Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada
British North America Bill
House of Commons, London, England
Hansard, 28 February 1867, v185 page 1172
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whole British Empire might be organized into one – Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick might meet here in Westminster, instead of having their Provincial Parliament in Ottawa."
This, Sir, is a subject that has been discussed over and over again, more as a exercitation than as a practical or rational proposition. It does not require more than a moment's consideration to show that it is futile and visionary. The objections to union, then, being futile, and the only alternative proposed being visionary, I will ask the House to consider what are the palpable reasons and advantages which fully account for and justify the deliberate decisions to which these colonies have come to ask this House to sanction the terms of union to which they have agreed among themselves.
The commercial advantages are, perhaps, the most prominent, and the least open to question or dispute. The idea is absurd of retaining a system of different commercial tariffs amongst these contiguous Provinces which are ruining and keeping down their trade. Why, the effect of the reciprocity treaty between the United States and Canada was to develop the commerce between these countries in one year from 2,000,000 to 20,000,000 dollars. That treaty has now ceased; but surely that is a reason why, at least amongst themselves, there should be the most perfect reciprocity.
Well, then, as to their mutual interests, who can doubt that these three Provinces – the wheat-growing West, the manufactures Centre, and the fisheries and outlet on the coasts, are necessary to each other to make one great country jointly developing diverse interests. Was there ever, let me ask, a country so composed by nature to form a great and united community? By their mutual resources – by the assistance of their different interests, they would make together a powerful and prosperous nation.
As long as they remain separate they are a prey to the commercial policy of other nations, and mutual jealousies among themselves. Disunion saps their liberty as well as their power, and paralyses their self-reliance.
On the other hand, one united Government would be able to keep the peace, and would remove every temptation to aggression. One national Government composed of the best men out of all the Provinces, would draw out and develop the resources of the country for the common interest; and, at the same time, a combined revenue would give larger credit, and enable greater economy.
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