House of Commons, 8 June 1869, Canadian Confederation with Newfoundland

646 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869


Sir George E. Cartier, in moving the third reading of the Bill respecting Patents of Invention, said he had decided to accept the first amendment of which Mr. Blake had given notice, which was as follows:—"That there be added to the 33rd clause the words following—[']Provided always that if application shall be made by any other person for a patent for any invention or discovery with which such caveat may in any respect interfere, it shall be the duty of the Commissioner forthwith to give notice by mail to the person who has filed such caveat, and such person shall within three months after the date of mailing the notice, if he would avail himself of the caveat, file his petition, and take other steps necessary on an application for patent, and if in the opinion of the Commissioner the applications are interfering, like proceedings may be had in all respects as by this Act provided in the case of interfering applications. Provided further that, unless the person filing any caveat shall, within four years from filing thereof, have made application for a patent, the caveat shall be void." He could not, however, accept the other amendment of which the hon. gentleman had given notice. That there be added, as a subsection of the 37th clause, the words following "no decision of arbitration shall preclude any person interested in favour of or against the validity of any patent from his right to assert or contest the same in any Court in which its validity may come in question." This clause merely provided for Ministerial duty and did not give the patentee any right which might not be conferred on him under the patent, and there was, therefore, no necessity for making the reserve suggested.
Mr. Blake said he was willing to accept the hon. Baronet[']s interpretation of the 37th clause, although his own interpretation of it had been different.
The House then went back into Committee on the Bill and made the amendment which the Minister of Militia had intimated his willingness to accept. The Bill was reported, and was read a 3rd time and passed.


Hon. Mr. Rose moved that the House go into Committee of the Whole to consider the resolutions on the subject of the Union of Newfoundland to the Dominion of Canada.
Mr. Mackenzie, before the Minister of Finance proceeded to offer any remarks on his resolutions, wished to know whether he was prepared to lay before the House information as to the statistics of Newfoundland, which it was necessary the House should possess before it could intelligently consider the resolutions. It was impossible for any but a very few of the members to obtain this information for themselves. He had gone to the Library to-day and found that almost every volume relating to the statistics of Newfoundland had been taken away by parties connected with the Government.
Hon. Mr. Rose said. that very full statistics as to Newfoundland had been submitted to the Quebec Conference, and little change had taken place since in the relative status of that Colony compared with the others. He would be happy to give the fullest information in his power as they went over the resolutions seriatim. He was not aware of any books on the subject having been taken from the Library, except that two hours ago he had sent for a volume containing the latest statements of exports and imports. In now moving that the Speaker do leave the chair, for the House to go into Committee on these resolutions, he would briefly give the House such information as he thought it should be put in possession of. At this period of the session, and as the terms of the agreement had been very fully discussed at the time of the Quebec Conference and subsequently, he did not intend to weary the House with many observations. He took it for granted that the policy of bringing Newfoundland into the Union would not be disputed. Any one who looked at the matter would see that this Union could not be complete so long as this Island, stretching across the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, with Nova Scotia on one side and Labrador on the other, did not belong to the Dominion. He thought, too, that the extent and value of the trade of Newfoundland were not sufficiently known. He would first allude to the extent of the Maritime interest. According to the latest statistical information within our reach, no less than 1,557 vessels were owned in Newfoundland, having a tonnage of 87,000 tons, and an estimated value of $4,000,000. Then as regarded its foreign trade 1,216 vessels in one year entered the various ports of Newfoundland, and 1,016 vessels cleared. The aggregate of seamen belonging to these vessels was upwards of 10,000. There were engaged besides in the seal-fishing 230 sail, and in the cod-fishing 13,000 boats, employing a population of nearly 40,000 persons. Newfoundland stood in a happy 648 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 position. Her exports for a number of years had always been larger than her imports, but the character of her population and of her industries was such that she furnished a market for the surplus products of the rest of the Dominion. The population of Newfoundland was wholly a consuming population, raising nothing and manufacturing nothing. They were wholly a consuming population, engaged in maritime pursuits. The following were some of the leading articles of import:- Flour, 200,000 bbls; Indian meal, 40,000 bbls; biscuit, 50,000 cwt; butter, 1,500,000 lbs; cheese 100,000 lbs; oatmeal, 4,000 bbls; peas, 4,000 bbls; manufactured tobacco, 1,000,000 lbs; woollen blankets, cloths, leather, etc., $1,500,000. The great bulk of the importations were the products in which other portions of Canada abounded, and which we could supply, and she would furnish a market not only for our agricultural products, but for our woollen and other manufactures.
Mr. Mackenzie thought the hon. gentleman[']s figures as to biscuits were too large.
Hon. Mr. Rose said they had struck him as rather large. The articles he had just mentioned, he continued, constituted the great bulk of the imports of Newfoundland, and almost every one of them could be supplied by the other portions of the Dominion. Then the seafaring population which Newfoundland would add to the Union would be very valuable. France had long shown her appreciation of such a body of men by the bounty which she gave her fishermen. She gave $2 on each quintal of fish taken, or a total bounty of about a quarter of a million sterling. (Hear.) He now desired to say a word or two regarding the exports of that Colony. The last returns give the total exports at about $5,000,000 and a little over, of which $1,500,000 went to the United States, and over $3,000,000 to England; $70,000 direct to Spain, $800,000 direct to Portugal, and $70,000 direct to Brazil. Now, what the Dominion needs is variety of markets. Here we can secure three outlets. To show the trade we might look forward to with this colony, the honourable gentleman stated the sources from whence the principal articles consumed there were at present imported. Out of their entire $5,500,000 of imports of last year, $1,500,000 came from the United States, including and principally composed of the very articles he had just now enumerated—flour, butter, cheese, and such articles as we produce. About one-third of a million came from Hamburg, and consisted of butter, lard, biscuits, &c.; $2,048,000 came from England, in articles such as woollens, blankets, &c, leaving only some $400,000 worth for the whole of Canada. There was, he believed, very little doubt, that instead of this miserable moiety we got, the whole of this large trade might be ours. To show how much more was consumed by Newfoundland, in comparison with the other Provinces, he would state that in the latter the imports ranged from about $20 to $30 per head, while in Newfoundland they reached $42.07 per head. (Hear, hear.) He would now say a word or two as to the mineral wealth of the Colony. Its development had increased only recently. Only two mines were yet open, in which 500 men were employed, who, with their families, made a population of over a thousand souls settled in a country, where four years ago only three or four families were resident. Having read from Sir William Logan[']s report to show the great value of this and the other mining districts, the hon. gentleman said he would reserve further details of the scheme for the discussion in Committee, and would take up no more time with preparatory remarks further than to observe that the resolutions before the House were based on those of the Quebec Conference.
Mr. Masson (Terrebonne,) enquired what steps were taken with regard to the protection of the inshore fisheries?
