Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 31 March 1869, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.

An appeal was made by the Nova Scotians for a repeal of the Union, but it was refused. If the British Government had not been in favor of the Union of Nova Scotia with Canada, would not the people of the latter country have had a hearing? The British Government had the constitutionality of the mea sure, of course, in favor of their action but if they know it was not in accordance with the principles of Responsible Government and the well-understood wishes of the people would they have been justified in acting as they did? They were cognizant of this, but it was to their interest to do as they did. And we stand pretty much in the same position as Nova Soctia; for we have asked for what they have no interest in giving us. If the poor among them were not burdened by the tax for the payment of this salary, the Home Government would let us along; but they are burdened. If we insist, therefore, upon their paying this salary, they will say to us 'You must go into Confederation and get it paid,' The Leader of the Government, in taking his present course, had his supporters, and I believe they were all convinced that the only safe course to pursue was for us to pay the salary. After we are prepared to do this, we can state our grievances to the Imperial Government.
As to the character of the despatches from the Colonial Office in reference to Nova Scotia, we know that they were as foreign to the strict honest facts of the case, morally or politically, as any statements could possibly be. Notwithstanding the fact that the hon. Joseph Howe went hom and stated the case, backed up by a petition from 13,000 of the loyal inhabitants of Nova Scotia— because the Imperial Government had the fact that the Legislature of Nova Scotia had consented, by the moat foul and unjustifiable means, to the union of that country with Canada—they needed not the petition, nor the representation of that gentleman, although they knew they were acting against the well understood wishes of the people. Then assuming that the address of this House, or of any portion of it, were presented to the House of Commons, and then that the Colonial Minister backed up by his predecessor, got up and made a statement contrary to the prayer of our appeal, what would be the effect upon the House of Commons? It would scatter to the winds any impression made by the Address upon that body, and the result would be that there would be no chance for little Prince Edward Island to obtain her wishes. There seems now to be no alternative for us, but of two evils to choose the least. When I consider that Newfoundland is about being legislated into Confederation, that a ring is being formed around us, and that the British Government have reduced our defences as far as they have done. I cannot but come to the conclusion that it would be unsafe PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 157 to risk the result of relishing to accede to this demand. I am as desirous that the people should be relieved from every burden as any hon. member of this House, but I think it necessary to submit to this demand, for I believe that the British Government would not be particularly scrupulous in regard to forcing us into the Confederation against our wishes, if they had what they thought a slight pretext for so doing. I would not favor any movement on the part of this House which might call for reflection in future. I shall, therefore, support the Resolution introduced by the hon. Leader of the Government.


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: Edward Reilly, Queen's Printer, 1869. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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