Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 01 May 1873, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.


THURSDAY, May 1st.

MR. HOWATT.— Mr. Chairman, there are two Resolutions now before this hon. Committee, and I may table a third when the proper time arrives. The matter is important, and time should be taken to consider what we are doing. I have listened attentively to the arguments on both sides, and can only notice that one side blames the other for the difficulties which have come upon the country; holding it up as a misfortune that such and such should have occurred. If, however, as so many seem to argue, Confederation is to be such a benefit to us, then I cannot see why hon. gentlemen should not be rejoicing, instead of mourning over our position. If we are going into a partnership so desirable. there is surely no cause for complaining. But in so far as I can see, there has been nothing, as yet, brought forward to show that we are going to receive an equivalent for what we are going to give up. Suppose we do go in, it is clear that a large amount will soon be required for local purposes, which can only be had by local taxation. Can the general Government exist without a Revenue? We know it cannot. If, as some hon. gentleman has said, the Revenue of the Dominion is increasing, so also is taxation, and of necessity they must be receiving more from the Provinces than they return. Whatever the cost of the Dominion Government may be, or for whatever purpose we will be required, if we go in, in all time coming to pay the one-fortieth part of it. I contend, therefore, that a little more time should be taken before we rush into an arrangement so important. The probability is, that by delaying the matter a while longer, we will get a little more money, although for my part I refuse to enter in on any terms. If, however, hon. members are determined to unite on some terms, they will do well to look carefully into the amount proposed to be allowed by the Dominion for our Railway. It is set at three and one quarter millions of dollars. But supposing it should, as I believe it will, cost more than that amount, we should have to make up the difference. On this matter there should be a distinct understanding, so there may be no difficulty about it in the future. I am only speaking in case Confederation should be decided upon, so that if we do go in, the arrange ment should be such that we would have fair play, and a fair race with the other Provinces. It will be one of those bargains which a dissolution cannot break. It will be binding for all time to come. I cannot, therefore, in view of the opinions expressed on both sides, but express my belief that the course pointed out by the Leader of the Government is the proper one to pursue. Hon. members on the opposite side speak as if we were going up on a begging excursion. For my part I look at the whole question from first to last as a begging one. The late Government assumed the position of paupers from the first. They have placed us in such a position that we cannot now say we will go in of our own free choice. Make the best you can of it, you will go in as paupers. I believe in a few years, with care and prudence, we would surmount our difficulties. In the other Provinces they are taxed $40 on every £1000 of property they own. The Dominion Government have got themselves in that position, that they cannot help themselves. In the Dominion new Railways will be springing up in all directions, and these will lead to increased taxation. In addition to our burden, in Confederation, we will have to shoulder our proportion of the burden of Canada also, yet I approve more of the course proposed to be taken by his honor the Leader of the Government than that proposed 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 131 by the hon. member the Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. B. DAVIES—Sir, they purpose sending up a new delegation, because they say the Laird-Haythorne Terms are not sufficient. Now I think it has been clearly shown that the reverse is the fact. The Dominion takes the Railway off our hands, and in that matter we are relieved by these Terms, from the duty of making provision for the working of our road. If we do not go into Confederation, we have to make immediate provision for the Railway which cannot be less than $200,000. I have not heard one reason advanced to justify the basis Of the resolution before this hon. committee. His honor the Leader of the Government has not set forth any cause for leading the committee to suppose that any additional allowance will be conceded over those already brought down. When they go to the Ministry at Ottawa,with demands for the Lighthouse on Summerside wharf, and other similar works, they will be given to understand that the general Government does not, and will not, grant. allowances to any Provinces for such works. But I believe. Sir, that the hon. member must have some other object in view in going up. We have a right to know, Mr. Chairman, if the Government are going to accept the basis of $45 ahead, and to allow the general Government to have the Railway as Dominica property? Or do the members on the Government side of this committee concur in agreeing to take the road and work it ourselves? If so it will give the Government the power of expending the interest Of nearly $5,000,000. To me it does appear as if the intention of the Government is to secure all the patronage they can for their friends, and for that purpose may agree to keep the Railroadas a local work. If such a line of policy should be adopted, it will, I am persuaded, be attended with bad results to the general interests of the Island. It would. no doubt, give our Government here a large amount of money to expend annually, but in the end, the road, as a public work, will become a failure. It will annually depreciate in value, and becomes burden upon the Colony. Lord Dufferin's telegraphic despatch distinctly states that better Terms will not be agreed to. I believe the Government are perfectly satisfied the Terms are just and honorable. No one here ever supposed the Canadian Government intended to take the road off our hands. As matters now stand we will have the Railway with all its advantages, and yet it will not cost us anything, as the Terms brought down provides that it shall belong to the General Government. They have not shown that the Terms offered are unfair, or that the basis upon which they rest is money. I know the hon. member, the Leader of the Government, is not a man who would go up to beg. But he can go up there and make proposals without doing that. I am inclined to think that he wishes to take the Railway off the hands of the Dominion Government. At one time, I believe, the hon. member offer ed to take the road and work it himself. And as there would be nothing unconstitutional in his asking to have it retained as a local work, this committee should be very careful and not hastily bind itself to support such Terms as the delegates may thus agree to. For if the hon. member and the delegates who may go up should make an arrangement of that kind, it would entail eternal ruin upon this Island. It would give them an interest at first in what they would make on the first cost of the road. But at present the work is suspended, because the Debentures are worthless in the money market at home, but the moment we accept the Terms. they will 132 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1878 sell at par. But, if it is to become local works they will be worth little or nothing. They would not yield £80 on the £100, and if so we would never see a branch line extended to Souris or Tinguish. Indeed, I doubt if the road would extend further west than Summerside. I feel, therefore, that I have a right to ask if such is their intentions? This side of the House never attempted to deviate from any promise made to the eastern members, nor can I see that they had any just reason for leaving us when we acted in such good faith toward them. If the hon. member could show any sound reason why we should support the Resolution, we might. perhaps be induced to do so. The basis of the Resolution is money. It is drawn up also in a manner which will prevent hon. "members on this side from supporting it. For my part I do not feel that I can vote for it, or that my duty towards my constituents requires that I should. The amendment is much more correctly drawn up, and as it more fully meets with my approval, it shall have my support.
The House then resumed. Progress was reported, when House adjourned for one hour.
House in committee of the whole to resume consideration of despatches on Confederation.
Mr. A. C. MCDONALD in the chair.
Hon. Mr. LEFURGY.—A good deal has been said by the hon. members on both sides of the House in reference to the proposed delegation to Canada, and I think the sooner we come to an understanding on the matter, the better, as there is no time to lose. both sides of the House seem pretty well satisfied that Confederation must be brought about, and I think we should confine ourselves to the question as to whether a delegation should be appointed or not. For my own part I could not vote for the present Terms without having made an effort to do better, but if we satisfactorily ascertain that better Terms cannot be procured, I will be willing to accept the offer  we now have. Viewing the matter in this way, I think it will be almost useless for the Opposition to oppose the sending of another delegation. The Government is perfectly agreed in reference to Confederation, that it shall be carried. If better Terms can be procured, it will be all the better for the Opposition and their constituents, and they cannot find fault. We can lose nothing by following the course we propose. Something has been said about a letter sent to Mr. Lawson, of the Summerside Progress, by Mr. P. Sinclair. It was brought to my notice that a report was in circulation that somebody had picked up the letter and sent it to me, and that I then forwarded it to the Editor of the Argus, Now, I denied this in presence of Mr. Lawson, and said that I never saw the letter, with which statement he was perfectly satisfied. If it had been brought tome, I would have recommended its being sent back to the owner, but I knew nothing about it. Messrs. Pope, Howlan and myself, have been blamed for bringing all this trouble upon the country, by introducing the Railway Bill; but I think that instead of being censured for our conduct, we deserve a considerable amount of credit. The hon. Leader of the Opposition was elected as an anti-Confederate, but when he found himself in a critical situation, and unable to carry on the business of the country, he turned round, and sought Terms at Ottawa for admission into the Dominion. He obtained, in his own opinion, as good Terms as could be got, and now boastfully states that to seek better Terms would be perfect nonsense. it is much better to ask for better Terms before going into Confederation than afterwards, l873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 133 for I believe we shall soon enough find out that the amount we receive from Canada will prove insufficient for our wants. Out of little things great things grow. If we obtain only a few trifling amounts, to which we are entitled, they will, in the aggregate amount to something, and will prevent the necessity of levying so much by local taxation. The hon. junior member for Belfast has pictured the Dominion as one of the greatest and grandest countries in the world. I looked upon a union with that country, years ago, inthe same light in which he now sees it, and, therefore, I was a few years ahead of him. If the Opposition join with the Government in supporting the Resolution, I would not object to the appointment of one of their number on the delegation. We have a right to expect the assistance ol the Opposition in a matter which so deeply affects the best interests of the country, and I hope we shall have it.
MR. STEWART.— I acknowledge there is a good deal of truth in the remark of the hon. member for Summerside, that a good deal of time is lost by hon. members of this House, in making long speeches, instead of narrowing them down and furthering the real business of the country. The subject has been thoroughly discussed, and the only question for us now to consider is whether the proposed delegationis necessary or not. For my own part I do not intend to interfere with the legitimate business of this House by offering a factions opposition to the course, which, it is evident, the Government intend to pursue in this matter; because it I did so, I would not be serving the interests of my constitnents, nor acting in a manner calculated to forwardthe real interests of the country. It was the duty of the Government, when the Opposition showed the Terms before us to be just, equitable and liberal to this Colony, to state in plain terms what they intend to ask in addition to the present offer, and also upon what grounds they intend to base their arguments in favor of additional concessions. If we give them full liberty to change the whole constitution of the country without knowing what claims they intend to make, we may place ourselves in a false position before our constituents and before the world, and, therefore, would pursue a very unwise course, in so doing. If the Government feel bound to send another delegation, the sooner they do so the better, as the business of the country demands an immediate settlement of this question of Confederation. If $25,000 in gold be withdrawn from our Banks for the purpose of paying off the amount we borrowed from a New Brunswick Bank, it may be the means of injuring our trade to a certain extent by hampering the Banks. I heard it reported that we were offered a renewal of half the amount of that note; but I understand it to mean another delegation to Canada. We have been assured that if additional concessions cannot be obtained, the Government will accept the present Terms. I am not satisfied with the statements made by his honor the Leader of the Government in reference to the claims he intends to make from the Dominion Government. If hon. members on the other side of the House can produce figures to substantiate their position, and to show how this Colony would lose by accepting the Terms now offered, they should do so. I have figured up the expenditure ofthis Island under Confederation, and compared it with the present offer, and I make outa surplus of Revenue of $13,000. We have no right to make unjust demands from the Dominion, as the Terms we procure must be submitted to their Legislature, and receive its approval, before a union takes place. As we are cut off from the other Provinces six months in the year, our mail ser 134 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 vice, which is, at present, poorly sustained, should be taken into consideration, and ample provision made for regular communication with the Dominion, during all seasons of the year. I believe the Canadian Government will attend to this matte, as our interests will be theirs, and theirs ours. I hope the hon. Leader of the Government will be able to show that he can obtain better Terms, and also how it can be done. I shall bow to superior wisdom in reference to this matter, and do not believe the people will blame me fore the manner in which I have acted, and the part I have taken. I throw the cloak of charity over the errors of public men ; they, no doubt, sometimes do what is wrong, but if a man is true to his fellow men in private life, he can be relied upon in public life. I cannot see what good is accomplished by the violent attacks of one hon. member of this House upon another, in reference to old matters which should be allowed to die out, and, therefore, hope such uncalled for debates will cease. I cannot vote for the resolution brought down by the hon. Leader of the Government, because I believe we shall receive a sufficient Revenue, under the Terms now offered by the Dominion, to meet all necessary expenditure, and because I believe the sending up another delegation would only cause unnecessary delay, without reaping a corresponding benefit. The sooner Confederation is an accomplished fact, the better for the trade and prospects of the country. I am aware that the Government can carry the resolution. If they are determined to do so, it would not be wise or prudent for the Opposition to cause unnecessary delay in the matter. They must take the responsibility of their action, and we, of the Opposition, must do the same in reference to ours. I oppose them honestly, because I believe we now have Terms which we should at once accept for the best in terests of the country, and because delays are dangerous. I ran my election on the present Terms, and found that the people were satisfied with them. The hon. Leader of the Government has not shown that they will be insufficient for the wants of the country. I confess that I am a mere novice in reference to the financial position of the Colony, while he is a man who understands our position, and, as a native of the Island, his interests are interwoven with its best interests. I cannot say that he adopts his present course from false motives, as it is often difficult to ascertain the real cause of individual action. Throwing aside all these matters, however, I am bound to support the adopting of the present Terms, and cannot vote for the resolution, because I believe we cannot get better Terms.
Hon. LEADER OF THE GOVERNMENT.—The speech we have just heard from the hon. junior member for New London, was. in my opinion, the best delivered on that side of the House this Session. We had a long speech from the Hon. Leader of the Opposition, atempting, with very bad grace, to throw ridicule on the resolution, on account of a grammatical error which it contains. When a man's attention is very much engrossed with a variety of matters which cause him to lose a large part of his rest, by keeping him up late every night, errors of that kind will occasionally occur. I do not think the hon. member has at all distinguished himself, or made himself appear more learned, by doing as he has done with reference to this small affair. If the Government cannot obtain better Terms, the Opposition will occupy the better position ; if better Terms are procured, the Opposition will be in a worse position. For my own part, I am satisfied we shall obtain better Terms, and have made up my mind to send another delegation to 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 135 Ottawa, for that purpose. The hon. junior member for New London said that he had made a calculation, and found that under the present Terms we should have a surplus of Revenue over expenditure of $18,000 annually. Even admitting that we should have a surplus this year, we know that our wants have increased at a greater rate than our Revenue, and that we should probably, in the second year, get $13,000 behind hand. At the end of ten years we would, in all probability be $13,000 in debt, instead of having a surplus. The hon. junior member for Belfast puts down $54,000 as the annual expenditure of the Board of Works. Now the fact is, that $61,000 have been expended by that Board during the present year alone, although some trifling part of the words contracted for are not yet finished. We know that of our bridges are built of hemlock timber, and that many of them are getting decayed and are tumbling down. In the course of very few years they will all require to be rebuilt. Taking the hon. member's estimate, we find that already there are $7000 expended this year beyond the amount he sets down, and we may, therefore, come to the conclusion that we should require at least $54,000 as the annual expenditure of the Board of Works, we shall find that at the end of ten years we should be $200,000 behind, and would have to resort to local taxation to meet it. Will any hon. member tell me that $50,000 is sufficient for the building of wharves and bridges, in view of the fact that the price of labor and lumber is advancing ? Stone must, eventually, take the place of wood in the construction of bridges, and its cost will, of course, be many times greater. I do not mean to say that we would, under the present Terms, be actually $70,000 a year behind the expenditure ; but if we maintain both branches of the Legislature, as we now do, and expend in the same proportion of increase, annually, on public works, we would find that our expenditure would exceed the Revenue to that extent. But retrenchment might be made in several items of our present expenditure ; for instance, one branch of the legislature would then be quite sufficient, and the number of members composing the House of Assembly might be materially lessened. So also in the different public offices. But if the expenditure of the Dashaways is to be taken as a standard, the Revenue, under Confederation, would be a long way behind the outlay. We require the best possible Terms that can be obtained, to meet the peculiarities of our position, and to meet our requirements for some years to come. If a unanimous vote were carried in this House, the position of the delegates would be greatly strengthened, and it would hasten the consummation of the union so much desired by the Opposition. In all sincerity, my sole object is to obtain Confederation on the most favorable Terms, so that we may not, after the union is completed, be discontented, and forced to resort to immediate local taxation to relieve the pressing wants of the country. Under Contederation, we shall find that our expenditure will increase year after year, while our Revenue will remain stationary. If we can obtain $5000 for one Lighthouse, and so much more for another and another, we are fairly and honestly entitled to it, and should endeavor to obtain it. If the Dominion Government have under estimated the cost of the great public works they are about to undertake, we are entitled to receive the one-fortieth part of the extra cost; but, according to the present Terms we should not receive one cent of that sum. We shall receive our share of the grants for ' the deepening of certain harbors, in 136 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 proportion to the sums expended in the wer Provincess for a similar purpose. It should be stipulated in the Terms we receive, that we shall receive our fair proportion of all sums expended in the Dominion for public works. I would be very sorry to make any claim on the Dominion for what is unjust and unfair. My desire is to see Confederation brought about on fair and equitable Terms, so that we may never have to regret the step we are about to take. My interests are bound up with those of this country, and I feel that in forwarding its best interests I am forwarding my own as well as those of the people generally. I would be sorry to return from this delegation without having accomplished something to improve our position ; but I feel confident that better Terms will be conceded us. In making his calculation, I do not believe the hon. Leader of the Opposition took into account the Excise Duties of the Dominion at all. Those duties are not included in his figures giving nine or ten per cent as the Dominion tariff. We know that their Excise Duties are very heavy, and helps very largely in making up a Revenue. There would be no difficulty in raising money enough, if we remain out of the Dominion, to pay our way and meet all demands upon us, if we could but get our securities in a good sound financial position. I would not be afraid to face even the latter difficulty, but there is no need to run the risk of placing our Banking institutions and the country generally, in a bad financial position; if reasonable Terms are offered by Canada, it will be to our interest, for many reasons, to accept them. I should like to see our Railway a success, and to see our people avail themselves of its advantages. Our people should not be placed in a worse position than those of the other Provinces, and, therefore, we should receive more iberal Terms than those now offered. The Government are quite prepared to accept Confederation at the earliest possible period, on fair and equitable Terms, as they believe it would con. duce to the interests of the people of this Colony, although many of their supporters believed at first that our resources would be quite sufficient to meet all demands, and would rather remain out of Confederation. As they did not know the state of our public securities in the London money market, one could scarcely wonder that they were opposed to Confederation till they ascertained our true position. But they are now prepared to accept fair and reasonable Terms, without loss of time. If the Opposition do not feel themselves in a position to support the resolution, I hope they will not give it a factions opposition.
MR. D. LAIRD.—The hon. Leader of the Government wishes to carry his resolution without delay or opposition. Times have changed with him, Sir, for it is only one year ago, since he carried out his factions opposition, to every act of the late Government, one month longer than was at all necessary or usual. I can assure him that although we do not offer a factions opposition, we claim the right, and will speak fully and freely on this question. This is an important period in the history of this Colony, and we intend to enjoy the privilege of expressing our opinion on a matter so deeply affecting our interests. Has it come to this, that those who have been pronounced imbeciles by the present Government and their supporters, should now be asked to allow their resolution to pass without further opposition? Is this side, or even a majority of this hon. House, going to authorize the hon. Leader of the Government to do as he pleases? No matter what Terms the new delegates may agree to, the resolution states that we have full confidence in them, 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 137 and will ratify the Terms. That is a pledge which we would not be justified in giving any delegation, and the hon. Leader of the Government has a great deal of assurance to come down to this House and ask us to pass such a resolution. If the delegates take this document with them to Ottawa, the members of the Dominion Government will surely think we are an egregious set of fools in promising to ratify whatever Terms those hon. members may happen to bring down. It is beneath the dignity of this hon. House to give pledges in regard to the future; our business merely requires a present opinion on the matters brought before us. The hon. Leader of the Government says that the Dominion Revenue has been largely increased during the last few years, and that the Lower Provinces have been in a great measure the cause of it. If the latter was a fact, we should have seen this great increase immediately after the union was etfected, but this was not the case. Three years elapsed without any remarkable change in this respect, but as time rolled on, the people became more settled and satisfied with their lot, trade began to fall into its proper channels, and the Revenue began to increase rapidly. Quebec contributes as much to their Revenue as any of the Lower Provinces. The great Dominion is now being consolidated, and trade is flourishing accordingly. The taxation, even now, in this Colony, is $4.20 per head, whereas in the Dominion it is only $4.09 per head. Deduct the cent coinage from last year's Revenue, and we shall find that the taxation is about the same in both cases. The hon. Leader of the Government says that we could remain out of Confederation and still manage our own affairs. He also admits that we could suspend the Railway works. If we remain out of the union, the Railway must be stopped. Well, if he will stop the construction of the Railway, except that portion between Charlottetown and Summerside, I care very little whether he accepts Confederation or not. But his honor goes on to show that if Confederation is not accepted, there will be no sale for the Railway Debentures. Sometimes the truth will come out in a side wind. No additional tax, no 2 1/2 per cent to meet the interest on the Railway debt is now mentioned. We must stop the Railway works, and remain out of the Dominion, if we cannot get Confederation on better Terms. That is encouraging for the Branch Railways! I am sure the hon. member for East Point was astonished at the declaration of his Leader! It will be the safest plan for hon. members on the other side of the House to accept the present Terms, as it is the only sure way to ensure the construction of the branch lines. If we have been extravagant and have spent more than we should have done, we alone should suffer for our rashness. We have no right to press unjust claims upon the Government of the Dominion to make good what we have extravagantly spent. The hon. Leader of the Government tries to make out that something has been omitted from the calculations of the late delegation, in their negocintions with the Dominion Government. I do not believe the Finance Minister of Canada is going to reconsider his position, and re-arrange his Budget Speech to please him, Sir. He states that the Bay Verte Canal will cost double five millions of dollars before it is completed, and that we do not know anything at all about it! The debt of Canada is also to be swelled up to a hundred millions of dollars ! Are these the arguments he intends to use when he goes upon the delegation ? If so, I wish them joy of their success. The delegation is going to ask payment for certain Lighthouses and Breakwaters, although they cannot show that the other Provinces 138 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 received anything for similar public works. If a new principle is laid down by the Dominion Government for our benefit, they will have to mete out equal measure to all the other Provinces of the union ; but they will not pay for every paltry Lighthouse and Breakwater, and a thousand other little matters for which the Government are going to claim payment. The resolution should show in what respect this Colony has been overlooked in the present Terms, but this it does not do. If the Government had stated in the resolution what they intend to ask for, the Opposition might be prepared to support it, but they have laid down nothing. I believe that this delegation is more for the purpose of carrying out their own particular policy in reference to the selection of offices, than for the purpose of obtaining better Terms. Before the Treaty of Washington was settled, the Government of the Dominion were anxious to have us included in Confederation, as they wished to have control of our fisheries, but since the Treaty, they care very little whether we are in or out. There was also a good deal of smuggling from this Island to the Dominion, some years ago, and this was another reason why they wished to have us in Confederation. I am sorry to say our officers at that time did not try to crush out that sort of thing, and that no efficient check was given to it. But the tables are now turned the other way, as the tariff of this Island will soon be higher than that of Canada, if we remain out of the union. As regards either our fisheries or tariff, they care very little whether we go in or stay out ; but they would like to see the outline of the Dominion rounded up. These delegates are now going up to Ottawa to threaten that Government that if they do not give us better Terms, we shall remain out of Confederation. It is my opinion that if every hon. member of this House saw the whole burden that will fall upon us, when the Railway is completed, there is not one that would not shrink from remaining out of the Dominion shapes the interest and debt. If, in future years, we wish to improve our Educational system, and raise the qualification and salaries of our Teachers, we can increase our local taxation for that purpose. The hon. Leader of the Government published a statement in the newspapers, a few weeks ago, to the effect that the present Terms are not as good as the Better Terms of 1869. I differ widely from him on that point, and have no confidence in his management. I could not endorse his resolution, as I do not know what he intends to ask for, and I could not promise him that I will give my unqualified ratification to Terms I have never heard. He asks too much from us.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.—When the hon. junior member for Belfast stated that I was recalled from the Washington delegation, he stated a malicious falsehood. It is well known that the newspaper which he conducts is the receptacle of all the falsehoods and filth of this Island, and that no dependence can be put upon any statements it contains. I am quite willing to compare my Washington delegation with his Ottawa delegation. I went, at that time, as far as Boston, on private business, and paid my expenses thus far from my own pocket. The Leader of the then Government asked me to go on to Washington, and I did so. The Report I made out at New York was made after the Bill, to which it had reference, had passed through Congress, and, therefore, I could not have committed an error in that way. I was then asked to go to Montreal on business connected with the Telegraph lines. I went, and obtained what I asked for. For this delegation I re 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 139 ceived my personal expenses, and that was all. But the Laird-Haythorne delegation cost the country $856 ! And what did they obtain for this expenditure? The hon. member did not do a single thing that was not already done for him in the Council Chamber before he started on his mission ! In my hand I hold the Minute of Council, dated Jan. 2nd, 1873, containing the identical Terms he brought down from Ottawa, and yet he has the unblushing effrontery to state on the floor of this House, that the Terms were obtained by himself, and that they cannot be surpassed ! After considerable search, this Minute was found, although one after another of those hon. members, who were members of the late Government, declared there was no such document ! The late Government decided, before those delegates left at all, to go for Confederation. We hear the hon. member state that he debated with Mr. Tilley, the Dominion Finance Minister, in endeavoring to obtain liberal Terms for this Colony ! He did nothing of the kind, Sir ! At the bottom of this minute it is stated that certain suggestions were still under consideration ; but he knew well that such was not the case. When hon. E. Palmer stated at a public meeting in Charlottetown, that the delegates went to "fend off" Confederation, the hon. James Muirhead stated at Summerside that the late Government had agreed to carry it out. There is nothing to show to this House that the delegates asked for any Terms they did not obtain. The late Government might as well have sent up to Ottawa a sealed envelope containing the Terms they wished, as to send up that delegation, for what was asked for was all granted.
MR. LAIRD.—We obtained $5,000 annually, in addition to the Terms contained in that Minute of Council, for our lands.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.—Well, that was a great performance? The late Government might as well have sent two boys, as, according to his own showing, he got only $5,000 per year ! The hon. Mr. Haythorne has always been a Confederate, while it is well known that the hon. junior member for Belfast was an extreme anti-Confederate, and had been vilifying and abusing for years, on account of his opinions, the man who now became his co-delegate. Then look at the composition of this Minute of Council ! Talk about English Grammar ! It would be a fit subject for ridicule for the boys of any Grammar School. It is now clearly to be seen that the Terms were agreed upon in the correspondence between His Honor the Lieut. Governor, and the Governor General of Canada. The hon. member says he saw Confederation looming in the distance since last August. Perhaps there are other papers which we may yet get hold of, which will throw still more light on his perfidious dealings. The hon. members of the Opposition have told us over and over again that the country will not be able to meet the demands upon it out of Confederation, but we have here a document—a Minute of Council—of their own, stating that the Colony can pay all its liabilities ! The whole burden of their song has lately been about Exchange ; but it was a secondary matter at that time, as this Minute does not contain a word about it. The only business the hon. member ever had control of, was that of the Charlottetown Woollen Factory, which suffered terribly under his mismanagement. A man who could carry on a Factory, and lose $1,400 a year, and at the close show on the books a profit of $2,700, must surely be an extraordinary individual ! At the bottom of this Minute of Council, they state that the Terms are " still under consideration." They must not be published 140 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 for the information of the people, because they are alleged to be under consideration ! The hon. member well knows they were not under consideration ; yet he comes in here and loudly complains because the present Government will not tell him what they are going to ask in addition to the present Terms ? He is convicted in all those matters by his own statements, which bear witness against him. It is now clear that the Terms obtained by the late delegates were all arranged for, and completed for presentation to the Dominion Government, before they started at all ; but a great snow storm took place, and some members of their Government did not sign it till the 11th of January. It appears the delegates got more from the Dominion Government than they asked for, when they received this great boon of $5000, and that the Colony paid $856 for their services in procuring that paltry amount, according to the hon. member's own admission. We had a long eulogy on the services of the late Collector, Mr. Currie. Immediately after the present officer was appointed, the Government had to put a gentleman in that office to put the books in order, and make up the Accounts, as the latter were found to be far behind. The Coalition appointed a committee to investigate, and they proved that there was smuggling going on, but Mr. Currie, instead of seizing the smuggled goods when he found them, said to the owners, "just give us a bond and we shall say nothing about it." It is a notorious fact that because a man in Prince County let some salt water get into a cask of liquor, he had $35 knocked off the duty! And yet we are now told that the late Collector gave a great check to smuggling! The hon. member is terribly afraid that Messrs. Pope and Howlan will go up to Ottawa and get all the offices, and that the country will be ruined ! I never had a public office in my life ; but I dare say that if we go up, we shall break up his little game of obtaining office for himself and his friends. We were condemned by the late Government, and refused a committee of investigation ; but who has the country now condemned ? It has Condemned the late Government and their Terms with them. We have been told by the Opposition that if another delegation receives a concession of $1000 per year more from the Dominion, the country should not accept it. This is a specimen of their honesty and patriotism. When the hon. junior member for Belfast paid his first visit to Canada, he saw nothing worth looking at but some onions—all the rest was not worth mentioning. But he now sees everything in a new light—everything there appears great, grand, and good, to this would-be- financier ! We have no municipal or parochial taxes in this Colony, and though we should get the best Terms that can be got, we shall be taxed more heavily when we enter Confederation. He (Mr. Laird) took up the Budget Speech of hon. Mr. Tilley, and knew as much about it after he had got through it, as when he commenced to read it. When he states that our taxes are about equal to those of the Dominion, he says what he knows to be false. A new idea has entered his brain, and that is, to stop the Railway at Summerside ! He once went to the polls crying, "No Railway, stop the Railway," but hen be secured his election, he voted for building the branches ! He boasts of having obtained $22 per head more than any of the other Provinces. We know that when the other Provinces entered Confederation, no Pacific Railway or any of the other great works, now proposed, was then thought of, and, therefore, their allowance per head could not be as great as if they were only now entering. No man can tell what may take place within the next 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 141 few years to increase the Dominion debt to an enormous extent. A war, for instance, or some enormous expenditure for some particular purpose, would greatly change, the present condition of matters. No man can look into the vista of the future and say what they will spend on public works during the next fifteen years. It is only a farce on his part, where he attempts to do so. I am surprised at the want of prudence and knowledge of our Colonial affairs which characterizes the present minority. If we go to Ottawa on our risk, we shall convict them of short-sightedness, which will place them in a ridiculous position before the country. Suppose we can bring $4000 for $5000 per year, in addition to the present Terms, will not the people thank us for obtaining it, and saving them from so much local taxation ? We have not, in the present Terms, sufficient to carry on the business of the country, and as this will be our last opportunity to obtain still better Terms, we shall be censured by the people if we do not improve it. The hon. Junior member for Belfast has got so rich from the Queen's printership, that a thousand or two dollars are nothing at all in his sight, and our little Lighthouses, Breakwaters and Drill Sheds, are, in his estimation, not worth mentioning. Everything down here is only a two penny halfpenny affair in his eyes, According to his calculations when they spend more than they receive in the Dominion, all they have to do is to charge it to "Capital Account." That is surely a splendid way to get clear of debt! He says that the Intercolonial Railway cost $20,000,000, that so much was spent, and that ten millions were carried over and charged to Capital Account.
