Prince Edward Island, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Confederation (28 April 1873)
By: Prince Edward Island (House of Assembly)
Citation: Prince Edward Island, House of Assembly, The Parliamentary Reporter; or, Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of Prince Edward Island, For the Year 1866, 25th General Assembly, 1873 at 54-75.
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THE PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER,
MONDAY, April 28.
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House on committee on expiring laws.
Mr. McLean Chairman.
The report was adopted and a committee consisting of Messrs. F. Kelly, Howatt and L.H. Davies was appointed to prepare a Bill in accordance therewith.
On motion of Mr. Pope. House resolved into committee on ways and means.
Mr. A.C. McDonald in the Chair.
Hon. Leader of The Government said it was their intention to adopt the Revenue Bill of last session, and moved a resolution to that effect.
Mr. Laird would have no objection, were it not that in view of the fact that Confederation would probably take place before long, he thought it would be better to increase the rate of duty on Berlin spirits and other liquors, to what it was in the Dominion. To do so would only be acting in good faith to the Government of Canada. Were we in the early part of the season to adopt our present rate of duty, speculators might import largely here, and if we went into union, reship at a profit of 40 cents per gallon.
Mr. McLean thought there was much force in the remarks of the hon. member. But on the other hand, to increase the duty 40 cents above what it was, would be unfair to traders among ourselves who had made arrangements in accordance with the rate of duty at present in force.
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Mr. Stewart opposed the resolution of the Leader of the Government warmly and thought the adoption of the tariff on liquors of last year, would be only opening a door for defrauding the revenue of the Dominion.
Hon. Mr. Pope said if they altered the duty on one article, they would have to do so on others, and if so, he saw no course open but to adopt the Dominion tariff as a whole, and thought when hon. members fairly considered the matter, they would not, just now, be prepared to adopt this course.
Mr. Laird was still of the opinion that if a union was likely to be effected, large quantities of liquor would be imported here, and it it [sic] not take place, it would be no gain to our local revenue, as drawback will come in and take the money out of the Treasury.
Mr. L.H. Davies thought the duty on Berlin Spirits, the use of which was doing so much injury, should be increased. He was of opinion also that persons from abroad would likely use our light rate of duty as an inducement for importing largely here, with a view to re-ship into the Dominion after a union is effected.
Mr. Lefurgy thought any alternative now would be premature. Any arguments which might apply to spirits would also apply to tobacco.
Mr. Beer was anxiously waiting to hear the scheme of the junior member for Bedeque, and would like to see Berlin Spirits prohibited altogether.
Mr. McNeill did not see that it would be unfair to adopt the resolution of the hon. member for Belfast, for if we went into the Dominion traders would have to pay that duty.
Mr. Callbeck thought we should assimilate our duties with the tariff of the Dominion.
Mr. P. Sinclair said the government should make known their intention without reserve, in regard to Confederation. To take any advantage of the Dominion by not raising our tariff would be wrong.
Mr. A. J. McDonald enquired if any one could tell what the Dominion tariff would be this year.
Mr. Laird said he inferred from Mr. Tilley’s budget speech that it would be the same as that of last year.
Mr. L.H. Davies would like to hear an expression of opinion from the Independent Benches, as in all probability some cogent reasons would be given for the line of policy they, he presumed, were prepared to recommend.
Mr. Howatt said, as the hon. member was pleased to refer to what he termed the Independent Benches, he would just say he thought it would be time enough to think of protecting the Dominion, when we joined them. It was well enough for the hon. member to say the tariff of the Dominion would not be raised this year. Let them unite with Canada, and they would find the duties will be increased whenever occasion required.
Mr. Holland, in reply to the enquiry addressed to him by the hon. member for Murray Harbor, would say, he was not prepared to submit as full a scheme as he intended, nor did he see much use in attempting it, for as the Opposition to a man, were for going into a union with Canada, and most of the Government side were only waiting for better terms to do so too, he saw no chance for avoiding union with the Dominion of Canada. His belief was if they would adopt the Dominion tariff on liquors, cigars, &c., and an increased ad valorem of one and a half per cent, that we could […]
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[…] raise an additional amount of $100,000. He had drawn up a comparative statement shewing the amount which would he collected under the Dominion tariff on some of the articles paying high specific and ad valorem duty based on the importation of 1870.
|Under Dominion Tariff.||P.E. ISLD TARIFF||DIFFERENCE|
|Tobacco, 84,456 lbs.||$18,455 20||$7,918 64||$10,557 04|
|Sugar (Brown) 847,6 6 lbs.||18,857 12||9,725 50||9,130 62|
|Kerosene Oil, 57,901 gal.||8,685 15||6,102 00||2,583 15|
|Gin. 25[?],334 gal.||21,066 40||19,270 90||1,795 50|
|Whiskey, 15,205 gal.||12,017 00||11,114 85||902 15|
|Rum & Alcohol 58,242 gal.||48,593 50||24,124 30||22,469 30|
|Rice, 105,484 lbs.||1,051 80||144 80||910 00|
|Soap. 119,00 lbs.||2,880 00||580 00||1,800 00|
|Clothing, Dry Goods, Hard ware, Boots and Shoes, Furs, Earthenware, Groceries, Drugs etc, paying ad valorum.||162,000 00|
|Duty oil estimated value $1,8[?]0,000.||780,000 00||162,000 00||1,800 00|
|322,098 27||266,737 32|
|NEW INCREASE||$66,285 95|
|Excise on Malt 12 000 bushs.||4,800 00|
|Tobacco, 9,369 lbs. at 15 cents.||10,409 80|
|Whiskey, 5,234 gal. at 80 cts.||4,787 20|
|Newspaper postage||4,000 00|
|Our Revenue last year was $383,500||By economising we might off the Revenue||25,060 00|
|By disendowing P. Wales College||3,200 00|
|Repealling Militia Law||6,000 00|
|And by an export duty on cats we would realize at least||12,291 00|
|$75,907 00||75,907 00|
Which was, according to his view of the matter, sufficient to prove that if so inclined this Island could keep out of Confederation. But what surprised him was to notice the change which had come over the hon. the junior member for Belfast. In the ” Patriot” of the 12th September, 1867, he found him thus describing the situation of Canada :—” They are at this hour indebted for canals, railways and other political jobs, about £40 per family. No later than last year they were begging and borrowing money in England, at a heavy rate of interest. to pay the amount due on a portion of their public debt. With the help of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia they have a rickety nationality and must be prepared to pay its costly responsibilities.”
If such was the state of the public finances of Canada in 1867, what grounds had they for supposing it was any better now? The indebtedness of the Dominion was $162,000,000 of which, if we entered into union with her, we would have to pay our full proportion—or the one-fortieth part. Besides the public works of Canada are annually increasing to an extent unknown in any new country, which is, and will be adding greatly to her indebtedness. It is now, just one hundred years since we received our Constitution, and when he looked around and saw both sides determined to surrender it, he felt sorry. Our gallant little ship has bravely rode through many a storm, and he felt it was wrong to give up now.