Hon. Mr. Rose replied that they had the treaty rights, whatever they might be, to guard against American fishermen.
The House then went into Committee on the resolutions, Mr. Street in the Chair.
Hon. Mr. Rose moved the first resolution, "That it is expedient to provide that Canada shall be liable for the debts and liabilities of Newfoundland existing at the time of the Union."
In answer to Mr. Mackenzie,
Hon. Mr. Rose said that the debt of Newfoundland was in round numbers $1,400,000. It was at the same rate per head as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, $27.60.
Mr. Blake, Does the $1,400,000 include the liability to the water company?
Hon. Mr. Rose said it did not. This was only the direct debt of Newfoundland.
Mr. Blake—Does it include everything but the water works liability?
Hon. Mr. Rose.—Yes, and the debt stands in a very satisfactory way so far as the Dominion is concerned in this way. It is due in a great measure to the people of Newfoundland themselves, mainly to the Savings Banks, and bore a small rate of interest. The aggregate amount due was $651,000, of which $450,000 was due the Government. The greater amount of this is due to 1,385 depositors; of whom 640 were depositors under $200, 400 under $500, and 200 under $1,000 each. The rate of interest was mainly 3 per cent. The debt of the colony bore various rates of interest—4, 5, 5 1/2, and 6 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Smith asked if there were any assets to represent the debt. What property was to be handed over?
Hon. Mr. Rose—Their revenues are to be handed over. The average receipts from the Customs for the five years previous to 1867, were from $510,000 to $530,000; and in 1868 $634,000.
Hon. Mr. Wood—Was the debt created for public works, or did it arise on annual deficits?
Hon. Mr. Rose—Some of it was created by public works, a large sum being laid out on roads and bridges. The deficits he did not think would amount to any large sum.
Hon. Mr. Wood—It seems by the returns to be the normal state of things that $2,000 a year must be paid to the poor of the Island.
Hon. Mr. Rose—Yes.
Mr. Mackenzie contended that the returns showed that even a larger sum was annually paid to the poor. As to a large portion of the debt being at four per cent.-
Hon. Mr. Rose said he only stated that some portion was at that figure.
Mr. Mackenzie found none lower than 4 3/4 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Rose said there was some $50,000 of the amount.
Mr. Blake—At the present rate, what will be the annual charge undertaken by Canada under these resolutions, inclusive of whatever amount may be due the Water Company, and will have to be borne by the Dominion?
Hon. Mr. Rose proposed to have answered this on a subsequent resolution; but would state it at once. It was this:—Interest on the amount by which the debt of Newfoundland is less per head than Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada, $110,000 to $120,000, say $115,000; the 80c per head, $140,000, Crown Lands, $150,000; Special payments, $350,000; making in all $406,000 or $408,000.
Hon. Mr. Wood said that the debt per head was only $25.76 and a fraction for the Provinces now in the Union.
Hon. Mr. Rose—I am aware of that.
Hon. Mr. Wood—You propose giving more then?
Hon. Mr. Rose said he had already stated that he proposed to make it equal to that of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Mr. Blake—That is, according to the proposed arrangement, not the existing one.
Hon. Mr. Rose—Exactly. (Hear, hear.)
Hon. Mr. Smith said that having accepted the situation he would not oppose the resolutions, but he thought he could show that this bargain was very one-sided. The Customs revenue would in all probability fall far short of that of any previous year. It was estimated in 1868 at $468,000. Under the Union what would be the result? The duty on flour, which realized upwards of $69,000 to Newfoundland would of course be lost, as it would not be imposed. Nor would that on other articles, amounting in all to upwards of $114,000. Deducting this amount, let us see what we get and what we will give. We will not probably get more than $300,000 from the Customs, and we will pay interest on their debt, $3,500,000—$175,000; and their debt, it had to be remembered, differed from that of the other Provinces. Theirs arose in the construction of public works which were handed over to the Dominion. Then we have to pay $150,000 for Crown lands which were worth nothing, Last year the revenue from these was $2,600, whereas the cost was $6,000. Yet here we gravely propose to pay $150,000 a year rent, and manage them besides. Then the 80c per head, amounting to $104,000; subsidy $350,000; steamboat communication not now provided for between Newfoundland 652 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 and England, as well as a subsidy to the existing line between Newfoundland and Halifax, $75,000; also the Lieutenant-Governor[']s salary, say $10,000; expenses of the revenue collection, $35,000; judicial expenses, $10,000 or $15,000; making in all a payment to Newfoundland, under the proposed arrangement, of upwards of $600,000, for which we are to receive $300,000. Was not that a pretty dear bargain? Why, it appeared that one-fifth of the entire revenue of the Island, $50,000, had to be devoted to the support of the poor. Then the resolutions will give them $100,000 more than they are accustomed to have for their customary local wants. These matters ought to be carefully considered, for, as he viewed it, while we were extending the area of the Dominion, we were weakening our strength, and it might unfortunately turn out that Newfoundland, instead of being a source of strength, would be a source of weakness. (Cheers.)
Hon. Mr. Howe said he had no doubt that Canada, for her own purposes, had formed this Confederacy. She had taken step after step with a view to this consolidation, and in that view the acquisition of Newfoundland was a matter of prime importance. We were enlarging our responsibilty: we had stretched it westward until we hardly knew its limits, and now must stretch it east as far as Newfoundland. At all events, Newfoundland to us is a necessity. We may throw ofi the great West, but we cannot throw ofi Newfoundland. It lies in the very chops of the channel, as it were; is at the entrance of our New Dominion, and to every man looking to the consolidation of the Dominion he would say, Newfoundland is a necessity. Newfoundland is worth having for her own value and importance; and her higher political importance, in looking at the future, could not be over-rated. The five North American Colonies had all their trials and tribulations in the past, but Newfoundland had more than her share. Now she knocked at the door of Confederation for admittance; she was not coerced, but wanted to come in constitutionally, and for that reason he sympathized in her application. She is the oldest Colony on the Continent, was discovered first, and occupied first. The honourable gentleman proceeded to allude to two or three delightful summers which he spent in that Colony, and said what he then saw made him more willing to admit this people into the Confederacy. In their towns he had found as educated, refined, and wealthy a people as any on the main land, and on their harbours and bays were to be found a population physically as fine as any on the Continent. In point of beauty and social attractiveness, the women of Newfoundland were magnificent, (loud laughter,) many of them being equal to two-thirds of a man. (Renewed laughter,) Having dwelt on the seafaring population, this Colony would bring to the Dominion some 38,000, and stated that this would swell the number of able bodied seamen in the Confederacy to 69,000 or 70,000. The hon. gentleman went on to allude to the political celebrities of Newfoundland. Men of enlarged mind and true political sagacity were, it appeared, never wanting to fight her battles where difficulties arose, and he hoped to see some of these men in the service of the Confederacy. She was a country with an interior. All her wealth and industry lay on the sea coast; but she had got an interior, and you can reach it. You can cross nearly the whole island by water. The hon. gentleman spoke of the fine harbours of the island, and said in some of the towns, although the inhabitants appeared to be few, they were worth their thousands of pounds sterling. The cod- fishery was one for which they had a hard contest, and out of which they made comparatively little; but the seal-fishery was a rich one, peculiarly their own, and could not be taken from them. In a small town, in which he was one day, he met a fine sturdy fisherman with a gin-bottle about as big as a clothes basket, (loud laughter,) who had got in $10,000 worth of seals in four weeks. That would show the exceeding value of the crop. With another story about a relative of his, named Paddy Malony, the President of the Council subsided.
Mr. Blake. alluding to the remarks of the President of the Council, said it might be that the observations from his side of the House had been immaterial. It might be that they had taken too low and practical a view of some of the aspects of the question. He did not think, however, that they had done more to arrive at the actual position of the facts than anything that had been done in that direction by the hon. gentleman who had just taken his seat. The hon. gentleman had rightly said that the inhabitants of Newfoundland were not to be coerced into the Union. He (Mr. Blake) would say, neither ought they to be bribed. (Hear, hear). He did not say whether they were being bribed or not: but he wanted to get at the facts on which he could form a judgment on that subject. He did not think the House had been properly treated in the mode in which the Minister of Finance had introduced the question, and 654 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 sought to carry it to a conclusion. On a question so important, he should give the whole details that were involved in the arrangement under which it was proposed to incorporate the Province of Newfoundland, so that members might have an intelligent understanding of the whole matter, and know What they would probably have to pay for Newfoundland, and what they would probably derive from it, so that they might understand whether the bargain was a fair or an unfair one. The Finance Minister answered this by saying that they were merely consummating the proposition which was made at the Quebec Conference. He (Mr. Blake) apprehended that this House could not be held as bound by any propositions made at the Quebec Conference, which were not then assented to, because certain terms were then laid down of which many members of this House might not approve, for the admission of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, and which were not accepted by these Colonies. This House was not to be bound for all time to come to incorporate Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island on these terms. This was entirely a new proposition for the admission of Newfoundland, and the House were entitled to discuss and ascertain the justice or injustice of the terms on which it was now proposed that it should enter the Union. Nor were the terms the same. They differed in very important and material respects from those offered at the Quebec Conference. The present aspect of the question also differed very materially from its aspect at that time. Then it was a question whether Confederation could at all be accomplished, and the interests of the various Provinces had to be consulted so as to get a scheme under which the subsidies to the various local Legislatures should be based on some uniform principle. As regards Newfoundland, there was an exceptional arrangement that she should sell her Crown Lands to the Dominion and receive a large annual sum for them. A reason for that existed then which did not exist now. It was necessary in order not to interfere with the apparent but delusive symmetry of the plan as to subsidies. That symmetry was destroyed when it was agreed by the delegates to give fixed subsidies of varying amounts to the four Provinces not in proportion to their populations. These special subsidies would amount to 5 1/2 cents per head for Ontario, 6 cents for Quebec, 18 cents to Nova Scotia, 19 cents to New Brunswick, and the special subsidy now proposed to be given to Newfoundland would be 28 cents per head of the population. If fair to Newfoundland let a much larger sum than even 28c per head be given, as special subsidy, but he objected to its being given under the guise of a sham bargain, to buy lands which we did not want, which, to the Newfoundland Government itself, were a source of annual expenditure instead of income, and would be still more so when managed from this distance. The argument of necessity was used by the President of the Council. That hon. gentleman said it was absolutely necessary we should have Newfoundland, and the logical result of that would be, as necessity had no law, that we would have to take her own terms, whatever they might be. He (Mr. Blake) apprehended that if there was any necessity in the case, it was just as necessary for Newfoundland to have her fortunes united to the Dominion as it was for the Dominion to get Newfoundland. He considered it not necessary, but of high consequence to the future of the Dominion that Newfoundland should be brought into the Union; yet not however of so high consequence as that we should agree to unreasonable demands, if unreasonable demands should be made; of not so high consequence as that we could not afford to wait until reasonable propositions should be submitted. He did not say that these demands were unreasonable. He was simply pointing out that it was their duty to ascertain whether they were reasonable or not, before acceding to them. The following figures showed what he understood would have to be paid annually by the Dominion for Newfoundland:—Subsidy, at 80c per head on a population of 130,000, $104,000; special subsidy, $35,000; Interest on debt at 5.23 per cent, $73,220; Five per cent allowed on the balance, by which the debt fell short of the proposition of the other Provinces, $110,505; annual payment for Crown Lands, $150,000. These sums amounted to $472,725, all cash payments. Besides these, there were the charges for the services which the Dominion performed ordinarily, and which it would have to perform for Newfoundland, amounting, he estimated, to $165,000, which, added to the other sum, made a total of $637,725 per annum. He thought it might safely be said that the charge to the Dominion on account of Newfoundland would be between $600,000 and $650,000. Now from any statements he had seen as to the revenue he did not anticipate that Newfoundland after she entered the Union would produce an amount of revenue in any way approaching to $600,000. A considerable proportion of the goods on which duty was now paid Would be supplied from the other Provinces, and though 656 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 that would be an advantage to their trade, the revenue of course, would correspondingly decrease, and the Finance Minister would not have at his disposal the convenient mode of equalizing the revenue and expenditure which the Government of Newfoundland now exercised, by adding 30 per cent to the duties when it suited their discretion. The Finance Minister said that last year the revenue was estimated at $450,000, and actually reached $600,000. But how was this affected? By the simple process of adding 30 per cent to the duties. He thought it could not be doubted that in carrying out this bargain the Dominion would have to pay a very large sum in excess of what it would receive. If his hon. friend could show him that those figures were not correct, and that the arrangements were of a better character than he supposed, no one would be more delighted to be convinced of that. He could see, however, no such pressing necessity for the junction of Newfoundland as to justify us in the present state of our finances, in making a bargain, by which we would have to pay a much larger sum than we would receive; a bargain by which we would pay a large sum in order to bribe Newfoundland to join us. He should like the Finance Minister to deal with these figures which made out a prima facie loss on our part, and if he could not set them aside to show why we should encounter that loss. He (Mr. Blake) was prepared to encounter some reasonable degree of loss. He wanted to be liberal towards Newfoundland, but he did not want that liberality to assume so gross a form, as that it could be said that we had bribed and bought that Colony. (Hear, hear).