MR. McNEILL said it was not right to keep the people in suspense respecting what the intention of the Government is. It appeared to him they had no objections to the Laird-Haythorne Terms, the only real objection being that they did not originate with his honor, the Leader of the Government himself. He did hope the Govern-, ment would have brought down a resolution which he could have supported. He felt, however, that a healthy opposition was of much service to a country, as it kept a Government up more closely to the line of duty it should follow. Arguments were brought forward to show that the Terms offered are not sufficient. He is willing to admit that if our situation as a Colony was the same as it was a few years ago, he would much rather not unite with the Dominion. But the circumstances of the Colony have so changed, that it is unreasonable to expect that better Terms can be had. If, however, he took a wrong view of the matter, and by the vote he feels it his duty to record in the matter, should thereby do an injustice to his constituents, he would be sorry. It might be possible that the cost of the public works of Canada were under valued, and if so it would form the basis of a good argument in favor of better Terms ; and if so, no doubt the Dominion will deal justly with us. But up to the present moment the Government have not shown any reason why further coacessions should be made. If the hon. member for Bedeque will bring forward a resolution, based upon arguments which will show that we can raise sufficient of Revenue to meet the demands of the Colony, he (Mr. McNeill) may yet support it. There can only be a certain amount of duty raised from our Imports. We would next have to levy an increased tax upon real estate. If the hon. member is prepared to go to his constituents with such a proposition, then he is right, but for his (Mr. McNeill) part, he could not obtain the consent of his constituents for levying such a tax. The resolution is 142 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 not such an one as he expected would have been tabled. But he did hope his honor would have brought forward one in favor of a branch line of Railroad to Rustico. Instead of that he came forward with arguments in favor of pay for Drill Sheds, Barracks, and Lighthouses. Well, if we can get any allowance for these he would be glad. It would be always so much. If, however, we give the delegates the power they ask for, we will, by that resolution, be bound to support whatever Terms they may agree to, and if they take the Railway as a local work, it would be ruinous to the Colony. He would not say there is any disposition on the part of the Government to do anything of the kind. He knew his constituents had a horror of the Railroad, and will not support any resolution which empowers the delegates to agree to such Terms as they please, and then be bound to support them as those will who vote for the resolution of the Leader of the Government. He, however, had no wish to throw any unnecessary obstacles in the way, believing as he did, that the sooner the matter is settled the better.
MR. L. H. DAVIES.—In rising to address this committee, Mr. Chairman, it is not my intention to trouble you with any lengthy remarks, as I expressed my views pretty freely when his honor the Speaker was in the chair, and, therefore, shall not repeat what I said on that occasion. In the resolution and amendment before us there are, however, phases of thought which I shall briefly notice. I regret that the Leader on the independent benches of this committee, has not seen fit to table the resolution he says he is going to submit. As the hon. gentleman professes to be an out and out no Terms man, I should like to see his resolution and hear the arguments by which he intends to support it. I am glad that, to some extent, this debate has been carried on with some defer ence to that decorum which is due to the position we occupy here, and, therefore, regret the impropriety of some remarks indulged in here last night. The explanations made by my hon. friend from New London, respecting that letter of his, should have been received as ample, to prevent the tirade of language it called forth last night, when reference was made to that incident. His honor the Leader of the Government said he had no respect for anything which might be said by the hon. member for Murray Harbor. I can assure the hon. gentleman I have just as much contempt for his opinions. But, Mr. Chairman, as I said before, this is a question which lifts itself above that which is partizan or personal. When I reflect that our local constitution will soon cease, that whether we look to the past, the present or the future, there is undoubtedly much in the question before us to call for earnest attention and due consideration. If the hon. gentlemen who purpose going up as delegates, and who ask to be supported by such a resolution, carry it, and fail in securing even as good Terms as those already offered, we would then regret that our indiscretion led us to adopt such a course. But if we agree to bestow the power on the delegates which this resolution asks, we will be bound to accept them, even though they might be as good as those now offered. Instead, however, of the hon. gentleman supporting his resolution with arguments bearing upon the important interests involved, he attempts to sneer at what he was pleased to call the dash away policy of the hon. member for New London, and although the hon. member denied the correctness of the construction put upon his words, showing that it had no connection with the context, and demanded that his letter be produced, or the construction put upon it be withdrawn, yet neither was done. When so reasonable and 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 143 just a demand was made, and not complied with, it was very unfair and ungentlemanly to insist upon the interpretation put upon the words of the hon. member. I find that great credit is claimed for the certificate of character given to the Government which carried the Railway Bill, in the Report of the inspecting Engineers. The hon. member claims that the charges made against that Government are not ratified by the Report. I think the charges made against them are ratified. They were charged with letting the contract in an unbusiness like manner, and in a way which allowed the contractors unnecessarily to lengthen the road, for their own benefit, at the expense of the country. And the difference arose as to the loss which the country would really sustain by this omission of attention to the interests of the people on the part of the Government when letting the contract for the main line. Now on that point the Engineers give a decided answer. They say :— "The manner of letting the contract, viz., at a certain price per mile, instead of at a fixed price between given points, and over a staked out line, we think is the cause of the differences which have arisen between the Government, the Government Engineer, and the contractors." Now, I ask what is there in these words to show that they did right ? Do they not prove the correctness of the charges which we preferred against them for the way in which they let the contract? They say it was the " cause of the difference " which arose, and if they are willing to take that as a justification of their conduct, then all I have to say is may God help them. The hon. member did not reply to the able arguments of my hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition. Instead of arguing the question out upon its merits, the hon. member descended to abuse. He says the House should have been called to meet, and the situation of the Colony considered before delegates were sent to Canada ; and that the Terms, upon which the Colony would consent to enter into Confederation should have been first submitted to the House. But what is the hon. member now doing? He brings forward a resolution which asks for extension powers, while he refuses to say what Terms they intend to look for themselves. I contend the late Government did right in the course they pursued. There are times and occasions when all the information in the possession of a Government, should not be made public. Had the Terms entered into by the delegates been made known when concluded, the Opposition might have used them as a means for overthrowing the present minority at Ottawa. At the meeting held at Centerville, last year, the hon. member thought it would be a good speculation to rent the Railway. If he entertains the same views still, he, when he goes up to Ottawa, may conclude to take the road and work it for ourselves as a local work. The hon. Leader of the Opposition very wisely enquired what they intended to do in that matter, but received no reply. I look upon the resolution as containing a principle which should not be conceded. I am astonished that the hon member for Tryon should think of supporting it. I am surprised to think the hon. member should for a moment think of supporting it. Will he do so and go against the pledge given to his constituents ? I believe notwithstanding the pledge of the hon. member, he will hold on to the Government so long as in doing so he can clear the tails of his own skirts. I ask the hon. gentleman if he would be willing to take the Railway and run it as a local work at a loss of $50,000 a year ? I did expect his honor the Leader of the Government when he came down with his resolution would have told us what 144 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 the Terms are which he is going to demand of Canada. But on the contrary, he treats the committee as if we were little school boys, and unworthy of having such information communicated to us. If the hon. member from Bedeque will keep clear of the troubled waters before him, he will not think of voting for that resolution. I know if we go into Confederation we will not realize as large an amount of impost duty as we do now. Of manufactured goods, such as boots, shoes, hardware and other articles, we import large quantities. Hence all these on which the importers have now to pay an impost duty of 12 1/2 per cent besides 2 1/2 per cent for Railway tax, all of which will come in free under the Dominion tariff. In 1871 we imported from Canada proper,