Mr. Howatt said as he wished to place himself in a right position on this matter, and was opposed to levy an increased tax upon land, he would vote for continuing the present Revenue Bill, as there would be a clause authorising any amendment. or alteration necessary during the present session, he would support Hon. Mr. Pope’s resolution.
Mr. Laird said the extract the hon. the junior member read from the […]
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[…] “Patriot” had reference only to old Canada, matters had so greatly changed since then, that hon. members would see that arguments which applied in 1867 had lost all their force now. It would he better to take the Dominion Tariff at once, as we are now almost as highly taxed as they are in the Dominion, besides the tax is not so high in Canada. that is the average tax, as it was. Last. year they had a surplus in their favor of $552,000.
Mr. Lefurgy, though not endorsing the policy of the hon. members for Bedeque, yet thought they were acting quite consistently.
Mr. Sinclair said, all things considered it was unadvisable to increase the duties on Liquors.
Hon. Mr. Howlan was amused to hear the arguments advanced by the hon. member for Belfast. He thought when the hon. member said the arguments then used in the ” Patriot” had reference only to old Canada, they were rather far-fetched. It would be unwise to adopt the suggestion of the hon. member. If exception were admitted in the case of rum, the same arguments would apply to other articles also.
Alter a few further remarks the amendment was put and lost.
Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair. When the following Resolution was agreed to,
” Resolved, That the Act, thirty- fifth Victoria, Chapter one, intituled an ‘Act for raising a Revenue be continued and amended.’ “
House adjourned for one hour.
Mr. L.H. Davies asked if it was the intention of the government to introduce certain Bills, prepared by the Law Commission, regulating common law procedure, during the present session.
Hon. Leader of the Government answered that if the late Crown Law Officers would disgorge those Bills, it was the intention of the Government to introduce them during the session.
Hon. Leader of the Government, Chairman of a Committee, appointed to prepare a Bill for raising a Revenue, submitted said Bill, which was received and read a first time.
On motion, the rule of the House was suspended, and the Revenue Bill was read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the whole House.
Mr. A..C. McDonald in the Chair.
Mr. Laird thought those engaged in the trade of preserving fish in tin cans should be allowed a drawback upon the tin used in the construction of those cans, as it was a trade that was rapidly increasing and would admit of vast expansion. If encouraged, he believed it would be a great source of wealth to the Island, and if a little encouragement were offered by the House, in the shape of a drawback upon the tin used in the manufacture of the cans employed in the trade, the loss of Revenue would be fully made good by the great development of the business and the increased trade.
Hon. Mr. Howlan said that if one branch of trade were fostered and encouraged, others should also receive encouragement, and there would be no end to such a system if once commenced, Iron and other materials used in ships, should, according to the hon. member’s argument, be treated in the same way as he proposes to deal with tin. The fact is, the duty on tin is so low that it is hardly worth troubling about allowing a drawback upon […]
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[…] it. The cost of a tin can, capable of containing one pound of lobsters, in between three and four cents. It is true, the price of tin may sometimes rise pretty high, but if so, it is sure to fall again. This is a rule of trade. So it was with the late Government; they went up at one time, then they came down again. If a door is opened to one branch of trade, other branches must be treated in the same manner. Unless it can be shown that our people, in this business, are not placed in the same position as those of the neighboring Provinces, the duty on tin should be left alone. If a drawback were actually allowed those engaged in the fish preserving business, he doubted whether it would be the means of causing the export of a single pound more of preserved fish.
Mr. D. Laird said that lobster tins were in quite a different position in trade to ship’s irons, for when a man exports so many thousand cans of fish, the quantity of tin in them can be easily ascentained, but this is not the case in regards to ships’ fastenings. If a drawback were allowed on lobster cans, the country would get the benefit of the great increase of trade caused by it, and there would actually be no loss after all. But, perhaps, as the government expect us to go into the Dominion, they do not think it necessary to amend the Act in this particular.
Hon. Mr. Pope.—Mr. Speaker, I rise to move that this House do now resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to take into consideration the despatches having reference to a union with Canada, and do hope we may approach the discussion of the subject with a due regard to its importance. It is, sir, one of those great and important questions which will affect us and our children after us. First, I will say a word respecting myself in so far as I have had publicly to do with this matter. For years I have been in favor of Confederation, providing we could obtain terms just to this Island. The Quebec Scheme I did not regard as such, and saw that if we then admitted the principle, we would have had to send Delegates home to assist in preparing a Bill, and that if we did so, our Island would be outwitted in the arrangements which would be agreed to. With these certain facts before us, I thought our best course was, to use those means best adapted to keep us at that time out of the Dominion.
My connection with what took place at the Alexandra Hotel, in London, has often been referred to. I happened to visit that Hotel in London when the Delegates front the other Provinces were there consoling on matters relating to the Confederation of the other Provinces. I was not more then twenty minutes there altogether, and did not as much as sit down. The Delegates asked me how it was that the people of this Island were so much opposed to a union with the other Provinces? I said they regarded the Terms offered in the Quebec Scheme as unjust and illiberal.
Take for instance, I said, Nova Scotia, the people of that Province have their crown lands, coal mines, gold mines, and other minerals as a source of local revenue, and the some is true also of the other Provinces ; whereas Prince Edward Island has nothing but a curse entailed upon her people in the shape of the Leasehold Tenure. Give us enough to wipe that out, and the people will as readily consider the question as those of the other Provinces. Well, said they, what amount will do that? I replied that Mr. Coles said it would take a million of dollars, and without going into calculations, said perhaps that amount would do. Shortly afterwards, I received a note from them to say they came to a unanimous resolution to offer $800,000. From that […]
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[…] time I considered that if Canada had consented to it, I would have felt it to be my duty to have then submitted the question to the people at the polls for their approval or rejection.
Now while I have been represented as a Confederate, my political associates have been strong Anti-Confederates, and whilst they are accused of changing their views, it is due to them to say, that necessity, not choice, causes them now to look forward to a union with the Dominion. It is proper to enquire how this necessity came about. The hon. member the Leader of the Opposition said, when the Railway Bill, was passed he thought our liberties were gone. Now I never looked at it in that way. When the Railway Bill was carried it was also said, that it was introduced for the purpose of forcing us into Confederation. The hon. member for New London said so last year. I can assure this hon. House such was not the intention. I for one, believed it would with proper management be found to be a public benefit and believe so still.
I will look for a moment at the career of the late government, and see if their conduct was consistent with their professions, and whether they sacrificed the interests of the country or their own, for the purpose of keeping themselves in power. In passing the Railway Bill I considered it a necessity. They are the best and cheapest modes of transport we can have, and when we take into account that according to our population, we produce more than they do in any similar portion of territory in British North America, why should we not have those facilities of which other people avail themselves ? and I am still convinced when we shall have the road in operation we will wonder how we did so long without one. But the late government when they came into power, though professedly opposed to the Railway in any shape or form, yet their first act was to go in for the construction of the branch lines. Now if the country had as much of a debt as it could bear in the main line, and they were sincere in their professions, why should they have gone in for the immediate construction of fifty miles more?