Hon. Mr. Rose said the figures he was about to submit he hoped would show that we were not buying Newfoundland, but were merely carrying out a fair arrangement with that Province. Foregoing for the present the consideration of political and national advantages which we would derive from the admission of Newfoundland, he would only trouble the Committee with figures bearing on the points adverted to by his honourable friend who had just sat down, and by the member for Westmorland, who stated that all we would receive from Newfoundland, after the Union, would be about $300,000, while we would have to pay about $600,000. Now, what were the facts as to the revenue? He would show what had been the Customs revenue during the last eight years, under lower rates of duty, except in 1868, than now existed in Newfoundland, and lower also than the rates that would be imposed under the Dominion tariff. The average Customs revenue for the five years from 1860 to 1865, was $582,000; in 1866 it was $588,000; in 1867, $554,000. In 1868 the total revenue was $634,000, of which, perhaps, $25,000 was miscellaneous revenue.
Mr. Mackenzie—That included the amounts under the sewerage and water rates, which will not come to the Dominion.
Hon. Mr. Rose said the hon. gentleman was mistaken. These amounts did not come under the Consolidated Revenue of the country. The question then came to be how much of the revenue we would lose, although the House would hardly agree with his hon. friend that it was altogether loss if the revenue were diminished in consequence of our furnishing Newfoundland with $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 worth of our manufactures, our butter, cheese, flour, oatmeal, peas, &c., which would go in free of duty. What we might directly lose in revenue would be more than made up to us by the expansion of our trade, and our finding an additional market for our surplus products. He did not think, however, that the revenue would fall from $600,000 to $300,000, as alleged by the member for Westmorland. That could not well be when the rates of duty would be higher on cottons, woollens, rum, gin, whiskey, brandy, sugar, molasses, tobacco, etc. On tea, also, there was a small difference on certain kinds. From the most careful estimates he had been able to obtain, he believed that for some years to come they might expect to receive $500,000 in the way of revenue. Coming to what we would have to pay on account of Newfoundland, he considered the member for West Durham rather over-estimated the amount when he placed it at $637,000. The following were the figures which he (Mr. Rose) had before him. Newfoundland would receive, 1st Interest on the amount by which its debt falls short of the average per head of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick say $115,000; 2nd. 80 cents per head on 180,000 population, $104,000; 3rd. The Grant for Crown Lands, $150,000; 4th. The Special Grant in aid of legislation and government, $35,000; total $404,000. The Dominion would pay the 80 cents per head, $104,000; Crown Lands. $150,000; special grants, $35,000; interest on debt first to public, say $60,000; 2nd balance payable to Newfoundland, say $115,000; together $175,000, payable by the Dominion for services enumerated in the 10th resolution say $150,000; tota1, $614,000. His hon. friend from Durham 658 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 had estimated the Dominion expenditure at $165,000, instead of $150,000 which he (Mr. Rose) thought would cover the amount.
Mr. Mackenzie said Mr. Blake[']s estimate of the interest on the balance debt was less than Mr. Rose[']s, being $110,000 in place of $115,000, but his estimate of interest on the actual debt due to the public was greater than Mr. Rose[']s, being $73,220, intead of $60,000.
Hon. Mr. Rose said the $60,000 would be about the interest on the debt of $1,400,000.
Mr. Mackenzie—at 5 per cent it would be $70,000.
Mr. Blake—My calculation was at 5 2/3 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Rose said the Dominion undertook to pay interest on that debt, be the rate higher now; but he really thought that on an item of this kind they need not have much discussion. The were merely carrying out the principle which entered into the arrangements with all the Provinces that the Dominion should pay the actual interest on the existing debt to a certain amount, and five per cent on the balance required to make up what was considered a fair proportion of the debt. Well, he had stated the payments at $614,000, and the probable revenue at $500,000. He did not say that they would make up the whole difference out of the Crown lands and mines, but he thought they might reasonably expect some profits from them directly, and very large indirect profits from the development of the mines. But be that as it might, an important question to be considered was how Newfoundland stood with reference to this arrangement. He took it for granted no one would desire Newfoundland to come in except on terms which would enable her to work satisfactorily in the Union, and he believed he could show that the sums she would receive from the Dominion would be no more than were necessary to enable her to provide for her local services. The member for Westmorland estimated that the local services would require $300,000. He (Mr. Rose) considered that by a fair and liberal estimate $400,000 would be necessary, and, as he had shown, $400,000 would be provided.
Mr. Mackenzie—Are there no local sources of revenue?
Hon. Mr. Rose—None at all.
Mr. Blake—Some $7,000 or $8,000 are received for license fees, at any rate.
Hon. Mr. Rose said when he stated none at all, he meant they were of insignificant amount, certainly not reaching $20,000. He was just now informed by the Receiver- General of Newfoundland that they could not reach anything like that amount. The aggregate of local expenditures would scarcely fall short of $300,000, besides $100,000 for roads, bridges, piers and breakwaters.
Hon. Mr. Smith—My estimate of $300,000 included the expenditure for roads and bridges, for which I put down $80,000.
Mr. Young—If the Finance Minister has the details, it might be as well to give them.
Hon. Mr. Rose said the details were, to a certain extent, conjectural; and if they entered into a minute discussion of them, the particular statements might perhaps be unfairly used against the hon. gentlemen now with us from Newfoundland when they went to their elections.
Mr. Blake—How can we get at the general result without the details?
Hon. Mr. Rose said, when their estimates came within a few thousand dollars of each other, he thought he might claim the fulfilment of his hon. friend[']s pledge, that he was prepared to deal with the proposition in a fair and liberal spirit towards Newfoundland.
After recess,
The House went again into Committee on the Newfoundland resolutions—Mr. Harrison in the chair.
Hon. Mr. Rose said he thought it would be more convenient to give the figures applicable to each resolution as it was reached, instead of giving the entire results, which must be to a large extent, conjectural. The two important questions were, what was the Dominion prepared to give, and what was Newfoundland prepared to receive? The answer to these questions was that the Dominion should give what would be in excess of the requirements for local services, as anything like municipal or direct taxation would be out of the question, under the circumstances of the population of Newfoundland. The amount that would be required by Newfoundland to carry on its 660 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 Local Government would be in the vicinity of $300,000, exclusive of the amount for roads and bridges, piers, breakwaters, etc., which was about $100,000 more. The $300,000 was thus made up: Education, $66,000; police, $36,000; Legislative contingencies, $27,000; Lunatic Asylum, other asylums and relief of the poor, $90,000; Departments of the Colonial Secretary, Treasury, Board of Works, Attorney General, and Registrar, $18,000; repairs on public buildings, $3,000; pensions, $9,000; printing, stationary and postages, $5,000; gas, night police, &c., $5,000; coroners and administration of justice, $20,000; agricultural societies, $2,000; contingencies of the Lieutenant-Governor[']s office, insurance on public buildings, &c., $4,500. These made a total of $286,000, which was in the neighbourhood of the sum he had mentioned. The amounts which would be paid by the Dominion, as he had formerly stated—for the 80 cents-a- head, special subsidy, 5 per cent on the balance of the debt, and special expenditures undertaken by the Dominion—would be $404,000. Adding the interest on the present debt, and the $150,000, for Crown Lands, the total payment by the Dominion would be $610,000.
