Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 17 March 1871, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.

[Hon. B. DAVIES] I consider it to be one of the most wild, reckless, and uncalled for undertakings ever thought of in a country situated as we are, and altogether beyond our means, and which if ever carried out, will be an everlasting charge on the community, especially on the farmers. It is so far beyond our means that I am convicned that the Government are fully aware that they cannot accomplish one-third of the undertaking without aid, and that aid I have no doubt, they expect to obtain from their friends in the Dominion, in exchange for delivering the Island into their hands. Confederation is, in my opinion, the object sought, and not the prosperity of the Island. It is Confederation, Mr. Chairman; it is the miserable, grovelling, pecuniary interest of the Government and its supporters, that is sought to be advanced under the resolution now before us, and not that of the people and this country by a railroad. Mr. Chairman, neither the Members of the Government nor their supporters in this House were returned to carry out this scheme. It was not monied before the last election, and it was by mere chance that the Government came into power, and they do not possess the confidence of their constituencies; and, under there circumstances, nothing but the confidence of their being retained in power by the men who had desired their party bring forward this undertaking. If they were conscious that the people approved their conduct, they would not scorn to consult them before committing the country. Sir, I consider it discreditable to any party, claiming a right to be respected, to attempt, as the Government are now doing without the consent of the people, to mortgage every man's farm, house and stock, to pay the interest on this railroad.
[Hon. P. SINCLAIR] The hon. Atty. General speaks very loudly in his praise of the country, and in showing its superiority over the other colonies; but it is only a short time since we heard him speak of our insignificance of the greatness of the Dominion, of its stalwart sons, &c. Times have changes, and it is we who are now great and prosperous when compared with any part of Canada. When we find men occupying high positions changing with the wind, we cannot but feel that they do not carry as much weight as they otherwise would. It is no wander that the hon. Leader of the Government complains of the want of confidence in the government when they wish to undertake a work of such magnitude as the construction of a railway, and attempt to force it upon the people without consulting them on the matter, and without giving them time to consider their position and what they would have to bear in consequence of it. If the railway is to be built, it will involve us in a taxation heavier than that of Canada, and there will be nothing left us but to enter the Dominion on any terms on which they will accept us. England is taxed four dollars per head for her debt, Canada one dollar; and this Colony, if the railway is proceded with, will be taxed over two dollars [...]


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: The Examiner, 1871-1872. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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