Thus adding £250,000 more to the debt of the Colony. For my part, I have always felt the late government had no just reason for doing so. During the session of 1871 the question was introduced because we felt it was only a question of time. I was then lead to propose it, because of the prosperous state of the country for the two previous years, and felt if economy and ordinary prudence were observed, we could do so. On the 19th of June when the measure was before the House, I considered the government had no excuse for going on with the branch lines. I said so then. The spring was late, and every circumstance combined to admonish us to prudence, as plainly as they foreshadowed a disastrous season. I opposed them in every way I could. I felt the necessity of this, I knew the country required we should do so.
Yet in the face of all reasonable remonstrance, they introduced and carried the branch Bill and strange to say, without making any provision for raising the interest which the cost of their construction would entail upon the country. If the hon. member for New London thought 2 1/2 per cent, insufficient for the mainline, what are we to think of him for passing his Bill without, making any provision for interest at all. I told them at the time that it would be attended with bad results, and that it might be the means of injuring the credit of the colony. Notwithstanding all remonstrance, the Bill was passed, $250,000 was added to the debt of the colony without making any provision for paying the interest. Was it possible for the government to take a more effectual way to destroy the public credit of the colony? But they were in power, and to retain […]
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[…] their positions were prepared to sacrifice the country.
We know—further, that the late government obtained their [sic] position by making all kinds of statements, statements which they knew they were not justified in using. Yet they circulated them throughout the country, and made the people believe that I and my associates were guilty of the charges of corruption, thus urged against us, so that it was very generally believed that we had com mitted a fraud upon the country. That we had feathered our own nests and had our Bank accounts set right all of a sudden. Well they went for the building of the branches, and advertised for tenders. The contracts had to be let on the 30th of December, yet no Contractor saw the road. We were accused of contracting a surface road, but the branches are more of a surface road than the trunk line. They accused us of overlooking the tender of O’Brien and others, and thereby favoring Schrieber & Burpee at the expense of the country, yet they virtually made a private bargain with Schrieber & Burpee, and gave them nearly $1,000 a mile more for the branches than the government of which I was a member gave for building the main line. The advertisement stated that payment for building the branches would be made in Debentures which were to be taken at par. Mr. Schrieber sent in a tender at $14,800 a mile for cash.
Now a cash tender was no tender at all, yet they allowed Mr. Schrieber to alter this one, while they did not give the same opportunity to others. Some of whom sent in much lower tenders. I find no fault with the men they gave the contract to, for by their own action in the matter they have shown that the men we let the main line to were reliable, and that all their own previous assertions respecting them were not true. They overlooked their hero Mr. O’Brien altogether, and as for Mr. McNeill took no account of him or his tender. When the contact came to be signed, the Contractors very properly reminded them of what I told them, when the Bill was passing through the House, that as no provision had been made for paying the interest on the Debentures for the branches, it would be impossible to float them in the market. Well, what were they to do ? The time had expired. The contract had to be let. They found themselves wholly in the power of the Contractors whose offer they had accepted. One of the stipulations of the contract for the main line was, that ten per cent of all moneys as they became due and were to be paid to the Contractor should be retained as a guarantee on the part of their securities, that the conditions of the contract would faithfully fulfilled. Hence ten dollars out of every one hundred was retained and held back as security. The Contractors finding the government in this dilemma, offered to sign the contract provided they would pay over to them the ten per cent. thus retained. This they did.
Now I contend we have no security on the main line at all, but the character of the men who have the contract. I am not afraid of these men, or that they will fail to fulfil the conditions of their contracts, yet it was an unbusiness and awkward position for any government to place themselves in. Had they done no more, this in itself was sufficient to condemn them. But in every act since, and in ways which none but themselves would have thought of, they resorted to those means best suited to destroy the public credit of the colony. They saw that trade was falling off, that our shipments would fall below the average of former years, yet they launched out more freely than ever in new expenditures. I wish next to show that they did more to bring about Confederation in one shirt year, than we could have done in twenty. Had they desired to avoid that result, economy […]
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[…] should have been their rule.
The contrary was their policy. Recklessness characterised what they did. I believe besides the amount voted for one of Thompson’s Road Streamers, that contracts have been let for the express purpose of keeping themselves in power. Their N. K. said to them, if you do not give me money to build a bridge at Victoria at a cost of $4,900, I will not support you. The same demand came from Clilton to the tune of $19,000. Rustico and other places made similar demands, which of course could not be refused, and in addition to those a new Steam Ferry Boat. All these works are very well in themselves, but when the government found themselves drifting into difficulties through the channel of mismanagement, prudence should have been resorted to. They should have halted and considered what they were doing. Instead of this they acted as if they had become regardless of consequences and seemed as if they were determined to land the Island into a union with Canada.
Well, perhaps it may end for the better, yet it is no reason for justifying them in the extraordinary course they pursed. We know also that the Leader of the late Government said publicly that if on enquiry it should be found that the serious charges made against me and my friends, should, on examination, be found to be untrue, he would be the first man publicly to acknowledge it. Well, they brought their inspecting Engineers, telegraphed to a member of the government to meet them, with instructions to guard them from all outside influence ; and I have no doubt but the Hon. Mr. Muirhead. and my hon. friend, the member for New London, faithfully observed the directions of their political commander-in-chief. Well, this protected by their body guard, the Engineers travelled through the country and examined the road, returned to New York and sent back their report.
Instead of accepting this report, as honorable men should have done, they wrote back to the Engineers to know why the line was 140 miles long instead of 120. But the Engineers plainly told them that their enquiries were irrevalent [sic] and inconsistent. I will tell the hon. members on the opposite side of this hon. House, why the road was longer than 120 miles. No hon. member knows better than the hon. member for New London, that taking the line to Kensington, at his request, added a good deal to its length, and the same was the case in bringing it to other points, in order that the country at large might he more generally accommodated. The Engineers told them plainly that the line could not be shortened more than five miles, and not then for the rate per mile allowed by the Act. Then again, the amount paid for land damages was far in excess of what was fair, and the modes resorted to for disposing of Debentures for the payment of land damage Debentures was in itself sufficient to damage the public credit of any colony.
I do not hesitate to say, that in many cases, the amount paid for land damages was one hundred per cent. more than it should have been. Then in the manner they hawked about the land damage Debentures, they injured the credit of the colony and the interests of the Contractors at the same time. The Contractors made an arrangement with the Banks for disposing of their Debentures. This was simply a legitimate Bank transaction. Now, surely it was due to these men to maintain the credit of the colony. Instead of doing this, they sent their Colonial Secretary to the Dominion to sell Debentures. The Halifax papers got hold of the affair and used the information to the prejudice of our public credit. Their agent then came to St. John, where by giving his own note and leaving $28,000 worth of Debentures in security beside, he succeeded in obtaining a four months’ […]
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[…] loan for $55,000, at a high rate of interest. Why, such conduct was simply disgraceful and unworthy of any men conducting the public affairs of a colony.