Hon. Mr. Anglin did not feel any desire to higgle about any terms which Newfoundland might make, or any advantages which might be conceded to them; but the land transaction for which the Dominion was asked to pay $150,000 a year was absurd. Let Newfoundland keep her land, and collect her revenues by all means. The Dominion did not need it. Basing his calculations on the estimates formerly needed for the local services, he believed that instead of paying $140,000 we would, within twelve months after confederation, have to vote $160,000 or $200,000 for these services. In all he calculated that the expense would be $625,000. That would be the expense of the Colony to Confederation, not including additional legislative expenses. For all this we would receive at the most a fraction over $400,000, so that we would really pay $250,000 a year more than we received from this Province. What he complained of was that unfair terms should be given. He would, however, support the resolutions, believing that it would be better to complete the Union. As to the land, he would again say, by all means let Newfoundland keep her land. If she wants to get rid of it, perhaps the great Ontario Ship Canal Company might get it to advantage. (Laughter.)
Mr. Bodwell thought the information brought down very meagre and unsatisfactory. The Finance Minister gives detail, approximates to some other detail, and then asks the House not to discuss the scheme too much. He, (Mr. Bodwell), thought it absurd to ask the House to go blindly into this scheme lest the discussion might effect the scheme adversely in Newfoundland. What was the meaning of that proposition? Was it that they should lend themselves to practice deception on the people of Newfoundland in order to induce them to enter the Confederation? Such a proposition was as monstrous as that by which they were called on to give $150,000 a year for the land of Newfoundland. From all he could gather these lands were of little value as mineral lands, and agriculturally they were worth little or nothing. The real question was, is Newfoundland taking the value of its imports, revenue &c, worth to the Dominion what it is proposed we should give for it? If it is, we ought to accept the offer made; if not, we ought to reject it. The question was not so much what Newfoundland required, but what the Dominion required. The land proposition he regarded as especially deceptive and absurd. Although he would not oppose the resolutions, he felt that insufficient explanation had been offered. Before the scheme finally passed, he hoped that more information would be given, and the land grant would be struck out.
Sir George E. Cartier said that with the exception of $5,000 subsidy, Newfoundland was now seeking admission into the Union on the terms offered her in the Quebec Conference. Hence the question was not in fact one susceptible of much discussion. There was a bright and dark side to the picture, and certainly it could not be said that the Finance Minister had altogether pointed out the bright side. He (Sir George E. Cartier) would not look at the dark side, as spoken of by the member for West Durham. That honourable gentleman spoke as if he were not bound by the Quebec Scheme, because he had not been in Parliament then. He was certainly a prominent public man in Ontario then. He was a member of the party led by the Hon. George Brown, and still belonged to that party, and that honourable gentleman, it was well known, had taken a prominent part in the Quebec Conference, and wished to unite Newfoundland in the way now proposed for that action. The member for West Durham was, as a member of the party represented by Mr. Brown to a certain extent responsible, and could not now deny that responsibility. As to the falling off of the customs with Newfoundland, which had been predicted, suppose 662 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 it did take place, what then? Simply that what we would lose in customs our manufacturers must gain. So it would be with the excise. The fact was that as Newfoundland went ahead and increased in population so would we. Our wealth must instantly grow with this addition, but even if we did lose $100,000 or so a year, what was that with the results which might be expected from the acquisition of an island in so important a position—one forming a very material link in that chain of Confederation which it should be the wish and glory of all to complete. (Cheers.)
Mr. Oliver was strongly in favour of completing the Confederation of the British North American Provinces; but he thought too much was being paid for this acquisition of territory. It was clearly shewn that for the privilege of annexing it we would have to pay from $110,000 to $200,000 a year, part of which was occasioned by a ridiculous land purchase. If that land was good it were better by far that the people of Newfoundland should keep it themselves, and if it were bad it certainly could be of no use to the Dominion; and it would be good policy to leave it with the Islanders to manage and give them a subsidy.
Mr. Mills.—We have been told by the Minister of Justice that these resolutions are intended to give effect to the terms agreed upon at the Quebec Conference; that we are pledged to the resolutions of that Convention, and that we are not at liberty to enquire into the fairness of the terms. I, sir, entirely repudiate any such doctrine. The Legislature and delegates of Newfoundland have repudiated it. They rejected the Quebec scheme. They refused at the time to accept the union upon the terms agreed upon by the delegates at Quebec. Their Legislature recently proposed other terms, and the resolutions now before the committee propose other terms. (Hear, hear.) Let me ask ministers how they can for a moment pretend to argue that we are tied hand and foot to the terms of the Quebec Convention, while they and the Newfoundland delegates have in the interest of Newfoundland ventured to propose something more? (Hear, hear.) What are the facts? It is well known that the demand for Confederation grew out of sectional difficulties in the Government of Canada; that Upper Canada demanded constitutional changes to prevent the imposition of local laws against the wishes of a majority of her representatives; to prevent a wasteful expenditure of public monies; to prevent an unfair distribution of the revenue to which she so largely contributed. (Hear, hear.) Well, sir, it is not at all surprising if to attain this end, and to correct what she believed to be great abuses, her delegates were ready to make liberal concessions to the other Provinces. Confederation is an accomplished fact. Ontario has control of her own local affairs. The reasons which excused, if they did not justify, the liberal terms proposed in the Quebec Convention, no longer exist. (Hear, hear.) We are as terms proposed in the Quebec Convention, little trammelled as were the delegates at that Convention; and we are bound by every consideration of public duty to consider the terms submitted to us upon their merits. The gentlemen who formed the Quebec Convention had long been connected with public affairs. They were no doubt able men; but they had been connected with a system of Government very different from the one they proposed to adopt. I am doing them no injustice when I say that although they may have had some general knowledge of the external features of the federal system, they were totally unacquainted with its internal organization and with many of its vital principles; they were not aware of all the changes and modifications the new system necessitated in the old. (Hear, hear.) This is abundantly verified in the anomalies and contradictions in our system. Already our short experience has brought many defects under our observation, and it appears to me it would be the height of folly to throw away the experience we have acquired, abdicate the right to judge for ourselves, and adhere without a pretence of reason to what was done in great haste, under great pressure, five or six years ago. (Hear, hear.) The terms proposed in these resolutions is a proposal that Newfoundland shall come in with a debt of $6,500,000 with the chance of having her general subsidy increased from $104,000 to $320,000 a year. If Ontario were allowed the same amount instead of coming into the Confederation with a debt of $35,000,000 she would enter with a debt of $100,000,000. Now, sir, I do not propose we should deal niggardly with Newfoundland. I admit she is entitled to a much larger amount than the Provinces now in the Dominion. In addition to the debt with which the Provinces now in the Dominion entered it a debt has been incurred on behalf of the Intercolonial Railroad, and the faith of the Dominion is pledged to the enlargement and deepening of the canals. (Hear, hear.) The cost of these works must be considered a part of the debt of the Do 664 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 minion, and Newfoundland so far, is entitled to have an equivalent allowed her. The Minister of Militia and the Minister of Finance have spoken of the large amount of revenue collected in Newfoundland—being nearly five dollars per capita. How much of this is collected on breadstuffs that will pay nothing after Confederation? Newfoundland imports nearly everything she consumes. Every