Newfoundland Legislative Assembly, 12 February 1869, Newfoundland Debates over Confederation with Canada.

FRIDAY, Feb. 12.
The House met pursuant to adjournment.
Committee of the Whole on Address. Mr. Knight in the Chair.
The paragraph relating to Confederation having been read.
Mr. O'RIELLY said,—So much had been said on this matter, and so many diverse opinions offered, that the subject might be well said to be worn threadbare. While hon. members accused each other of inconsistency he at least could lay claim to consistency upon this question, and if he could not point to, any record of lengthy arguments which he had employed, he could at least flatter himself that he had no shifts or backslidings to account for. His position was still precisely the same as that which he and his hon. colleagues had assumed at the hustings in '65, with this difference, however, that whatever difficulties he had then seen in the way had now entirely disappeared. The confederate cause had been gaining ground over all the Island, and though the Confederate party were continuing faithful to their pledge, that the question should be submitted to the constituencies, public opinion from Cape John to Cape Ray, was calling aloud for a change. The principle of Confederation was now under discussion. Who denied the principle? To use the joint language of the hon. and gallant Major, and the hon. member, Mr. Talbot, "the highest and most gifted minds acknowledge the principle." There was not the beginning of a difference with regard to the principle between hon. members on this and on the other side. Hon. members opposite were all confederates, and the only difference, between them was upon matters of detail. Surely then upon the question of details hon. members could well give over their party differences. As to terms there were few hon. members who would be more difficult to please than himself, and when the debate upon the subject came on he should be prepared to contend that express provision should be made for the encouragement of the fisheries. Exception had been taken to the bona fide character of the telegram recieved by his hon. coleague offering employment to 800 or 1,000 people. He might safely say that all that scepticism was to be found within the doors of this House. Those persons who were most to be affected by it had full faith in its reality and they regarded it as a [?] [?] tion means employment. While the abstruse argument of hon. members opposits might be thrown away, the people would be able understand when they were spoken to in this manner. The only thing hon. members opposite had done was to endeavour to mystify the people. If their real opinions were worth anything the people must go without them. On the question of terms he (Mt. O'R) should be prepared to press what he considered to be essential conditions, no one would attempt to deny that he was an outspoken Confederate, but he should always be jealous of this country's interests in connection with the question of terms.
After some remarks from Mr. HOGSETT,
Mr. PARSONS said that he had been waiting for some hon member opposite to enlighten the House uppon the question before the chair. He had expected to hear some vigorous oration upon this all important question of Confederation. It would appear that there was not much unanimity as to the meaning of the word. The hon member, Mr O'Rielly, says that it means employment for the people. Well, that certainly was a new meaning to hin (Mr P.) and was one which would hardly be found in any dictionery. If that were really the meaning of it—it it would procure that, the Opposition would hail Confederation with one voice. But he feared no such meaning would be placed upon it. We do not want to go abroad from this colony to seek employment because we had it within our own borders. We did not want to transport 800 of our stalwart fishermen into the wilds of Canada. We would keep them here and give them better employment than Canada could afford them. What I expatriate the hardy natives of this colony and make them seek employment amongst strangers? Why it was a policy that no parental Government would entertain. The hon member then proceeded to show that we had within ourselves resources which if fostered and developed by the Government were more than sufficient for our population. He considered the bringing of this question of Confederation before the House now was a breach of faith on the part of the Government, that there was no evidence before this House that the public desired any change. He referred to the Petitions which had been presented former sessions against Confederation, and contended that the opinion of the people was the same now, and that no step should be taken by this House before an appeal was made to the country at the next general election.
Upon motion the Committee then rose, reported progress, and asked leave to sit Monday.
The House then adjourned until Monday at 3 o'clock.
question of terms.
meaning of the word.
Weil, that certainly
Bit he feared no such meaning We do not want to go
We did not want
We would keep then here and
The hon
He considered the bringing of this


The Newfoundlander, 1864-1869. Digitized by Google Books



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Isabelle Carré-Hudson.

Personnes participantes: