Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 9 March 1868, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.

But, Sir, had the late Government succeeded in their plans, where would we be to-day? Why into Confederation, and not in the proud position which we now occupy. We might have been in the position that Nova Scotia is now placed in. This is one of the reasons why this Government stands so high in the estimation of the people. They know that on this important question they can trust us. The hon. member has said that there was no political manliness in this Government. But, Sir, where was the political manliness of the late Government. In 1865 Confederation was a question then brought to their notice by the highest authority. Did they come down with a measure upon the subject, or a decisive expression of opinion? No! nothing of the kind. They had men in that party who were determined to carry it if they could. They knew also that the Hon. Mr. Whelan was a Confederate, and doubtless thought that his influence would secure a few votes in favour of the measure from this side of the House, and thus by obtaining a vote here and another there, they hoped to succeed in forcing the measure upon this country. But this question, I may state, will not be entertained by any hon. member from the one end of our party to the other.-The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, in referring to Education, made quite a circuit ; but, lawyer like, took care to express no opinion of his own. I am surprised though that he never before made the discovery that he so strongly sympathised with the Catholics.
R. Gordon, Reporter.
Mr. BELL—I do not wish, Mr. Chairman, to say much on this question; but it appears to me that parties in this House take great pleasure in raking up everything they can against each other. I have taken an active part in politics for some time, in connection with the Liberal party, and I think that they have always been the friends of the tenantry. There is one act of the Conservative party which I would like to notice—that is the bringing of the troops here. I feel pretty sensitive on this subject; it is not a very pleasant thing for a whole country to be branded as rebels. The Government of the day should have advised the people of the dangerous course they were pursuing. I do believe, and always have believed, that some of the members of the Government, then in power, had no other end in view than to bring the Island into Confederation. One prominent member of the Government laid his schemes for that purpose, and he thought that by stigmatising us as rebels, the Home Government would be induced to force us into Confederation. The present party must, however, have the credit of getting the charges for the pay of the troops remitted. There is, also, a great deal of talk about the Land Purchase Act. The fact of the matter is, that this Act is not what it is said to be. If, when this Act first came into operation, the loan Bill had been passed, it might have been different ; but the Land Purchase Act, as it is to-day, is a failure. It is worse than paying rent. No active farmer will purchase his farm when he can invest his money to more advantage.
Hon. LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.—I have certainly been rather amused with the speaker who has just sat down. He got up to lecture us on political morality, and said that we should not impute motives ; but he soon got the fever on him, and he also imputed motives, for he said he believed the late Government got the Tenant League into existence for the purpose of forcing the Island into Confederation. It is not often that the hon. member troubles us, but when he gets up to lecture us on political morality he should be careful not to fall into the error which he condemns. The charge he attempts to sustain is altogether false. He also attempted to lecture the Conservatives because they did not warn the Tenant Leaguers of the dangerous course they were pursuing. The same doctrine felt from the lips of the hon. member for Belfast, who was himself a Tenant Leaguer. All I can say to him is, that the Tenant League, from its first inception, was unconstitutional, if the doctrines which emanated from that League are to be believed. The hon. member said that they were organized merely to form an Association. We know, Sir, that one of the conditions of membership in that Association was, that each member should subscribe for Ross's Weekly—a paper that did a vast amount of injury to this Colony. The Tenant Lea- [...]


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: The Examiner, 1868. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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