thing imported pays a high duty and if that intercolonial trade springs up of which the Minister of Finance has spoken, the revenue collected there after the union must greatly diminish. (Hear, hear.) Now it was the bounden duty of the Minister of Finance, in coming down to the House to show what amount of revenue would be collected there under the Canadian tariff. He has told us Newfoundland imports largely, fiour, beef, butter and biscuits, which in future she will purchase from Ontario; that she purchases a large quantity of woolen goods, and these she will buy from the Canadian manufacturers. Well, sir, admit this and what follows? Why, that upon a large portion of her imports, upon which now a duty is paid, no duty in future will be collected, and by so much the revenue of Newfoundland is diminished. (Hear, hear.) What of that, asks the Minister of Militia, if the people of Ontario find a market for their breadstuffs? They can afford to pay. Well, sir, I confess this is a new doctrine in political economy. There is to be no duty on breadstuffs. If the people of Newfoundland can buy flour for less in Boston than in Montreal they will buy in Boston. They will buy where they can buy cheapest; there is to be no restriction. Now, who does that benefit; is it not the people of Newfoundland? The doctrine of economists is that restrictions on trade increases prices to the consumer. The removal of such, then, must benefit Newfoundland. Why then should we, of all the world, be compelled to pay ten or fifteen per cent, for the privilege of trading? (Hear, hear.) My honorable friend from West Durham has conclusively shown that we must pay, under the proposed system to Newfoundland an amount largely in excess of what we receive; and as yet nothing has been said to justify such a proceeding that will bear a moment[']s examination. As to the trade in coarse woollen goods being diverted to Canada. I believe that will prove entirely illusory and for reason that I shall not at this moment discuss. I shall ask the committee for a short time to consider the effect of the fifth resolution. It is proposed to assume the Crown Lands of Newfoundland, which at present yield a revenue of one half the cost of management, and pay $150,000 a year for the privilege. This, it is said, was agreed upon at the Quebec Convention. Be it so. It is not the less a monstrous proposition. (Hear, hear.) No one believes the land valuable. Why then is this done? Why, sir, to deceive the people. To pretend to have received value for this $150,000 a year when no value has been received. Let gentlemen be manly in this matter. Let them have the courage to do openly what they propose to do covertly. Let them give the true reason for what they do instead of using this matter of the Crown Lands, and they will not add moral cowardice to other wrongs. If the lands of Newfoundland were worth the money, it would still be an objectionable acquisition. Why should we hold and control lands in one Province? (Hear, hear.) Suppose them fit for settlement what would we be obliged to do? Why, sir, we would seek to encourage emigration, not to the whole Dominion, but Newfoundland. We would in the interest of Newfoundland become the rival of all the other Provinces. We would make free grants there to actual settlers. We would establish a homestead law. We would be at the expense of surveying, building roads and constructing bridges, at the expense of the Dominion, and pay Newfoundland $150,000 a year for the privilege? (Cheers.) There are numberless difficulties connected with such an arrangement apart from its monetary features that I shall at a future stage consider. We are told by the honorable President of the Council we must take a broad view of the question. It is unworthy this great Dominion treat this as a matter of money. Sir, I was pleased to hear such a patriotic sentiment from the President of the Council. I assume, I think I am justified in assuming, that he is about to take a new view of the Nova Scotia subsidy. I hope he has learned to take a broad view of that question and that he will not ask us to buy her good will. (Hear, hear.) I supposed, sir, he had importuned the Government for more money; that he very nearly had Nova Scotia into civil war for more money, that he asked for repeal, because Nova Scotia did not get more money; that he deserted the Repeal party for more money; that he entered the Cabinet for more money. (Cheers.) Well, sir, I am pleased he deprecates this way of viewing great questions of state, and I hope we may be permitted to assume this to be a withdrawal of Nova Scotia pretensions. (No, no from Ministers) I, sir, am ready to deal generously with Newfoundland, but I wish to deal honestly with the people of Canada. I wish that they shall know the whole truth.
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It is not by dishonest concealment that we can retain their respect. At the end of this century Newfoundland will still receive her subsidy of 80 cents a head; Ontario will then receive less than 30 cents. Newfoundland judges and Newfoundland custom house officers are receiving less than ours. As soon as they enter the Union they will demand an increase. (Hear, hear.) The Union to be lasting must be mutually beneficial, and while I am most anxious to do to the people of Newfoundland what will be fair to them, I will never consent to do a lasting injustice to every other portion of the Union. As yet the Ministry have not made out their case. (Cheers.)
Hon. Mr. Langevin addressed the House in French in support of the resolutions.
Mr. Rymal said, that in considering these resolutions, it might be well to glance back at the past, and when he remembered all that had been predicted of Confederation, he was forced to conclude that it was not proving all that its ardent admirers had expected. Indeed, he feared that the worst predictions made by those who then opposed it, would be fulfilled. The House should therefore be careful as to the admission of new Provinces, like Newfoundland, into the Union; they would be new partners in the firm, and it would be well to scan closely what they will bring in as assets, and what they will take out. (Hear, hear.) The British America Act placed the subsidies to be paid to Ontario and Quebec at 80c. per head for all time to come, but the amount to be paid Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was to augment until their population increased to 400,000 souls; and besides all this the special subsidies gave 5c. per head to Ontario, 6c. Quebec, 18c. Nova Scotia, 44c. to New Brunswick, and now the special subsidy to Newfoundland would be about 30c. per head! (Hear, hear.) This was a very unequal arrangement, and it might be well to enquire what Ontario loses under this system. The subsidy to Nova Scotia would go on increasing for 9 years, which time would elapse before her population amounted to 400,000; that of New Brunswick would augment for 15 years, and he believed the sun would never rise on the day that Newfoundland would reach a population of 400,000.(Laughter.) He then showed that, counting the increase in the population of Ontario, for which no subsidy is allowed, that Province lost the first year of Confederation, $416,000, will lose during the second year, $499,000, and so on until the amount would swell to $748,000 in the fifth year. But this was not all they were defrauded of. On the 5th year the people not receiving subsidy in Ontario would pay about $2,000,000 to the revenue, whilst at the same time it would take several years to get rid of New Brunswick, and as for the Newfoundlanders, we would never, in this world, get rid of them. (Laughter.) His hon. friend, the Minister of War, had often spoken of the different elements which would make Canada a great nation—the commercial, agricultural and maritime. He had laid great stress on the latter element. But he (Mr. R.) did not believe from the way things were being managed, that the Dominion was about to become the first power in the world; he did not think they were about to play the most prominent part among nations. (Laughter) He was opposed to the resolution before the Chair, because we were asked to pay for Newfoundland an extravagant price. It would not pay us to admit that Province on such terms when our finances were in their present condition. The Finance Minister had to request that no grants should be asked by Ontario members from the Government, the exchequer was so empty, and although he liked our Eastern allies, he was not prepared to allow them more than terms of equality. As an Upper Canadian he was not willing that the interests of that section should be sacrificed. There was the Intercolonial Railway; of the thirty millions required to build that lien, Ontario would pay one half itself, yet not one solitary dollar would be spent within 400 miles of its border. (Hear, hear.) Now, we were asked to give $150,000 a year, for all time to come, for the lands of Newfoundland, which sum was equal to an expenditure of $3,000,000 for them. The Government which could make such a proposition to the House did not, he considered, possess an undue share of modesty. (Laughter and applause.) He thought the great leader of Upper Canada (Sir John A. Macdonald) had forgotten his duty at the Quebec Conference on this matter.
