House of Commons, 10 June 1869, Canadian Confederation with Prince Edward Island

Mr. Blake argued that the imposition in this case was not in substance or form a harbour duty, and therefore did not come within the provisions of the British North American Act.
Sir John A. Macdonald could not see that this was any offence against the British North America Act; if we thought, as a Dominion Parliament, that the toll which was the security to this Company should be wiped away, and that they should be paid out of our own pockets, that would be a fair proposition.
Lost on a division, yeas 47, nays 91.
This, and remaining resolutions passed, and an address founded thereon was introduced, passed, and ordered to be sent to the Senate.


Hon. Mr. Rose at a quarter to 12, moved the House into Committee of the Whole to consider the resolutions on the subject of the arrangements having in view the admission of Prince Edward Island into the Dominion of Canada.
Mr. Mackenzie said he had intended at this stage to move an amendment, but as it was so late, it might perhaps be more convenient to defer it now, and move it at the concurrence.
The House went into Committee, Hon. Mr. Smith in the Chair.
Hon. Mr. Rose said the object of the resolutions was principally the admission of Prince Edward Island into the Union. After the address which had just been passed, it was evident that the Union would be very incomplete without Prince Edward Island. It had a low tariff and there would be great temptation to send in goods from that Island to the other Provinces. Its geographical position also was such that the Dominion would be very incomplete without it. Another very important reason why it should be admitted had reference to the fisheries. The House was aware of the extreme value of the fisheries belonging to Prince Edward Island: and it was known that no permanent arrangement could be made as to the fisheries unless Prince Edward Island were a party to it. Prince Edward Island had very little debt. The principal part of it had been contracted in the purchase of estates from persons who held them under grants from the Crown of England on terms which had very materially retarded the settlement of the Island. The hon. gentleman went on to explain somewhat minutely the position of the land question in Prince Edward Island. He then explained that as the tariff was low, and the debt comparatively small, it had been 714 COMMONS DEBATES June 10, 1869 deemed necessary to offer Prince Edward Island some equivalent to induce her to enter the Union. The equivalent contemplated by those resolutions was that the Dominion Government should purchase the lands still held under the original grants, being about 800,000 acres, or rather more than one-half the island, and sell them to actual settlers, to be held in free and common soccage.
Hon. Mr. Holton said they had heard a good deal to-night about the binding nature of the resolutions of the Quebec Conference. He wished to ask whether it was any part of the so-called treaty then entered into, and to which the Prince Edward Island delegates were parties, that Canada should purchase these disputed land titles?
Sir John A. Macdonald said the Quebec resolutions made no allusion to the land question: but the people of Prince Edward Island did not think it for their interest to come into Confederation on the terms specified at the Conference. It was of importance to us, however, to complete Confederation by the admission of Prince Edward Island, and these resolutions authorized the Government to enter into negotiations with that view on a particular basis. The negotiations must be opened by one party or the other, and this Government were prepared to take the initiative.
Mr. Mackenzie asked if there had been any communications on the subject between this Government and the Government of Prince Edward Island.
Sir John A. Macdonald—No official communications.
Mr. Mackenzie asked the Minister of Justice if he was willing to state to what extent the Government were prepared to go in offering terms to Prince Edward Island.
Sir John A. Macdonald thought that with a view to making a clear gain it was not desirable at this stage to specify minutely how far the Government would go. All the arrangements would be subject to the approval of Parliament.
After some remarks by Hon. Mr. Anglin, the resolutions were agreed to—concurrence to-morrow.


Hon. Mr. Rose then proposed to proceed with the Nova Scotia resolutions.


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



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Personnes participantes: