whole debt connected with that extension would be paid in twenty years, and the picture presented by the future before us would be a most beautiful one to contemplate. If he makes the calculation he will find that, by putting away $5000 a year, he will effect that object even yet. We were to give $16,500 a year, under the former arrangement to the Company, and now we are to give $11,000, so that by investing the balance we will have the debt paid in twenty years. The hon. member ridiculed the idea of Nova Scotia being isolated while the flag of England remained to protect us. Let me ask him if that is the language he always holds, and if he and his colleagues did not say to the people of England that a sufficient number of troops could be raised in the State of New York in a month to take these Colonies from the the [sic] grasp of England? If that assertion was true, and the Colonies united would be in so bad a position, I ask him where would little Nova Scotia be with her population of 300,000 inhabitants? Her position on the sea renders her more open to attack, unless she has something more reliable than her own resources for defence.
As I said at the outset I have not been able to give much attention to the debate, but I will now refer to the action of the member for North Colchester who, a case in which a complaint was urged against a certain expenditure by the Government He was a member of the Committee on Public Accounts, and, in connection with his duty, had laid before him certain accounts of the Board of Works concerning which he makes a variety of complaints. Now, I ask, has he done his duty to the other members of the Committee, or not? Did he do his duty to the country, if, having complaints to make, he did not bring them to the notice of the gentlemen operating with him in the Committee? Did be send for the Chairman or any member of the Board of Works to explain the alleged irregularities? As far as I can learn he took no such action, and I regret that the hon. member is not in his place to answer those questions. Why he has thus run away before his conduct was enquired into, is for him to settle with the House, but I can only say that if he desired that justice should be done and a fair investigation had, why did he say nothing in the committee or to the Government about the matters in connection with which he experienced difficulty? It is evident that the correction of the accounts and the saving of the public money were not his objects, for he waited till the committee reported, and then brought here charges against individuals without taking the trouble to ascertain whether they were correct or not. His de sire, without doubt, was to get something on which he could attack the Government, making his constituency believe that there was something wrong in the public departments without giving us the slightest opportunity for defence. That is not a position which will recommend itself to the House or to the country, as one that an honorable and prudent man would occupy. The hon. member avoids this by saying that on another subject he applied to the Financial Secretary’s office for information and could not obtain it; but let, us see whether he was not going beyond his commission.
It is a safe rule I think that a man who sticks to his business is most likely to be successful in its accomplishment, and let us see what the hon. member’s duties were. He is appointed to take up and examine the Public Accounts to 30th Sep., and he went and applied for a statement of balances due by the Collectors to 30th March. This is the information which he complained of not getting, but I hold it was not within the scope of his duty to ask for it; he was, arrogating to himself duties which did not belong to him. I do not wish to say anything offensive to the hon. member, but I desire that the public should know that when he was refused that information he had departed from the duty assigned him.
Mr. Longley:—I was not in the House to-day when the hon. member for East Halifax made an attack on the government, and I may not therefore be fully aware of the tenor of his remarks, but I am informed that he made an allusion to the wood contract recently entered into on the Railway Department. Being a party to the contract I am willing to hear my share of responsibility and I think I can shew that the contract was not a disadvantageous one. I will state the prices which the department has paid for wood during the three or four years preceding the commencement of Mr. Hyde’s contract, and also the prices paid outside of that contract because the agreement does not include the Windsor branch. In 1863 we paid for wood $2.31 per cord, in 1864, $2.38, in 1866, $2 52, in 1866, $2 91.
Now it must be borne in mind that though the contract is dated 1st April, 1865, yet up to the year terminating 30th Sepr, we had used only 2000 cords from Mr. Hyde, and yet the average price of wood for that year including Mr. Hyde’s wood was, as I have said, $2 91. It is believed that the wood furnished by Mr. Hyde will be worth ten per cent more than that furnished heretofore, because he is not only obliged to keep a large supply on hand, but he is to furnish season ed wood for shed-assuming, however, the quality to be the same as heretofore, it will be $2.72 per cord or 19 cents less than the regular price, and if it is to be worth ten per cent more, then its cost would only amount to $2 00.