Why, I feel ashamed to think our little Island should have not only had her credit damaged, but her name disgraced by such shameful conduct, They say when they came into power, they found an empty Treasury. The statement is not correct. There were but $15,000 afloat in Warrants when we went out of office, now we find that $116,000 are out. We left in the Treasury and Banks about $1,400 in cash more than we found there when coming into power again. This money they should have retained for the purpose of paying land damage claims. Instead of doing that, they paid it out for other purposes. Why, they could not in all they did, have taken any more effectual way for ruining the public credit of this colony. Let such a state of affairs become known at home, and our paper would depreciate alarmingly in the stock exchange in London. Although I am a Confederate, yet many of my political friends are not. But the difficulty now is to build up our public credit.
There is nothing so hard to restore as the public credit of a colony when it becomes depreciated in the money market of the world, and hence the first duty of a government is to take care not to do anything which might bring about such a result. The Contractors have found that no one will touch the Debentures for the branches, simply because no provision is made for raising the interest accruing upon them. No one can shut his eyes to the fact, that influences have been brought to bear against our paper. Baring Brothers will not take one of our Bonds, therefore it is, that union with Canada will place our public securities on a par with those of the Dominion, and our public position will be better. Feeling as we all do that all side issues should give way in order that the public credit may be maintained, and if Confederation will do this. I believe that in view of all the difficulties entailed upon the country, this side of the House feels constrained to overcome their scruples against Confederation, and for the common good, seek to obtain better terms with a view to unite our destinies with those of the people of the other Provinces in the Dominion. Seeing the position in which the late government involved the country, and the efforts that were put forth in some quarters to have men pledged against Confederation, I felt that it was a conspiracy against the welfare of the colony, and addressed a short letter to the press wherein I stated that such were my convictions.
Well, they went to Ottawa, dissolved the House, and have put the question, they say, before the people. But in so far as submitting the question to the people and the terms received goes, it is sim ply a farce. Why not have called the Legislature together in January, laid the state of the colony before the House and taken the advice of Parliament before presuming to adopt a course so contrary to their avowed principles. Instead of doing that, there is not much doubt but that the intention was to legislate the Island into Confederation if it could have been done without an appeal to the people at the polls. Contrary to their real wish, they did dissolve the House, but what means had the people, as a whole, of knowing before election what the terms were ? They had none. Neither did they know what the financial position of the colony was. All such information was kept from them. But while this was the case here, it appears parties in St. John where not kept in ignorance of what was being done.
The Delegates on their way to Ottawa crossed the Straits on Saturday, the 17th of February, and on the Monday following, the St. John Telegraph came out with an article which […]
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[…] stated that the race for Confederation had set in, and that it would be, Pope and a grant to the Catholics, or Laird and the Protestants. This information through the Telegraph, came back to the Island, and was used to arouse the religious prejudices of the people from one end of the colony to the other, to which, in Rona and Rassa, were added, the complimentary speech of Col. Gray delivered at St. Dunstan’s College a few years ago. Sir, were it not by the use of such despicable means as these, the Hon. Leader. of the Opposition—the junior member for Belfast—would not have asset here to-day. This cry took the people by surprise. They believed if Confederation was carried on the terms secured by the delegates, that the School Question would be settled forever, and acting upon that conviction and, the prejudices it gave rise to, some of the strongest Anti-Confederate districts in the Island voted for Confederation.
But I maintain if the matter was intended to have been fairly laid before the people, the House should have been called, and the question first fairly discussed in the Legislature. This was not done, but the Dash-away-policy of the hon. member for New London was substituted in its stead. I have no wish to abuse hon. members opposite, but I, nevertheless, cannot refrain from saying that the course they pursued was neither fair nor just to the country. Seeing now, however, that matters have come to the crisis they have ; and knowing that the action of the late party has done so much to hasten on Confederation, I think it well becomes both sides to look the question fairly in the face. In doing so we will, I believe, all see the propriety of paying some deference to the wishes of the Imperial Government. It is undeniable also, that in the Dominion we will enjoy advantages which we do not now possess, which will more than compensate for those we shall, to some extent, be called upon to surrender.
But, sir, the Delegates have signed the terms brought down and before doing so, I do not doubt, but that they did the best they could to obtain the most favorable in their power ; yet, notwithstanding, justice to the country demands me to say, that there were many matters which are not mentioned in then, that should have been. I believe we are entitled to receive from the Dominican sum sufficient to enable us to supply the calls which will be made upon our local revenue, without having to resort to local taxation, which unquestionably we will have very soon to come, to, if we go into Confederation under the terms brought down by Messrs Haythorne and Laird.
I have already publicly stated that I did not regard them as good as those of 1869, and think I can clearly show that. But oh I say they, the Railway is taken off your hands. Our Railway will soon be in operation and earning money while many public works of the Dominion will for years he demanding a large outlay from which no return on come in for a long time. There is for instance the Pacific Railroad, which will cost over thirty million dollars. On this and other works they will have to pay large amounts of money before any return will come in, and for all these new in course of construction or hereafter to be built, this Island will be taxed her full proportion. I will compare the terms of 1689 and 1873 :—
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|Under the Better Terms of 1869 Prince Edward Island would receive Assumed debt $25.00 a head, 1871,||$2,342,450|
|Debt Prince Edward Island 1871,||535,576|
|Interest on the above amount at 5 per cent.,||$90,343|
|80 cents a head||75 216|
|$800,000 at 5 per cent,||40,000|
|Amount of local revenue||$230,559|
|Terms of 1873.|
|Interest on balance of debt, $383,832 at 5 per cent.||$19,291|
|Int. on $100,000 & $800,000,||45,000|
|80 cents a head||75,216|
|Shewing a balance against Terms of 1873, of||$61,052|
True they take our Railway, but that consideration aside, I consider it my duty to look at the matter fairly, and in doing so, do not hesitate to say. that this amount would be insufficient, Again, by the way matters have been managed of late it is beyond our power to put the credit of the colony on a good footing. If our public securities were offered in the Stock exchange, and the credit of the colony through the sale of our Debentures and Warrants brought down, we would soon find ourselves in a position that would not be very creditable to us. I do not charge the late government with doing any act for the purpose of injuring our position. They no doubt did the best they knew how; but at the same time, it cannot be denied, but that they did a great deal to destroy the public credit.
Nor do I hesitate frankly to affirm, that I see but one way to restore this, and that is through Confederation which on fair terms will, in every way, place us in a better position than we occupy at present. I wish now to show you, sir, the position have would be in if these terms were accepted. For my part as one, I would not for any consideration go to the Dominion Government and ask for terms which I regarded as unfair. (Hear.) But I would ask that this Island be placed in as good a position as the other Provinces. To arrive at a estimate I have taken down the expenditure for the past year and shall compare it with the Terms which I assume is a fair basis of calculation :—
Local expenditure for 1872.
Road service, 18,658.18
Supreme Court, 10,035.08
Less salaries Chief Justice & two Judges, 5,193.00
Lunatic Asylum, 4,983.09
Board of Health, 585,48
Coroners Inquests, 690.76
Telegraph subsidy & Telegrams, 2,750.65
Colonial Building, 624,13
Public printing & stationery, 8,548.79
Salaries public officers, $14,880.82
Lieut. Governors salary, 6,813.50
Private Sec’y salary, 325.00
Manager Savings Bank, 974.00
Board of Works, 96,405.88
Public Lands, 3,337.67
I will next consider what the Revenue, estimated on data to be depended upon as permanent, under Confederation, will be :—
The debt of the Island lst January, 1872, was $535,576.00
Excess of expenditure over receipts 1872 & 1873, 59,537.00
- (p. 65)
Estimated cost of Railway 3,250,000.00
Debt on entering the Dom. at $45 a a head, $4,230,945.00
Present debt of colony, 3,845,113.00
Difference in our favor at present, $385,832.00
5 per cent on this difference, $19,291.60
Amount allowed for land $900,000, but which when invested, wlll not yield so much. I do not think this amount should he set at a higher figure than $600,000 which at 5 per cent. will yield a Revenue of 30,000.00
80 cents per head subsidy, 75,216 00
Subsidy for local legislation, 30,000.00
Land assessment as last year, $13,547.37
Amount due on crown lands. $385,000.00
From this I feel disposed to deduct one-third. There will be may poor people, widows & others who will know, sir that we lost largely on the Worrell Estate, therefore, to put down-probable loss on this one-third, 111,065.00
Interest on this at 6 per cent will yield 13,400.00
Fees from Col. Secretary. 4,965.00
Rent Warren Farm, 90.00
Amount upended last you exclusive of amount which would be assumed by the Dominion, 257,337.59
Under Confederation we might reduce our Legislative expenses, as in all probability we may then dispense with the Legislative Council. In that item we might save something, but not in the expenditure required for the Board of Works, as some hon. members seem to suppose. I admit that some of our public works such as lighthouses, breakwaters, &c., the Dominion will, should we enter, have to provide for, and I contend as these will belong to the Dominion and were built since 1869, they should pay as for them. The payment for all such were assumed under the Quebec Scheme, and it is our right to be placed in these respects on the same footing. Again by the terms of the North America Act we are placed, with regard to public works, in a worse position than they are on the mainland. In all time to come, on account of our isolated position, we cannot demand from the Dominion Government one cent for any public Works to be undertaken by us after we enter, no matter how much they may be required. Since the Quebec Terms were announced we have built a number of such works, which will after union belong to the Dominion, and certainly, as I have before stated, we should be paid for them.
To the Dominion the amount would not be much, but to us it is of importance, besides it is our due, nor do I for a moment believe they will object to pay us for them. I therefore do hope that when a delegation goes up, that, it will be fortified by a strong resolution from this Assembly, so that it may not be said they went up without the sanction and authority of this House. The late government called the House to meet on a certain day, then dissolved it, and in this hasty and indecent way took the country by storm on the School Question, which was unfair. Now, however, I do not see how they can fairly oppose such a proposal. They say they are Confederates, they will therefore see it to be […]
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[…] their duty to give their support to the government to enable us to obtain the best possible terms which can be had. When the Dominion Government knows that the Legislature here is prepared to carry out the movement in good faith they will cordially reciprocate, and I have no doubt we shall finds disposition on the part of the Canadian Ministry and Parliament to do that justice to our claims which we are entitled to.
I hope, therefore, that we shall have the cordial co-operation of hon. members in Opposition, to enable us to obtain terms which will enable us to carry on the local government of the colony without having to resort at an early day to direct taxation. Should it be otherwise, loud complaints will come in from all parts of the country. Our people will say we have given up the power of general taxation to the Dominion, we receive but an additional eighty cents per head on our increase of population at the end of each decennial period, while in the same time our Revenue will increase to thrice what it is now. Better terms than those offered we have a right to look for. Better, I feel persuaded, we are entitled to, and if sought for, I am confident better we shall obtain. When the House, therefore, goes into committee, I hope a strong and unanimous resolution will be agreed to, so that we may be able to present our claims as those of the whole House, and not as those of one portion of it (Loud Applause.)
Mr. D. Laird.—I believe it is the first time we have heard the Hon. Leader of the Government avow that he has been, for some time, a Confederate ; this he does, no doubt, to suit his purpose. I am surprised that the self-constituted Delegate, to the Alexandra Hotel in London, who was delighted with the $800,000 offer, is not at all satisfied with the offer now before the country, containing far better terms in every respect. He was prepared, when he received the $800,000 offer, to recommend the people of this Island to accept it. But a change has come over the spirit of his dream, and he now tells us that this question has been forced upon the people in an unwarrantable manner, although he, himself, was prepared to force the question before them on the Alexandra Hotel offer. He has endeavoured to show that Confederation is now a matter of necessity, on. account of the be management of the late government. It is an astounding announcement. The leader of a government that passed the Railway Bill, and thereby involved the colony so deeply in debt, now turns round and cooly declares that Confederation is forced upon the country by some paltry expenditure on the part of the late government. Out upon such conduct, sir. Why did he not plainly admit that the construction of the Railway, and not the expenditure of a small sum by the Board of Works in building a few small bridges, had forced us to seek admission into the Dominion? He has only been making out a case for himself, and has no solid ground to argue upon. He endeavors to make out that the colony was well able to bear its Railway debt, without Confederation, if the financial affairs of the country had been well managed; but I never believed that such was the case. He finds fault with the passing of the Branch Bill. which added $250,000 to the public debt, although he, himself, promised in the speech at the opening of the six days’ session, to introduce that Bill. A great many charges have been made against the late government in reference to the letting of the contract for the branch lines; but I contend that the sum for which that contract was let was the only reliable offer they received. Although the branches cost $1000 per mile more than the trunk. the country has more than full value for the extra cost. There are no […]
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[…] spruce sleepers on the branch lines’ no rabbit wire fence, no broomstick fence-posts. l blamed the coalition government for violating the law of the land by substituting a paltry wire fence for the wooden one provided by the Act. When one condition of the contract was changed without the consent of the securities, the whole contract was violated, and if the contractors chose to avail themselves of it, they could scatter the whole thing to the four winds of heaven. If that wire fence had been a good one, they might have been excused, but it was utterly worthless, and a waste of the public money. I, myself, saw miles of that fence, every wire of which, except the tap one, was broken to the ground. It will be a disgrace and a standing reproach to them as long as they have a name in this colony.