Goods to the value of ÂŁ75 4s. 2d. stg., equal to $377,103
Upon which duty amounting to to ÂŁ3,860 stg., was paid or 19,300
From Nova Scotia value of goods import ÂŁ62 4s. 9d. stg., or $310,243
Duty paid 45,303
New Brunswick value ÂŁ50 18s. 2d. stg.,or $164,010 yielding a duty of ÂŁ5,328 stg., equal to $26.640
Showing an amount of duty paid of 91,243
From which we have to deduct the proportion of this amount paid on goods not the production or manufacture of Canada, under cover of protective duty, say one half or duty on $420,672, duty on which is 40,621
Showing that had we been in Confederation in 1871, we would have received $50,622 less than we did. Perhaps the senior member for Bedeque has not duly looked into this phase of of the subject. I believe the time is not far distant when our importations from the Dominion will be three times what it is at the present time. It is encouraging that notwithstanding the outlay of money in Canada, for the building and extension of canals, the Intercolonial Railroad, and other important and costly public works, taken in connection with the fact that they were put to the expense of repelling, within the past few years. two invasions, yet her heneral taxation has not increased more than about one dollar a head above the increase   True, large public works are yet in the course of construction, while the Pacific Railroad and other public works have not been commenced. Still I do not think we should look upon those vast undertakings with any alarm or dread. The population of Canada will go on increasing. Her vast and fertile territory will yet be the home of millions; and the extent of her mineral and manufacturing resources are so great, that we may look forward with pride to the prospective future of the Dominion of Canada. I believe my hon. friend, the junior member of New London, did not overstrain the argument when he said that in looking forward ten years he saw that magnificant country peopled with agriculturists, artizans, and laborers, to an extent now little thought of. Yes, when its resources become fully developed, it will become a great and powerful country. it is now but arising, as it were, to take possession of her vast, rich and various resources, and were I to enlarge to a greater extent in depicting her future, I feel I would still not overestimate what will yet be realized. It is true, 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 145 some years ago I apposed Confederation. I did so then because we were not laboring under a heavy debt. Then I saw that our farmers were getting rich, and our trade doubling itself every seven years. I saw a prosperity among our people which a few years ago would have been regarded as fabulous. But, Sir, when I saw that fine picture married and blotted by a measure which imposed a burden so much heavier than this Island could bear, or our people support, I thought it became every man to do what in him lay, to present such a measure being thrust upon the country. But it was carried, and the result is that our only escape lay in a union with Canada. In all honesty and candor I call upon the hon. member for Bedeque to show how they propose raising an increased Revenue of $200,000 ? for if their proposition is feasible, I may be yet induced to support it. As regards the hon member, the Leader of the Government, I find in looking over the Parliamentary Reporter for 1871, that hon. Mr. Pope is reported to have said : " He had carefully considered the question, and firmly believed that not more than £12,000 would be, in any one year, drawn from the Colony for interest ; the balance would remain in the country, and that instead of draining the resources of the Colony, it would make money more plenty, and give an impetus to the trade of the Colony never before experienced ; so that he thought the hon. member for New London, with all his acknowledged ability and shrewdness, would yet find that his calculations were not reliable." I do not know whether the hon. gentleman had given due consideration to the subject, but it does appear that his arguments carried the House along with him at that time, therefore it was that they should now look at his arguments with a good deal of suspicion. I say, Sir, his honor the Leader of the Government drew a fine picture of the state of the Colony then. According to his theory half of the capital for the construction of the road would be obtained here, so that but half of the interest of the debt would be drawn off the Island. But when I find that instead of $40,000 being required to pay the interest due abroad, we have to send away $130,000, so that the prosperity anticipated by the hon. gentleman has not been realized, therefore we have no right to expect that we can attain to it now. If we remain out of Confederation our tariff will have to be raised much higher. It is much higher now than it is in the Dominion. The average duty in Canada is not more than 10 per cent, while ours is 12 per cent. I may state that I believe every gentleman on this hon. committee regards it the duty of every man here to vote for for the present Terms, therefore, when we are called upon to give our assent to a resolution in favor of sending up another delegation to ask for better Terms, we should have some data given, upon which to found a claim for better Terms, or otherwise we will but stulify ourselves if we vote for it.
MR. HOWATT.—Sir, the hon. gentleman is afraid I will get into some difficulty with my constituents, and is anxious to assist me with some advice. Well, while I am much obliged to the hon. member, I still am dubious about acting upon the unsolicited advice of a lawyer. He contemplates shoving us into the Dominion immediately. For my part I am in no hurry about the matter, and believe the longer we keep out the better. Therefore, I prefer that the delegates to up and see if better Terms can be had. If it does no more, it will keep us our that much longer. This is for the present I regard as my best course notwithstanding the advice of the hon. gentleman. My intention is to move a resolution of my own when the proper time arrives. But what am I to think of the very fine pictures which the learned gentle 146 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 man has drawn of Canada? He has put his arguments forward in very glowing language, and arrayed the Dominion in fine colors. I agree with him that in the Dominion they raise much of their Revenue through their municipal institutions, and if we unite with them we shall have to resort to the same means of raising the funds we will require for local purposes. Therefore, I cannot see any difference between increasing our taxation now under our present form of constitution, and resorting to direct taxation when we have handed the power we now possess over to the Canadian Government. And how are we to know what the tariff of Canada will be in the future ? Will any one for a moment suppose the Government of the Dominion can exist and do the business of the Dominion of of Canada without a Revenue ? Why they are building Railroads and other expensive works, which will be a drag upon their Government for many a day, and for these we undoubtedly will have to be taxed. I, for one, do not believe we are justified in going so hastily into this matter. I understand the resolution and also the amendment. I would like to spend my days under the constitution we have, but if it has come to this that we have no alternative but union with Canada, then by all means let us try and obtain Terms which will enable us to get along without having to resort to local taxation. If they no not obtain better Terms in New Brunswick, I believe the whole thing will yet burst up. The contractors would only be too glad to give up the branches, if asked to do so, and we could meet, with due care and management, the liabilities of the main line. I ran my election on the anti-Confederate ticket, without any side issues. I said that I respected the late Government, but that their action on the question of Corfederation had separated me from them, and that when I came here I would have to oppose them.