But there are other facts to shew that the contract will be advantageous. We paid at Shubenacadie and Stillwater, right in the woods, in 1866, $2.89 per cord. In 1863 the consumption of wood by the department was 4,150 cords; the consumption in the nine months of 1864 was 3,400 cords; and that of 1866 was nearly 7,000 cords. […]
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[…] Not only has the price, therefore, been rapidly increasing, but the consumption has been increasing in the same ratio, and I am not quite sure but we would have had to pay by tender and contract, in 1867, fully $3 00 even for the wood in an imperfect state. There is the best evidence that before the end of the five years we would have had to pay $3.25 or $3.50 per cord; and I therefore think that the hon. member is likely to make about as much advantage out of this transaction as out of the others which he so bungled. He evidently feels that be cannot do worse than he has done, and he continues floundering about in the hope that something will occur to better his position. In connection with this subject, I am in a position to furnish the opinion of one whose experience of twenty-five or thirty years should entitle his views to some consideration. Before entering into the contract, having some doubts as to the propriety of making an agreement running so far ahead, I made enquiries of the locomotive superintendent, and he stated that his experience led him to believe that wood obtained at $3 per cord is cheaper to burn than coal. It is supposed by many that as the railway will run to Pictou harbor, opposite the coal fields, where an inexhaustible supply is to be obtained, it would be cheaper to burn coal; but experience shows that the contract with Mr. Hyde was dictated by economy, and is likely to prove advantageous to the department.
Mr. Annand—As the hon. gentleman has chosen to make an attack upon me, I would only tell him that if I were disposed to give him a certificate of character, I would quote the language of Mr. Archibald, who described a certain building across the harbor as the appropriate place for the Railway Commissioner. It is unfortunate that the hon. gentleman did not hear my remarks, for they did not relate to the prices, as I knew nothing of them; but I contended that it was a piece of administrative mismanagement, with the railway running into the heart of a coal region, to enter into a contract for the supply of wood for five years. I am content to leave it to the judgment of any engineer to say whether that was a provident bargain or not, and I know it is contrary to the reports made by the engineers of previous governments. The hon. member is one of those gentlemen who came in on the cry of retrenchment, and his idea was that the late comissioner [sic] should receive £250 instead of £600 per annum, but he himself has found no difficulty in taking £600 a year while he has been in office. The hon. member’s consistency, however, shews itself in everything. A few years ago he proclaimed that “rum and railways were the ruin of the country.” I am not prepared to say whether he has changed his views as to rum, but we know that he has not hesitated to accept the post of Chief Commissioner of Railways. As to his capacity for that position, we will ascertain whether the General Government, requiring the services of first-rate men, will continue his engagement.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—As to the statement that the hon. member for East Halifax and his colleagues on the delegation withdrew their hostility to the Intercolonial Railway immediately on the passage of the Union Bill, I would ask whether he has any information of Mr. Howe going to the gentlemen whom he had urged to oppose the guaranty—whose opposition he had boasted of—to one of the most talented members of the Commons, Mr. Lowe and confessed to them that he had deceived and misled them. If he did so, and if he asked permission to withdraw the statement that our credit was not worth a dollar, and that a man trusting British America a pound would lose it, because we would repudiate the debt, then he is in a position to say that their opposition to the railway was withdrawn, but he must not tell me that the opposition was withdrawn. After the Union Bill was endorsed by an ovewhelming majority, that hon. member in the House and in the press did his best to defeat the project and to prevent the Provinces having the benefit of three millions of pounds sterling expended among them. I could take up the paper edited by the hon. gentleman and could shew the House that day by day he denounced the railway as a worthless expenditure of the public money. If he and the party with which he co-operates could succeed in deluding the people of the County of Halifax and of the country, into believing his statements and supporting their candidates they would prevent the construction of a mile of railway in the Province. The portion of the line which is ready to be taken up at once is the portion between Truro and Moncton, but if these gentlemen could succeed in procuring the return of nineteen members to the House of Commons, pledged to demand a repeal of the Union they would cut off this Province from the rest of British America, and what government could be found in Canada willing to expend a dollar on a line of railway until the lapse of half a dozen years when the safety of the experiment was tried?
