from Nova Scotia
House of Commons, London, England
Hansard, 16 June 1868, v192 page 1667
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The petition to which I have referred was disregarded; the opinions of 31,000 persons were considered not nearly so important as the representations of Dr. Tupper and his friends; my warning with regard to the little sore was considered of no use and not in the slightest degree judicious; and the Bill, being pushed forward, was passed.
Now there came on in September, later than usual, a General Election for the Province of Nova Scotia, and it was no longer possible to keep the subject from discussion and decision by the constituencies. The result was, that of the thirty-eight Members returned to the local Nova Scotian Parliament meeting at Halifax, only two were returned in favour of Confederation, and of the nineteen sent to represent the Province in the Parliament meeting at Ottawa, only two were returned in favour of Confederation, and one of these has, I believe, given his assent to the petition I have presented to the House.
Thus it will be seen that of fifty-seven Members, only three are in favour of the Bill which was passed with so much haste and so much unstatesmanlike obstinacy last year.
The House is landed in this difficulty, that you have been professing to confer a great benefit on your colony – you did it without their consent, and that colony turns upon you, and asks you to take back the gift.
The House should bear in mind, when this election took place there were not wanting those means by which Government and officials interfere with the freedom of elections. It was said more than once by persons in authority, that if the people of Nova Scotia voted against the Confederation it would be displeasing to the Queen.
The Colonial Office also exercised its authority. The Governor of the colony at the time exercised all the influence he could bring to bear on the matter and the case. The military gentlemen who lived outside barracks, and who never before voted at elections, came forward and voted, and brought all the force of their opinion, example, and suffrage in support of what they supposed was the intention of the Government at home and of the colony.
And the Canadian officials, they were also to exercise whatever influence they possessed. Well, all this was done, and we know how it is done here, and we can guess how it is done in Nova Scotia.
But, notwithstanding all this battery and machining against the popular cause, it failed, and failed completely, as I have shown. The House
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