There is sufficient value in the superior fences, sleepers and bridges on the branch lines to make up far more than the $1000 extra cost, leaving out the fact that iron was 50 per cent higher when that contract was let, than at the letting of the trunk line. The branches were properly surveyed, the line marked out, and the number of square yards of earth-work, rock-work and bridging, clearly laid down before the contract was let. If there was any one act of the coalition to be condemned, it was that of omitting to stake out the line which the contractors were to follow. There is a much smaller proportion of curves in the branches than in the trunk line, owing to their being surveyed previous to being let.
The late government were well aware that very little work could be done on the branch lines during winter, and that the present session was ample time to provide for all the expenses of those lines. They acted honestly in the whole matter, and the country did not condemn them in anything they did with reference to the branches. Those hon. members who deserted our ranks, were at the bottom of all the action taken on the branch lines; yet, after all; our constituents are not dissatisfied with our actions on this matter. We were returned to our seats in this House, because we did the best that could be done in the circumstances under which we were placed. I am sorry those hon. members for whom the branch lines were undertaken have showed so little thanks for all we did for them, as to desert our ranks. Several hon. members on the government side of the House, returned by the people to oppose Confederation, have given their support to a leader of a party bound to carry out Confederation, and endeavor to excuse themselves, and to apologise for their actions, by asserting that they now find out that the late government ruined the credit of the country, and that it can never be restored. Those hon. members have endeavored to make a scape-goat of the Opposition ; but I can assure them that we have no intention of bearing their sins ;we are willing to hear our own, but no other.
The late government have been accused of building a boat for the Charlottetown Ferry, although the old boat was a miserable old rattle-trap, and the districts south of the river badly neglected. It was nothing at all to pass a Railway Bill, but it was a terrible act to grant a small sum of money to benefit a part of the country through which the Railway does not pass ; and therefore the late government was a most extravagant one ! It is high time we had Confederation, if so small a matter as the building of a Ferry Boat ruins the credit of the country. A few bridges costing in the aggregate $20,000 were built in neighborhoods which do not derive any advantage from the Railway ; and I contend that the people of those localities were justly entitled to them.
The next matter alleged to have materially assisted in destroying the credit of the country, was the land damages. If there si [sic] one member of this House more responsible […]
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[…] than another for the large amount paid for land damages, it is the Hon. Leader of the Government, who provided for them in his Railway Bill. As provision was made for the payment of the land damages, the money must be paid on the production of the certificates given by the Railway Commissioners ; in fact, farmers whose lands have been taken, could enforce the payment of the sums awarded by the Commissioners. When the Appraisers give their award, they are bound by law to direct payment to be made immediately. When the late government came into power, the Railway Commissioners had to go to work immediately, as a large quantity of land had been taken possession of all along the line of road. During the first part of the session, there was no trouble in meeting the demands upon the Treasury, as the Banks readily cashed the ten year Debentures, owing to the favorable state of our trade at that time ; but this state of matters did not continue as the Banks, in the course of time, either could not or would not accept the Debentures.
The late government acted very carefully and prudently in the whole matter, and paid every demand made upon them. If there was no exchange to be obtained at home, it was their duty to go abroad for it ; but it happened that in the other Provinces the money market was almost as low as on this Island, and but a small quantity of Debentures could be sold at par. The very thing with which they were charged, viz : that of deprecating the value of our Debentures, was what they did most to avoid, and what Debentures they did sell, were sold at par ; but the quantity was too limited to do them much good. They, therefore, projected a loan of £25,000, as they thought it better to pay interest than to sell the Debentures below par. This loan helped our exchange, considerably, during the past winter. The Hon. Leader of the Government makes more ado about that $25,000 than he did about the whole Railway debt. If the colony cannot pay the former small amount how can it pay the latter?
Before the third of May comes, more duties will be paid into the Treasury, than will cover the amount borrowed. In case it might not be convenient for this colony to pay that Bank, it was asked to renew the note at the same rate of interest for another three months, and promised to do so. If the late government had been sustained, there would have been no need to redeem the Debentures deposited, as they would have accepted Confederation upon the terms offered, and the Debentures would have been taken at par. It had been stated that there was a much larger amount of money in the Treasury when the coalition resigned the reins of power, than when the late government resigned. Taking into account the six thousand pounds sterling forwarded to London to pay the interest on the Debentures due in July, the statement is incorrect. Instead of showing bad management on the part of the late government, it showed forethought to prepare a month or two beforehand, to meet the interest on the Railway Debentures.
It is to be wondered at, that when the money market was exceedingly depressed, the late government could not sell sufficient debentures to pay the land damages, when the Hon. Leader of the Government did not do so when money was plenty? The late government are not answerable for the present depression of the securities of the Colony ; the whole trouble arose from the passing of the Railway Bill, which imposed a burden upon the colony greater than it could bear. The night the Railway Bill was passed, the doom of this country, as an independent colony, was sealed. I do not mean to say that we were no longer free- men, for there is as much liberty, and […]
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[…] a great deal more in Canada, than there is, under the iron away of the hon. members for Alberton and Summerside, in this colony. It is the interest upon the Railway debt which draws from our Banks a very large amount of exchange, which weighs, and will weigh heavily upon the people of this Island. This is what disturbs our finances and injures our credit, and the Hon. the Leader of the Government may as well confess it at once. But, sir, his honor, with his great popularity, will soon be able to restore the credit of the colony, for the credit of the able men who compose the present government has only to be known in London, Paris, Berlin, &c.’ and our credit will immediately rise far above par !
The hon. Leader of the Government, with all his boasted wealth and popularity knows that it is not his name or those of the members of his government that can effect the credit of the colony ; it is punctual payment of the interest on our debentures that affects its credit. Do they ask in England whether Hon. Mr. Haythorne or Hon. J. C. Pope is leader of our government, before purchasing our Island bebentures [sic]? No. They ask ” what is your population ? What is your annual Revenue? What demands come in before the payment of the interest on those debentures?” They look at all these things, and then at our ability to pay our interest punctually, without asking a single question as to what party or government is in power at the present time. I doubt whether the present hon. Colonial Secretary or even the hon. Leader of the Government himself, would have succeeded in disposing of one single debenture more than Mr. Albert Hensley did.
The excuses of the Government supporters for turning round in favor of Confederation, are paltry and ridiculous ; and they are not able to put the saddle on our horse at all, sir. The delegation to Ottawa, to procure terms for union with Canada, is denounced by the hon. Leader of the Government as a conspiracy against the liberties of this colony. I wonder whether his honor has a conscience at all or not, and what name he gives to his delegation to the Alexandra Hotel in London ; he had, as every one knows, no authority from any government to go there. When he returned from England, he used all his influence to force the $800,000 offer upon his government, but he did not succeed. This little conspiracy was, no doubt, to his mind, all right and perfectly just ; but the delegation to Ottawa was a secret plot to undermine the liberties of the country, and was inexcusable. The present terms are all wrong, because they were not brought down by himself. If one or two little two-penny half-penny lighthouses and drill sheds are to be the only excuse for his seeking better terms, he has not the shadow of an argument for another delegation to Ottawa.