If the hon. member can convince the people of Canada and New Brunswick, who will be united, because New Brunswick will send a united phalanx of union men to strengthen the hands of the first government to be formed to secure the construction of the road, that he has withdrawn his opposition in the face of his declaration that the business of the remaining portion of his life would be to cut off Nova Scotia from the rest of British America, making St. John the terminus as a matter of necessity, then he will have to take back these declarations which he has made in the press and on the platform. But while the paper under his control, and the party with whom he acts are putting repeal on their banners and showing a determination to obstruct the union, if I were a Canadian or a New Brunswicker with a seat in Parliament, I would say, “Hold your hand; if Nova Scotia is determined not to assist in carrying out the great objects of union, and to break up the Confederation, it would be an act of insanity to spend a dollar in Nova Scotia until the question is fully tried out, and until ten years hence it is seen whether repeal is to be the motto, or whether Nova Scotia is prepared to show the benefits flowing from the Act of Union.” The position of the hon. member and of every anti-unionist at this hour is the position of total antagonism to the Intercolonial Railway, and if the people of Halifax and the rest of the Province expect such men […]
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[…] as their representaves [sic], I do not hesitate to say that we could not expect such an act of insanity as the expenditure of a pound on the portion of the railway which should run through Nova Scotia. If there are men among us so reckless of their own position in the eye of the public as to take up the attitude of obstruction, and to place themselves in a position to be over-ridden by the public sentiment of the country, I have no fear of the action of the intelligent citizens of Halifax, knowing how deeply they are interested in giving such cooperations as will secure to this city all the benefits to result from the construction of the great highway of nations, and the action which I think will take place in this constituency will be endorsed by every intelligent constituency in the Province. The hon. member for East Halifax has gone too far in his declarations respecting the position of this Province and the Intercolonial Railway, to obtain the confidence of an number of the electors. Whoever will be elected, the selection will be made from among those who have a regard for the position and prosperity of the Province. for the people know that to elect the men who have been traducing every public man who has given his aid to the union, and have been trampling on and treating with contempt the credit of Canada, would be only explicable on the ground that they are utterly blinded to their interests and to the prosperity of the country. Now that the policy of union is settled, many of its strongest opponents will be found like the Custos of this country, who, in taking his seat as chairman of the meeting the other evening, and that he had taken a very active part in politics, but he felt that, regardless of the past, now that union has become the law of the land, as loyal citizens we are bound to come out, and giving the law our support, place the representation in the hands of the friends of union. Suppose that to-morrow the member for East Halifax were elected to serve in the House of Commons, with what face could he rise in that Parliament and ask the aid of a single man on one side or the other in any question in which the interests of Nova Scotia were concerned? After the assertion that Canada was in a bankrupt condition, made notwithstanding that her debentures and ours are the highest of any of the Provinces, from the fact that, although she had made enormous expenditures in connection with defence and in the extension of her canals. her surplus was so large as to warrant her credit being placed as high as ours, flourishing as is the financial condition of Nova Scotia. I ask even if a constituency in Nova Scotia were found to elect him to-morrow, where would he hide his head? To ask for any consideration for his country would require an amount of audacity even exceeding that which he displayed in attacking the financial policy of the government The ground on which I confidently expect that the interests of Nova Scotia will be considered paramount to those of any section of British America is that we have men of standing and ability who will go to the united Parliament and lay before it claims which no Parliament could ignore. We will find men in the ranks of both the Liberal and Conservative parties, who, without reference to the political differences heretofore existing among us, will go there and claim that consideration which is due to those who have carried forward the great measure of union on which our common prosperity depends.
The union bill was carried in the British Parliament notwithstanding all that the hon. member for East Halifax and his colleagues could do to damage the credit of the Province, to represent the railway as a useless undertaking, and to make it appear that the object of Nova Scotia was to break up and destroy the Confederation. We have had it represented to-day, and have heard through the anti-union press, that Nova Scotia is in so helpless a condition that all the government of the United States has to do is to refuse to establish commercial relations with us in order to embarrass our trade, and that they can come down whenever they please and seize on the colonies. I ask if that is the way to advance the interests of the country—to proclaim that we must fall a helpless prey to the first aggressor? He says that to attempt to open up a trade with any other country than the States is useless, and he follows it up by denouncing the men who have striven to place us in a most prosperous condition commercially, and to bring to our aid the whole force of the Empire in the event of an attack. I do not wonder that this gentleman, instead of being like the delegates sent by this legislature, ready to go back and place their future fate and fortunes in the hands of the electors; conscious of what he deserves, skrinks [sic] from the defeat to which he must expose himself in going before any constituency. He sends to the county of Queens to see if that constituency will afford him an escape from the averted faces of the electors of East Halifax, and back comes the modifying reply that, though money to any amount had been offered by the capitalists who are ready to back him, an anti-unionist could be returned for Queens. That is the position in which he has placed himself by endeavoring to place the country in such a condition as would make us a bye-word and laughing-stock for all time to come. Having committed himself to that course it is too late for him to say that it was a little piece of deception used for another object; he cannot thus wipe out the record that will stand against him to the end of time. I do not wonder in the face of that record that on his return from England, as he told us the other day, on making a hasty visit to his constituents, he told his friends in Halifax that he had made up his mind to bid good-bye to public life. I can only say as regards myself that I should like to do the same, I have accomplished as much for my country as most public men could have done, and would be glad now to escape from the turmoil and responsibility of the public service, but I feel that having undertaken a great responsibility in dealing with the question of union, it would ill become me, having no such record against me as that which stands against the hon. member for East Halifax, to shrink from devoting my services still further to my country, more especially as my exertions in connection with this great question will give me an advantage over most of my countrymen in claiming consideration for the claims of the Province.
Mr. Annand—It must be evident that the hon. gentleman is in a most desperate condition when he is willing to place the whole fate of his party […]
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[…] on the single question of the Intercolonial Railway. I am surprised that he of all others should rise here and speak of the people—he who sold their interests and denied them the right even to speak by petition to the House of Commons. How has he the audacity to mention the people or to present himself before any constituency? Are the people of Nova Scotia less worthy than those of New Brunswick, who have been allowed to speak twice, when we are denied the privilege altogether? If the people of Nova Scotia gave him the treatment he might expect, they would pitch him over the first hustings at which he presented himself. The Provincial Secretary undertook to censure my language in reference to the public men of Canada, but we find the leader of the opposition of that country styling them the “corruptionists of Canada.” What is the history of their finances but a continuation of deficiencies from year to year?
I am told that I tried to destroy the public credit. That is not true; but in speaking of British America under Canadian rule, I had a right to draw the inference that these “corruptionists” would be faithless to their engagements with the mother country. If the credit of Canada has risen lately, as was bosted [sic] so loudly, it was by means of manipulations which we fully understand; but I hold in my hand a copy of the Canadian News, the organ of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, and l find it states that the debentures of Nova Scotia are at present from 97 to 99 while those of Canada are from 95 to 97. With that damming fact stated by their own authorities, how dare any one make the assertion that the credit of Canada is superior to that of Nova Scotia? If the Intercoloulal [sic] Railway had been fifty times as valuable as it is, my action would have been the same, and I would not even for that consideration have given up the liberties of my country. We knew that the railway scheme was an essential part of the union arrangement, and we hoped, by combining the opposition on these two measures, to defeat the bill. We are told that we may not have the terminus of the railway if we send nineteen members of the Nova Scotia party to Ottawa. If Halifax be the natural terminus, and the interests of trade require that the road should extend here, it would be immaterial whether Nova Scotia formed part of the Confederation or not. But we find Mr. Adderly, the Assistant Secretary for the Colonies, stating that the cost, of the road would be four millions sterling, and we find that only three millions have been provided. We see also that this three millions will just build the road to St. John; and I therefore charge it upon the delegates that they were recreant to their duty in not making it a part of the agreement that the construction of the railway should commence simultaneously at Riviere du Loup and Truro. In that case the interests of Nova Scotia would have been safe, which they are not now. It is true the Union Act declares it to be the duty of Canada to carry the road to completion; but we see the Canadians were not bound by their minute of council in 1862, and if it were not for their breach of faith on that occasion, we might now be connected by rail with Quebec. We are asked what we have to expect in sending nineteen anti-unionists to Ottawa. We expect to be represented by men who will not deny the people the right to speak—who will, as a body of Nova Scotians, protect us, guarding our rights from invasion, and who will not act like the delegates who went to Canada, forgetting their country as soon as they turned their backs upon it. The gentlemen going from Nova Scotia will, I trust, stand in one firm phalanx, true to the people who send them there. I am asked if we requested Mr. Lowe to withdraw his opposition to the Intercolonial Railway: that I cannot say, but I have it from Mr. Howe that the moment Confederation was settled he ceased opposition, and I believe put himself in communication with those from whom he expected support, and asked that their opposition cease. As to Mr. Lowe, I can only say that the first intimation we had that that gentleman would oppose the guarantee was received from an intimate acquaintance of the Provincial Secretary on the other side of the water. The Provincial Secretary, as I have said, is the last man to rise here and make a passionate appeal. If he had done by the people as Mr. Tilley did by the people of New Brunswick, and the electors had given their solemn assent to the measure, I would not have said another word; but as the people have been denied their ordinary rights, I for one will not cease to agitate for the return to Ottawa of men who possess the public confidence-men who would not have denied the people the right to speak. If the people of this Province were to address the House of Commons in something like this language: “You have been imposed on; the chairman of the Grand Trunk Railway told you that the question had been before us at every hustings, whereas our voice has never been asked until recently, when we hurled all these men from power who have ventured thus to mislead you,”—I ask, would there be any harm in requesting the British Parliament to release us, and to restore the old relations making as once more a colony not of Canada, but of England? Surely there can be no treason in that sentiment, and it could not but benefit this Province to have restored to it the large and increasing revenues which we possess, and to remain a dependency of England.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—I have only one remark to make, and that is in relation to the action of New Brunswick. We have given the Opposition two years to find a case in which a minister, with a majority in Parliament, ever appealed to the people, and not being able to produce one such case, they yet rise and repeat the old story about the rights of the people having been invaded. In New Brunswick the Premier thought to advance the measure by dissolving the House, and what a spectacle was presented. By means of certain influences brought to hear an overwhelming majority was returned against the measure, and a second appeal resulted in the people sending an overwhelming majority to its support. Would that be a creditable spectacle for Nova Scotia to present? But let me ask the hon. member if he did not, on the face of public document, declare that the action of New Brunswick was the greatest […]
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[…] brand of disgrace that could rest on a people, and was only to be compared to a corrupt verdict given by a brow-beaten jury? The House then adjourned.