Sir John A. Macdonald—George Brown was responsible for it.
668 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869
Mr. Rymal—He would admit George Brown controlled Upper Canada then, but at the same time he was acting under the Knight of Kingston. (Hear, hear.) He deprecated departures from the Quebec agreement. The Member for Cumberland (Dr. Tupper) had spoken last session of that agreement being quite fair and just to Nova Scotia, and that it would only be opposed by demagogues like the member for Hants. (Laughter.) The past records of the latter gentleman had secured him a place in his (the speaker[']s) heart, and he thought last session Mr. Howe had been animated by a love for his country. But what would he say now? (laughter.) He would not hurl a shaft between the joints of his harness, as he was made familiar with Mr. Howe[']s name and doings at his father[']s fireside during dark days in Colonial history; but he must, nevertheless, say that last year he thought that gentleman did not object so much to Confederation on acount of financial considerations as in consequence of the liabilities of his country being rather many. But when he secured better terms, he had changed his position to a supporter of union, and he (Mr. R.) was delighted with the change, but particularly on his friend[']s own account. (Laughter.) We should consider where all these concessions were landing us. Our debt was getting oppressive. All the inventions of the Minister of Finance were unavailing to meet our necessities, and yet, day after day the Government offered fresh schemes of expenditure. Financial ruin could not be averted by any country beyond a certain line, and if ruin came to the Dominion he believed it would be financial. If we went on trying to walk before we could stand, to trot before we could walk, and race before we could trot, we would never become a consolidated and great people. (Hear, hear.) Poverty generally fails to command respect and if by extravagance the Dominion became poverty-stricken, we would fail to command the respect of our neighbours. Mr. Rymal went on to say that he had proposed calling this his Financial statement, (laughter) having a tendency to figures. He did not think the figures he had given could be contradicted—even Mr. Rose, or his chief assistant, could not show them to be wrong. He had taken a fair basis, and if injustice had been suffered by Ontario, and also by Quebec to some extent, why seek more eastern allies to draw the last drop of blood from us? The Member for Cornwall (Sandfield Macdonald) had given his views of Confederation before it was carried. He would read a short extract from his speech. Speaking of the Coalition Government of that day, that gentleman prophesied they would use the name of the Queen to carry their point, they would stigmatize as traitors all who opposed them, and after carrying their point in England, would probably come back with high-sounding titles. (Laughter.) It is as true as if the Prophet Jeremiah had uttered it. (Roars of laughter.) The Hon. Premier of Ontario had lately been canonized as a saint —whether he deserved that title or not, in the prediction he had read, that gentleman had certainly proved himself a true prophet. (Laughter.) A great deal had been said about Confederation allaying sectional difficulties, but he feared these difficulties were being extended. There was, in some quarters, too strong a liking for the loaves and fishes—too strong a desire to bring in the grab game. (Laughter.) The cow which gave the milk would be often sought for. The Minister of Justice knew which Province was the cow. He would soon know who were the suckers. (Much laughter.) The speaker then said he would not give the Member for Cornwall all the credit, but would quote from another speech made when Confederation was before the Canadian Parliament—that was his own. (Hear, hear) This quotation showed the speaker had opposed Confederation at that time because they had no right to change the Constitution, because he wanted the question referred to the people, because it discarded an Elective Legislative Council, and because he believed it would not heal our sectional difficulties. He thought he then struck the nail on the head, and that the heavy expenditure entailed upon the country would not be made up by corresponding advantages. He feared Ontario would suffer just as new partners were taken in, and that that Province would not have one but several small Provinces clinging to her skirts. Mr. Rymal resumed his seat admidst applause.
Mr. Blake replied to some of the remarks made during the debate. He said that the Finance Minister declined to say what the result of this arrangement would be on the income of the country. Although the hon. gentleman might quite possibly come to a conclusion, the hon. gentleman had not dealt with that question, simply because he was afraid the result would be too alarming. There could, indeed, be no doubt but the statement of the member for Westmorland was the correct one, and that was that the Colony would cost us a quarter of a million. At present and for years past the Colony did not pay its expenses. Clearly it would be less able to meet an enlarged expenditure, and hence there must be a reduction in these expenses. He maintained that in the present 670 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 condition of the country, before being generous it was necessary to see that we were just. (Hear.) As to the proposition that we ought not to ask for details lest it might embarrass the delegates in Newfoundland, he implored the House to adopt no such proposition, to allow the people of Newfoundland to see this matter in all its details, and to prevent as far as possible any such adverse understanding as occurred in Nova Scotia. (Cheers.) It was argued by the Minister of Militia that he (Mr. Blake) was bound by the resolutions of the Quebec Conference, and that these favoured the present scheme; but he denied the proposition. He denied that at this distance of time any one was bound by these Quebec resolutions, and even if it were otherwise, still in many important particulars the present terms varied widely from the Quebec Resolutions. (Hear, hear.) It was observed, as had been argued by the Finance Minister, that the House should confine itself to discussing the resolutions without going into details. How the hon. gentleman could expect the House to come to a general conclusion without going into details passed his (Mr. Blake[']s) comprehension.