The very claims which he now proposes to make on the government of the Dominion were presented by the late Delegates, and refused, and doubtless he will find they will be refused for him also. He tells us we should not be placed in a worse position, financially, than any of the other colonies, and that our acceptance of the present terms would place us in that position. This is, certainly, a most extraordinary statement. Why, sir, by accepting the terms now offered, this Island would be placed in a vastly superior position to any of the other colonies that have entered the confederacy. The other provinces received only $25 per head of their population, as their assumed debt, while we would receive $45 per head. We were allowed this extra sum because we, as an island, are cut off and receive no benefit from the public works of the Dominion. Taking the present policy of the Canadian Government as a basis, we calculated the proposed expenditure of the Dominion for the next […]
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[…] ten or fifteen years, added this to their present debt and divided the total. amount by their present population. This gave forty-five dollars per head, the amount allowed us. At the end of ten or fifteen years,their population will be vastly increased, so that their debt will never actually reach $45 per head. The sum granted us was, therefore, a very liberal one. Instead of increasing, as was expected, the taxation of the Dominion has actually decreased to such an extent that the duties at present, amount to only about 9 1/2per cent, although they .were at one time 13 1/2 per cent. The following is from Mr. Tilley’s budget speech :—
“We now come to another statement, and I desire. to make it here, though I shall refer to it again at a later period. I would call attention to the rate of duties collected during the first years of the union. The percentage in 1867, on goods entered for consumption was twelve and twenty-five hundredths,. which was increased in the next year to twelve and thirty-one hundredths. In the third year when Parliament imposed additional duties, it was increased to thirteen and twenty- eight hundredths, and in the next year it was raised to thirteen and sixty-two hundredths. In the following year, however, it went down to twelve and eleven hundredths; and for the first half of the current year on $72,841,668, of goods entered for consumption, the revenue was $6,903,010, or nine and forty-seven hudredths per cent. This has arisen from the reduction of taxation which took. place in 1871, and from the still further reduction of taxation occasioned last year by the withdrawal of the duties on tea and coffee. These are some of the facts which speak of the progress and prosperity of the country.”
Canada has at present an annual surplus of Revenue over expenditure sufficient to pay the interest on a public debt of $30,000,000 in addition to her present debt. The debt per head of the Dominion after the completion of the Pacific Railway and all the other great public works now proposed, will not, according to Mr. Tilley’s statement, be greater than it is at present; and judging from the experience. of the past five years, his statement is borne out by the facts of the case. I quote from Mr. Tilley’s Speech :—
“I will now state the whole increase in the public debt since 1867. In 1867 the net debt was $75,728,641, and in 1872 it was $82,187,072, making a net increase of the debt $6,458,431. Now, sir, what have we had in return for this increase. We find that the increase of the debt of the Dominion is just the same as the increase in population during the period mentioned, and no more; that the net debt in 1872, as compared with the population shown by the census returns, is just the same in proportion to the population as it was in 1867. And what have we done in that period? We have expended half the money necessary for the construction of the Inter- colonial Railway, and half of that great work has been completed.. We have purchased the North West Territory, for which we paid three hundred thousand pounds sterling, and we have paid another three hundred thousand pounds sterling for opening up the country and establishing a government; (cheers), we have expended a million and a half of dollars for public works chargeable against capital—works that it was understood by this House should be chargeable against capital ; we have expended $480,000 for the survey of the Pacific Railway, which, however, will be paid back by the Company out of its subsidy, and we have assumed the debt of the Province of British Columbia, amounting to $1,666,200; and this is represented by a population equal in proportion to the populations with which the other provinces came into the Dominion. But after doing […]
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[…] all this, after we have half constructed the Intercolonial Railway, spent three hundred thousand pounds sterling for the purchase of the North West, another three hundred thousand pounds for the establishment of a government there; a million and a half of dollars on public works chargeable to capital; $480,000 for the Pacific Railway, and assumed the debt of British Columbia, the debt of the Dominion today is not one cent greater in proportion to the population than. it was five years ago.” (Cheers)
If we, therefore, accept the present offer, and enter the Dominion with an allowance of $45 per head, as our assumed debt, we shall have a decided advantage over the other provinces, as the public debt of Canada will never, except in case of war, reach that amount per head of her population. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that the debt of Canada will not amount to as much per head twelve years hence as it is at present. Taking these facts into consideration, how can the hon. Leader of the Government make out a case and show that justice has not been done this Island in the terms at present offered, when he goes on this delegation to Ottawa to seek for better terms?
I doubt whether the Privy Council of the Dominion will entertain his arguments at all. They will look at their allowance for our assumed debt. and then at the grant of $800,000 for the purchase of our proprietory lands, which latter was the value of the whole Island in its primitive state, when granted away by the British Crown, reckoning the land to be worth at that time 80 cents per acre. As far as the granting away of our lands is concerned, they have actually offered to .make good the loss we have sustained. Then again; we are to receive the value of our new post office and steam dredge, while the other provinces never received a single cent for similar property possessed by them on entering the union. This was another special favor shown to this Island, as we had no right to any allowance which was not made to the other provinces. Having received payment for those matters, it is a paltry affair to ask remuneration for our little lighthouses and drill sheds. When Exhibition day comes round, we may require the latter for the display of our agricultural products, when our farmers will ornament them with pumpkins, cranberries and other vegetables, and I believe the Dominion Government will only be too glad to grant us the free use of them for such a purpose. In fact the terms now offered us, are considered by the greater number of intelligent men among ourselves, and also by the people of all the neighboring Provinces, as extremely liberal to the people of this colony.
Hear what the Toronto Globe, an Opposition newspaper, says on this matter :—
“It will be seen, as we have said that the terms are made exceptionally favorable to the Island in view ‘of the possibility of a readjustment of the financial arrangements between Canada and the several provinces now embraced in the Dominion.’ This means, evidently, that as matters at present stand, it is felt that the proposed arrangements are too liberal,. but that the ‘ better terms’ system will, in all likelihood, travel round the whole Dominion, and then what is proposed, will be something like what it ought to be.”
If I am not mistaken, the hon. Leader of the Government when presenting his claims for better terms before the. Privy Council at Ottawa, will only, be laughed at for his pains. Many items which we pay for from the Treasury, are provided for in the Dominion by local taxation. Education, for instance, is almost wholly provided for there by local taxation, but we are, by the present terms, allowed to get. off scot free, by receiving a sufficient […]
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[…] allowance to maintain our free education system intact. The less the hon. Leader of the Government says about our local wants the better, as the Dominion Government will soon tell him that we have been offered too much already. (Mr. Laird here read the following table, showing what the Revenue and expenditure of the colony would be under Confederation, if the terms brought down from Ottawa by himself and Hon. Mr. Haythorne are accepted.)