MR. HOLLAND said, Mr. Chairman, Why, Sir, I am perfectly astonished to think the hon. gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition, should come forward here and attempt to twit any hon. member of the committee with inconsistency, for if there is a public man in this Colony who has turned more political somersaults than another, it is the hon. member for Belfast. I fully concur in the opinion of my hon. colleague, and believe it is admitted by men of as much financial ability as any in this Colony, that we might, if so disposed, succeed in meeting our liabilities, while retaining our present form of Government. I believe if we issued small Debentures, for ten years, at seven and a half per cent, that quite a number of them would be taken up by the wealthy farmers and other men of means in this Island. I am persuaded many of them could, in this way, easily be disposed of to men of limited capital, who would readily invest their money in such Government securities. Such a mode of raising money for the immediate requirements of the country would have been much more successful, and honorable, than that of sending the Colonial Secretary to Halifax to bring down the credit of the Colony in the manner he did, by attempting to sell our Debentures in that market. When I contrast the arguments of the junior member for Belfast with those he used in 1867, shortly after the Colonies became united, I feel surprised. In the Patriot of the 19th of September, 1867, he says: " In this Colony we have as yet the right to regulate our own taxes, and the privilige of appropriating these taxes for our benefit. The two sister Provinces. have lost these priceless blessings. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can henceforth be taxed by a Canadian majority, obtained it may be, through the most shameless bribery and corruption. The levying and appropriation of the taxes are as important to the well 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 147 being of a country as liberty of speech and freedom of the press." The hon. gentleman has told us also in his paper, that if we went into the Dominion our taxes would run up to ÂŁ40 a family. Quoting also from his paper of the 14th September, 1867, he says that in the matter of taxation "the weaker party must go to the wall," adding, " The Toronto Daily Telegraph, a ministerial paper, in a recent issue said : 'If Confederation does nothing else for us, it will at all events give us another governing body, with the power of imposing taxes, and yet we believe that if there was one thing more than another that Ontario could at the present moment dispense with, it is an addition to the taxing power. For, in the country, as it is, we have federal legislation and local legislation, and County Councillors, and Township Councillors, and School Trustees, all taxing or about taxing us at the same time, and in the cities we have the City Council, who is equal in taxing ability to County Councillors and Township Councillors together. We have thus five taxing powers.' " He then goes on to say that if we went into the Dominion, " taxation must increase. In Canada, where the people pay to the Government 25s. per head over and above large sums taken out of their pockets by Councillors and School Trustees, what would be the fate of Prince Edward Island, where there are no County and Township taxes, and where the whole public service is but 15s. or 16s. a head ? To this Colony Confederation means increasing our taxes two fold without any corresponding advantage." How comes it now that the hon. member has changed his views so suddenly ? Perhaps he has been bribed in order that he might attain a position among the Canadian swells and pedlars (order.) Surrendering the power of levying our own taxes to others, with absolute power to levy as much upon us as they chose, is an important consideration. We may probably obtain as much as for the present may meet our local wants, but we have no idea of what will be imposed upon us in the future. By uniting with the Dominion we will become responsible in the future for one million dollars more than we owe at present. There is no country in the world where, in proportion to its population, they build so many costly public works as they do in Canada. The Ministry are forced into these in order to enable them to keep in power. We have the authority of Judge Wilmot for saying that Confederation in New Brunswick was brought about by means of a Fenian raid. I expect they took some important lessons from the junior member for Belfast before they set out on their expedition. (Laughter.) New Brunswick is now dissatisfied with her condition, and is seeking for better Terms. This I look upon as a deplorable condition for any people to be in, after having, by their own act, deprived themselves of the important power and privilege of self government. The hon. gentlemen of the Opposition are fond of referring to the members who, as they say, occupy the independent benches. But Sir, we have taken our stand on this question, and shall hold to it. It does appear to me, however, that the whole of the Opposition feel that their seats may now be looked upon as holding those who occupy the penitential benches. They are anxious that I should bring down my Budget. The junior member for Belfast, and the learned member for Murray Harbor were anxious to see it. They would rather refer to almost anything than another delegation to Ottawa, so well convinced are they that if it succeeds in getting a few thousand dollars more that it would be their political death. Hence they have Spoken against time. If the arguments of the junior member 148 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 for Belfast were good in 1867, it becomes him to show why the same reasoning does not afford ground for a good argument in 1873? The late Government fought their way to power by a skillful use of the weapons of deflection. The edge of their arms have become somewhat blunted, and having had a taste of the sweets of office, and the political loaves and fishes upon which they regaled themselves during the past year, they would resort to any means to retain them. Had they, when they came into power, said to the eastern members that they could not sustain the proposition for building the branch lines, and if by so doing found themselves in a minority, an appeal to the people would have placed them in a better position than they ever did, or are likely to occupy.
MR. HOWATT.—The learned member from Murray Harbor wished to know if the members on the independent benches would vote for the resolution, and expressed the Opinion that if we did we would not understand what we were doing? But the learned gentleman is himself in that position, for he cannot tell what the tariff of the Dominion will be in a few years, or even next year, After Nova Scotia got in, every exertion possible to use to get out again, was resorted to, but in vain. Why should the hon. gentleman wish to drive us in so hastily? He would like to know positively what the actual debt of the Dominion is ; also, whether the debt of our Railway will be higher than it has been placed at? He understood the Dominion was only bound to assume three and a quarter millions as our Railway debt. This is a question which should be fairly considered. We may say we will not have to tax ourselves unless we chose, but if driven into that position, we might not be able to help ourselves. It is the duty of the Government to reject the Terms brought down. We do not know what another year may do for us. It is ruinous to jump so rashly into a position from which we can never retrieve ourselves. He would sooner go in for the dash away policy. Yes, let us tax ourselves, and pay our debts like honest men. We should not go begging at the door of Canada as if this was an Island of paupers. He was willing that the farmers should bear their full share of the burden. Charlottetown should also pay in proportion to its wealth, for he did not believe in taxing, the country while the town went soot free. There had been too much of that already, besides it was the town which brought this trouble upon us. He felt confident if we were all willing, that a tax, not overburdensome, might be imposed which would enable us to retain our constitution and work out our own destiny.
MR. LAIRD thought the hon. members on the independent benches were exceedingly anxious to keep some of the Opposition on the penitential benches. (Laughter.) Indeed he thought there had been quite recently an acquisition to their number, and that there were three independent members, although one might be claimed as belonging to the sleeping benches. (Laughter.) No doubt many would take it as a blessing if the number of the latter class was larger. He wished merely to correct some errors which the hon. gentleman had fallen into. He thinks the Dominion, on account of our Railway debt, have but to assume three and a quarter millions. This is a mistake. The words are, they are to assume the whole of that debt. If the hon. gentleman will look at the Terms they read thus : "The Railways under contract and in course of construction for the Island Government, shall be the property of Canada." This it will be seen covers the whole cost of the main line and branches. A good deal has been said about the delegation now go 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 149 ing up to Ottawa. Well, what are they going up for ? One hon. gentleman wants a branch line to Rustico. He agreed in that opinion. Another thinks there should be a branch to Belfast, as their Queen's Printer is taking Rustico in charge, he would not object. Perhaps, the hon. member from that place will support the resolution if they agree to that. If they were asked to promise a branch to Belfast they would probably not comply. Yet they. in this resolution, ask this committee for its unqualified support in a matter conferring upon the delegation extraordinary powers,which every member sppporting the resolution will be called upon to affirm on their return. It is clear the junior member for Bedeque has been studying the Patriot. If he studied it more it would not do him the least harm. Even now it helps him along with his speech. That five horse power he there discovered, has helped him along wonderfully. No argument whatever has been brought forward to show that it is other than an act of folly, to send up another delegation to ask for better Terms. By the Terms offered we can carry on the Government, and manage to carry on the local Government of the Colony without having to resort to Municipal or County taxation. In Ontario and the other Provinces, they have to tax, themselves for education. He (Mr. L.) had long been an admirer of the system of education in Ontario. In every respect it is highly creditable to them. From the small common Day School, up to the finest Seminaries and Colleges, their system is excellent ; and nearly all the money required for keeping these institutions in operation is borne by the local institutions of the country. Nothing can be more creditable to their patriotism and intelligence than the manner in which they give attention to these matters. He had been through them and saw a detailed statement of the items which formed matter for levying a school tax. When these are all known, the cost is estimated, and a tax levied upon the inhabitants to raise the amount required. For years to come we will not require to resort to direct taxation for these purposes. The day, however, may arrive when our Grammar Schools may become small Academies, but by that time he hoped the people would gradually become willing and able to bear the increased tax which their support will require. If, however, we do not go in we will require to levy a tax of at least ten shillings a head for every man, woman and child, in the Colony.
MR. BEER was not a Confederate from choice, but from necessity. But since we are brought into the position we are, saw no other alternative. At the same time, he would like to see the Island get as good Terms as possible, and would support the resolution were it not that the latter part of it bound these who voted for it to vote also for such Terms as the delegates may agree to. Before he would bind himself to anything of the kind he would like first to see the Terms. He thought the last four lines in the resolution had no right there ; the resolution as a whole was such as he could not agree to, he would vote for the amendment.