Hon. Mr. Howe said that Newfoundland had hitherto been able to carry on her government on her own resources, and without any help from abroad. Therefore she must have considerable capabilities, and he believed if she did not join the Confederation, she could continue as she had been; but the other Provinces wanted her for reasons of State. No one would deprecate more than himself the old rivalries between East and West, and he hoped such a state of things would not be perpetuated in the New Dominion. Some twenty millions of dollars were about being expended in connection with the Intercolonial Railway, and the West would have to supply the breadstuffs and other provisions required for the labourers on this work. Already under Confederation the Lower Provinces had been large purchasers of the flour of Ontario, and Newfoundland would henceforth do the same. The people of Newfoundland would buy the timber of Canada, and build ships, and thus engage in a new and profitable branch of industry. It was hardly worth while now, under the circumstances, to bring up such objections as he had heard during the debate advanced from the opposite side of the House.
Mr. D. A. Macdonald thought we were asked to give too much to this island. This was more especially the case in the matter of $150,000 a year proposed to be given for the land; and no such terms would, he hoped, be concluded with Newfoundland.
Mr. Killam seriously believed that if Newfoundland had to join the fresh-water Legislature of the Dominion, she would soon be tired of it, and long for a return to her saltwater experience, even though it were accompanied with small incomes.
Mr. Mackenzie said he was glad to congratulate the House on adding another to the Confederated Provinces. He thought it to the advantage of all the Provinces that the Union should be consummated at as early a day as possible, based on such terms as would not occasion heart-burnings hereafter, and he could not but congratulate the House and the President of the Council himself in being in the right way. Some of the arguments advanced required a little attention, and to these he would address himself for a few moments. The Minister of Militia seemed to think that the resolutions of the Quebec Conference were binding for all time to come, and that there should be no departure from them. He (Mr. Mackenzie) was quite willing to coincide in that argument if the honourable gentleman made these resolutions binding all round. (Hear, hear.) While demanding that he should be placed in the position of obeying strictly these resolutions, the Minister of Militia was himself disobeying them by the very resolutions before the House. (Hear, and cheers.) There could be nothing more illogical than the honourable gentleman[']s proposition. Did he imagine that honourable gentlemen were merely to accept the dicta of the Ministry of the day, and that every argument was to be put down by a reference to something which happened years ago. (Hear.) He could assure the Minister of Militia that he would take what course he thought best with those Quebec resolutions. (Hear.) Some fallacious arguments had been advanced during the debate to which the honourable gentleman (Mr. Mackenzie) next drew attention. It had been urged that the market to be opened in this island would be a great benefit to Ontario. He was not disposed to underrate the advantages to the Provinces or the Dominion arising from the opening of this market; but he might say that he did not anticipate that the result of the Union would be to advance the interests of the agricultural portion of the Dominion one whit; but rather the contrary. Again, Canada affords but a poor market for Newfoundland produce, which either goes to Europe or South America, or the United States. So far as the flour argument was concerned, 672 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869 he did not see that the country would benefit one farthing from the abolition of the duty on flour in Newfoundland; but, as had been stated, the reverse. (Hear, hear.) Hon. gentlemen seemed to take it for granted that Ontario and Quebec were at a loss for a market. Such he would assure them was not the case. In grain, what they needed a market for was coarse grains, and these were precisely the articles not wanted in Newfoundland. Again, the Finance Minister argued that our woollen manufacturers would get a market in this island, but his (Mr. Mackenzie[']s) impression was that the bulk of these goods would be put on the market by those having an interest in a return cargo from England. The hon. gentleman indicated that on concurrence he would indicate his views on some matters connected with the resolutions, which he would not touch till then. At present he would merely say that, so far as he could do so conscientiously, he would aid in accomplishing the Union, but hold himself as a free agent in that matter, allowing himself to be bound by no conditions whatever. Having replied at some length to the member for Westmorland, and argued that New Brunswick had no reason for complaint as to being unfairly dealt with in the arrangements under Confederation, the hon. gentleman closed by expressing his regret that, in debating this subject, the House had not been in possession of full detailed information respecting the Colony about to be annexed.
Hon. Mr. Rose referred to the tables of exports from Newfoundland, to show that the amount of fish now exported to us was insignificant, and there was therefore no foundation for the argument of the member for Lambton, with reference to return freights.
Hon. Mr. Tupper expressed his gratification at this further step towards the consummation of the great scheme which originated at the Quebec Conference. He took issue with the member for West Durham, when that hon. gentleman asserted that the House was not in any way bound by the terms agreed to at the Quebec Conference with regard to Newfoundland. These terms had received the approval of the people throughout the Dominion, and the terms now submitted with reference to Newfoundland were substantially the same as those agreed to by the Conference. The action of the Conference was endorsed by the people, when the Ministry, at the subsequent election, were sustained by a great majority, and, as part of the scheme so approved, it was agreed that the Dominion should assume
the lands and mines of Newfoundland paying a certain sum therefor: it was not now open to this House to go back from that arrangement. The reason why this arrangement was made was that Newfoundland had no sources of local revenue, and it became necessary to make special provision in this way for its local services. He believed the mineral wealth of that Island was very great and only wanted the application of capital to be profitably developed. Suppose it was possible to drive a harder bargain with the gentleman representing Newfoundland, he did not think it was desirable to do so, as it was very important that they should come into the Union satisfied with the future opening up to them. The member for Lambton had spoken of this matter as a marriage. If so, if we were about to make a matrimonial arrangement with this fair bride of the ocean, we should not haggle about the pin-money. He regretted to find the strong Province of Ontario presenting the View it had presented tonight. He thought it could afford to take a more generous course. Gentlemen from all the other Provinces had, without hesitation, declared their willingness to vote what was necessary to enlarge our borders in the West by paying £300,000 for the rights of the Hudson[']s Bay Company, and whatever might be required to open up the North West. The gentlemen from Ontario should act in like spirit with regard to completing the Confederation on its eastern borders.
Sir John A. Macdonald suggested that as notice had been given of amendments, further discussion should be taken in concurrence tomorrow, and that the resolution should now be allowed to go through Committee.
Mr. Mackenzie thought it would be too soon to ask concurrence to-morrow. The resolutions as to the other Provinces could be proceeded with.
Sir John A. Macdonald would prefer that these should be disposed of without anything being interjected.
Mr. Mackenzie—There are plenty of other Government measures you might interject- the Banking scheme for instance. (Laughter.)
Hon. Mr. Dunkin—That would be interjecting nothing.
Sir John A. Macdonald—We will rather deal with the banks of Newfoundland.
674 COMMONS DEBATES June 8, 1869
Mr. Blake urged that as amendments were to be proposed, it was well that they should not be proposed and proceeded with hastily.
Sir John A. Macdonald, in deference to the views of hon. gentlemen opposite, consented to defer concurrence till Thursday. This, in his view, would also involve the postponement of the resolutions as to the other Provinces. He would therefore propose to go on tomorrow with the Insolvency Bill, and the Criminal Procedure Bill.
The resolutions were then adopted and reported by the Committee.
The House adjourned at 12.20.


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1869. Edited by P.B. Waite. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1975. Original scans accessible at:



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