State of Colony Under Confederation
Road Service and Ferries, 18,658.18
Supreme Court, 10,035.08
Less Salaries three Judges, 5,193.00
Legislation- House of Assembly, 13,474.81
Legislative Council, 6,101.52
Legislative Library, 184.13
Less Expenses Short Session, 662.88
41 members pay extra 64.89 2660.49
Executive Council, 2,228.21
Lunatic Asylum, 5,105.44
Poor Asylum, 4,983.09
Boards of Health, 585.48
Coronoers’ Inquests, 690.76
Less three-fourths, 2,489.05
Telegraph Company, 2,750.65
Colonial Building 624.13
Public Printing and Stationery, 8,548.79
Less Custom House, 1000.00
Military Department 100.00 1,100.00
Salaries Public Officers, 14,880.82
Less Lieutenant Governors, 6,813.50
Private Secretary, 325.00
Manager Savings Bank, 974.00
Board of Works, 96,405.88
Less Expense of Lighthouses, 2,163.49
Buoys and Beacons, 1,121.05
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Steam Dredge, 9,211.79
New Post Office, &c., 19,348.64
Less say, 2,889.00
Less Public Lands, 3,337.67
Less Expense Cent Coinage, 900.45
Geological Survey 411.86
Return Duties, 155.45
Rent Post Office Summerside, 64.88
Wharfage Mail Steamer, 194.67
Protection Fisheries, 457.53
Relief Distressed Seamen 203.88
British American Note Company, 173.75
Local Packet Service, 3,261.38
Total local expenditrue under Dominion, $206,048.85
Receipts Under Confederation
Debt Colony Jan. 31, 1873, 1,609,507.09
Less Railway Debt, do. 1,083,522.26
Add cost of Railway, 3,250,000.00
$45 per head population 94,021 4,230,945.00
Interest on balance at 5 per cent, 454,970.17 22,748.00
80 cents per head, 75,216.00
Subsidy to local government and Leg. 30,000.00
Land Subsidy, 45,000.00
Allowance on Law Courts 69,000.00
Less amount for New Courts, 29,000.00
Amount paid on Dredge, 9,211.00
Int. at 6 per cent. $49,211.00 $2,952.66
Total from Dominion, 175,916.66
Land Assessment, 13,547.37
Amount due on lands, 335,000.00
Less estimated, 35,000.00
Interest at 6 per cent, 18,000.00
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Crown Lands, 385.55
Rent Warren Farm, 90.32
Colonial Secretary’s Fees, 1,035.63
Registrar’s Fees, 1,035.63
Prothonotary’s Fees 1/2 year, 1,614.93 3,229.86
License Duty, 2,326.47
Fines and Penalties, 372.04
Total from local sources, 42,723.66
Total local revenue under Confederation, 218,640.32
Total expenditures asper previous statement, 206,048.85
Balance in favor of local government $12,591.47
The legislators who cannot keep the total expenses of the session within the limit of $4,000; should be cashiered by the people. The hon. Leader of the Government puts down in his figures the cost of a general and partial election for every year ; perhaps this is because his own government is so weak that it will not stand longer than that. I consider one-fourth of that amount sufficient to be placed in our annual Expenditure, under confederation. The greater part of the sum expended for public printing last year, was paid to the printers employed by the Coalition Government. All the Custom House printing, will, under Confederation, belong to the Dominion, which will reduce the usual outlay consider ably.
All expenses of Light Houses will be included in Dominion expenses. The 9000 spent in the Steam Dredge should not be placed in our annual expenditure, as we shall not require one every year. Nor will we require a New Court House, and Jail annually. I consider that $54,000 ample for the yearly Expenditure of the Board of Works under Confederation. The Miscellaneous include many items which will belong to the Dominion, to the extent of $4247.73 leaving only $2550.33 for the expenses of the local government, under this head. But the hon. Leader of the Government takes this sum, without analyzing it, jumbles it altogether and charges it to the local government. Making all necessary allowances, I should say that our total Expenditure, under Confederation will not exceed $205,038.85, per annum.
Then, as regards our Receipts under Confederation, he states that one-third of the amounts due for Public Lands sold by the government, will be lost. I contend that the sum allowed us for the purchase of lands will go a long way, if properly managed. We are now paying six per cent for money, and I consider the one per cent difference in the interest under Confederation will fully make up for all the loss we may sustain on our public lands. I believe that the Land Subsidy allowed us will be fully worth $45,000 per year to the Colony, and will therefore allow no reduction of that item. I will allow any financier in or out of this Colony to judge between my financial statement and that of His Honor the Leader of the Government, and to say which is correct. I will put my word and reputation before his, and allow the public to judge between us.
Taking the whole matter into consideration ; if his honor has no better reasons for another Delegation to Ottawa than he has adduced, he might as well have no recess, for he has not given a single argument in support of his claim for better terms, that will be entertained by the Dominion […]
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[…] Government. I have not the least doubt that if he had obtained the present terms, he would have boasted loudly of the ability displayed in obtaining them; but the great trouble with him is that he did not bring them down himself, and he therefore, cannot accept them.
The great secret of the matter is that the present government did not obtain the present terms, and they must needs put the country to the expense of another delegation. I would not be sorry to see more liberal terms obtained, but as there is not the shadow of a prospect of obtaining them, it would be a mere waste of time and money to endeavor to attempt to do so. The government do not seem to entertain the least respect for the Despatch from Lord Dufferin, stating that no better terms will be conceded to this Colony. Would the Governor-General stultify himself by making a statement which he knew to he untrue? The thing is absurd. I have heard the private declaration of members of the Dominion Privy Council that no appllcation [sic] need be made for better terms than those now offered, for they would not be granted. We asked for $10,000 a year more for our lands ; but received only $5,000, and were then told that this was the last concession P. E. Island would receive from them.
The Dominion government invited the late government to send a delegation up to Ottawa; we did not invite ourselves. We received quite as much consideration from the Dominion government as the hon. Leader of the government himself would have got, if he had been on that delegation. As anti-confederates, we were more likely to succeed in obtaining liberal terms than he would have been, as he agreed to accept far less favorable terms than those now. offered. His party ran the election on false pretences, and now endeavor to cover up their change of base by sending off another delegation to make an attempt to get better terms, but they cannot show the shadow of an argument in favor of their action.
I wonder whether the hon. Leader of the Government will ask Canada to give up the Railway to this Island and allow us to work it ourselves ? If it would earn $50,000 the first year over and above working expenses, as stated by the hon. member for Alberton (Mr. Howlan), by all means get it back ; but I believe his honor the Leader of the government expects the earnings to be $20,000 a year less than working expenses. I have not the least doubt that the Dominion government, if asked to do so, would willingly give up the Railway to be worked and managed by our local government.