House of Commons, 17 February 1870, Canadian Confederation with Prince Edward Island

32 COMMONS DEBATES February 17, 1870
[Hon. Mr. Galt]- He could not congratulate the House upon progress of Confederation. It was time it was carried, but from expressions he had heard from members of this House he was forced to conclude that the Province was not satisfied. The policy of the Government with reference to the Intercolonial Railway had already been fully discussed and he did not intend to say anything further than that he should have been glad to have seen the policy with reference to the construction of that road materially altered. He thought a policy of economy should have been pursued. The policy which had been adopted in the construction of the Intercolonial Railway has given us the management of several hundred miles of railway—an arrangement that could not be carried on as well under Government control as by private parties, and it involved responsibilities which it would have been better not to assume. He was convinced that the expenditure upon this railway would itself form a serious burden upon the resources of the country. He regretted to observe that the policy which had been pursued with reference to Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island had borne results worse than barren. They had received a more decided negative from Newfoundland as regards Confederation. And this House stood in the awkward position of having legislated with regard to terms to be offered to Prince Edward Island, which terms had been rejected entirely. With regard to the North-West question he was sorry to arrive at the same conclusion. An avowed resistance had been given to attempts to incorporate that Territory into the Dominion. Who was responsible for that state of things he would not pretend to say until all the correspondence and other papers connected with the matter had been laid before the House. When he looked from one end to the other of the Dominion he must pronounce the administration of the hon. member for Kingston a failure as regards the important measure entrusted to him, (hear, hear). He would further say that if there had been one thing that had saved Confederation from public disapproval, it was not what had been done by the Dominion Government but the efficient management which had characterized the Local Governments of Quebec and Ontario—eminently the populous and wealthy Province of Ontario, and these Provinces could be appealed to as a proof of the satisfactory manner in which local powers had been administered. The Speech of the Governor General was a serious disappointment to him. There was but one source of congratulation in that Speech—it was thankfulness for the bountiful harvests; there was no hope held out that there would be a reconciliation of difficulties with that Province, and there is nothing to make us hope that


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1870. Edited by P.B. Waite. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1979. Original scans accessible at: http://parl.canadiana.ca/.



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