The amendment was then put and lost. Yeas 10. Nays l5.
MR. HOWATT then moved the following resolution:—
"Resolved, That it is the opinion of this House that the best interests and future prosperity of Prince Edward Island would be secured by refusing Terms of admission into union with the Dominion of Canada."
and said as he had already expressed his opinions pretty freely, he would not trouble the committee with many remarks. He merely wished his reso 150 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 lution to stand as a record to show who was and who was not right. For his part he could not see any just reason for going into Confederation at all.
Mr. HOLLAND rose to second the Resolution of his hon. colleague.
Hon. Mr. McEACHERN did not agree with the views of the hon. members for Bedeque, but admired their consistency. He too would gladly ward off the difficulty, and decline to enter into a union with Canada, if he saw any feasible way by which it could be done. But strong as were the feelings of himself and those he had the honor to represent on that question, yet he saw no way to ward off Confederation, and, theretore, felt it to be his duty to vote for the Resolution.
Hon. P. SINCLAIR said, By the wording of the resolution those who vote for it will be bound to support such Terms as the delegates may bring down, no matter how disadvantageous they may be to the Colony. At the same time, if they bring down better Terms than those already offered, he would not be found willingly working against the interests of the Colony. But under all the circumstances he thought it better to let the Government know that if they do not succeed in bringing better Terms down, he would be at liberty to vote against them.
Mr. JAMES YEO said he was returned to support the Terms brought down by Mr. Laird.  The Terms were honestly and fairly laid before the people. As they are asking that another delegation be sent to Ottawa, before he (Mr. Yeo) would support any such a resolution, he would just like to know what the Terms are which they expect to receive, and who the delegates are that are to be appointed ? The hon. member for Alberton should not find fault with the late Government for building the Branch Lines. He took good care when he was in power to have the line brought to his own door, and ought not to object to other people obtaining the same privileges. Something had been said about his opposing Captain Richards. His opinion was, that if Capt. Richards, when in the House, had not stuck so close to the hon. member for Alberton, he would have been a representative of the second Electoral District of Prince County yet. He could not understand how a gentleman could, on the public platform, make statements which he would a few days afterwards as publicly go against. Such would not be the man he would send up as a delegate to seek for better Terms. Much had been said about the School Question. It was very strange that three years ago that hon. member should have come out so strongly in favor of that question, and shortly afterwards signed a written document pledging himself not to agitate that measure for four years. I do not blame him for not pressing that question, but if he had been elected to carry out any certain line of policy, he would keep his promise. There are twelve Catholic members now on the side of the House the hon. member sits on, why does he not now move in his favorite scheme when he has so many to support his views ?
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.—Had no intention to speak, but as the speech of the hon. member was all about him, he supposed he must reply. The hon. gentleman, when the Railway Bill was passing through the House, was one of the strongest Railway men in the country. When a strong anti- Railway party came into power, he ran with, and supported them. He (Mr. H.) did not refer to the hon. member this Session, but his vindictiveness was such that he could not get up and address the hon. committee without uttering a tirade of abuse against him. The hon. member said that he (Mr. H.) placed the Railway 1873 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 151 Station at his own door, and now that he had twelve Catholic supporters in the House, he ought to move on the School Question. Catholic members understand the hon. member quite well. He did happen to say that if Capt. Richards had been here at the last general election he would have been returned. He thought so still. The hon. member thinks he could not have been beaten. But his father, who was a better man than the hon. member is, on one occasion lost an election.
Mr. JOHN YEO thought the speeches of the two last hon. gentlemen were quite out of place. He had himself been returned as a Confederate. He told the people he was very anxious to keep out of Confederation if it could be done, and asked to be, and had been, returned unpledged. He said he thought the Terms were pretty good, but if better can be had it was desirable, and, therefore, felt it to be his duty to lend his aid to obtain better Terms if they can be had. He had looked into the matter for himself, and was of the opinion that by the Terms brought down, it would be found that they would fall at least ÂŁ12,000 short of what would be required for local purposes.
Mr. McLEAN said when the Railway measure was inaugurated, he was convinced from his knowledge of the inability of the people of this country to pay the burden it would impose, that his duty was to oppose the Bill. He regarded it in the first instance as a gigantic measure, which would involve the country to an extent that would embarrass the Government in difficulties from which it would be impossible to be relieved. Shortly after the Bill was passed, a meeting was held in his district, when the opinion seemed to be that if we had the money within ourselves, so that the interest on the cost of the work might not be drawn out of the Colony, the undertaking would not be so objectionable. This he knew we had not, and that as a result the money would be drawn out of the country. He must say that while he sat in the late Government. they acted in as straight forward a manner as men could, nor did he think they did anything to injure the finances of the Colony. But it is not easy for any Government to carry on the business of the country without making some blunders. He believed if it were not for the efforts of him and others who acted with him last year, Souris and Tignish would not have branch lines of the Railroad at all. And if the Bill had not been brought in when it was, the people in those two places would have failed to secure this boon. Among the arguments brought forward the School Question was referred to. It was not put as a question before the people at the late election, and, therefore, is only used now for the purpose of making political capital out of it. It is a question, though, which will have to be settled yet, and that he thought could easily be done by a slight alteration in the Act, which would set the question at rest to the great advantage of the country. He was present last evening at an examination in the school taught in St. Patrick's Hall, and thought it highly creditable to the teachers in that school. He saw a boy there from his own neighborhood, who acquitted himself admirably. The privileges of education should be general, and not confined to the rich. Taunts ought not to be thrown out against the Catholics, as though they had been pledged against Confederation, unless the School Question was settled according to their wish. It was, however, a question which should not be trifled with. For his part he came here to do the best he could to promote the general interests of his constituents. They are beginning to see that 152 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1873 they who look best after their general interests are best entitled to have their support. He would, some time ago have been unwilling to support the resolution before them, but seeing what the state of the Colony is, would now feel it his duty to vote for it.
MR. HOWATT'S amendment was then put and lost ; 2 for it and 24 against.
The main resolution was then carried—yeas 16, nays 10.
The House then resumed, when the Chairman reported from the Committee one resolution agreed to.
MR. A. C. McDONALD then said, Mr. Speaker, during my election I ran as an anti-Confederate. At that time I did not believe the situation of the country was such as it is. I was then of the opinion that we would be able for this year, and for some time to come to carry on the business of the country, and to meet the usual expenditure. Now we have to look at matters as they are, and not as we supposed they were, and having done so I feel it to be my duty to support the resolution. As a public man I believe my first duty is to consider what is best for the country at large, and then act accordingly. I have, as one, to consider our embarrassed position, and act as I believe will best promote the common good. Reference has been made to the Railroad ; all I have to say is that the vote I gave then, I gave heartily, and from the firm conviction that it would be promotive of the best interests of the country. It is not worth our while now to enquire what led to the present difficulty, but I am persuaded the uppermost idea in the mind of those who originated and voted for the Railway Bill, was the general good of the country, and in voting for this resolution I am sure it will prove to be for the best interests, not only of my constituents, but of the country at large.
The amendment of Mr. Laird was put and lost. Yeas 16, nays 10.
MR. HOWATT then moved his amendment, which was lost. Yeas 2, nays 24.
The main resolution was then carried on the following division :—
Yeas —Messrs. J. C. Pope, Howlan, Owen, T. Kelly, Lefurgy, A. J. Mc Donald, Howatt, Holland, John Yeo, F. Kelly, McLean, A. C. McDonald, McEachen, J. A. McDonald, McIsaac, Arsenault—16.
Nays—Messrs. Laird, B. Davies, Callbeck, McNeill, Beer, Stewart, James Yeo, L. H. Davies, Sinclair, Rowe—10.
Adjourned until 10 o'clock to-morrow.


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: Henry Cooper, 1873. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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

Personnes participantes: