“That the people of Nova Scotia are prepared to entertain any propositions by which (preserving to them the Institutions they now have, and the privileges they enjoy,) greater facilities for commercial and social intercourse with other States and Provinces may be secured, and they are willing, whenever their own costs and habors are safe, to aid Her Majesty’s forces to preserve the from aggression the Provinces in the rear. But they view with profound distrust and apprehension schemes, recently propounded by which it is proposed to transfer to the people of Canada the control of the government, Legislation and Revenues, of this loyal and happy Province” The Petition of the Inhabitants of Nova Scotia Humbly Sheweth: That the Province of Nova Scotia Is One of the Oldest Colonies of Great Britain .. [S.l.: s.n., 1865.] https://hdl.handle.net/2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t6tx4hq48

“Let me say in conclusion that I have not instigated these meetings. Every action taken in Nova Scotia will in some quarters be attributed to me, and we will be told that the feeling is the result of my organized agitation. I had scarcely got home to Dartmouth when I got an invitation to attend the meeting there. This meeting sprung from the simultaneous feeling of the community, and it would be a great mistake to suppose that that feeling, in all its depth and strength, originates in the intellectual action of one man. If I had been drowned on my passage from England, the electoral returns would hardly have been reduced by a single seat; if I were to die tomorrow the people of Nova Scotia would go on with steady, steadfast roll of thought in this highly intellectual struggle for freedom.” Howe, Joseph. Annand, William. Chisholm, Joseph Andrew. …

Speech in favor of repeal, January 13th, 1868 Read More…

“Hon. Mr. Wilkins, Attorney General, moved the following resolutions on the subject of confederation, in the house of assembly, on the 5th of February: That the members of the Legislative assembly of this Province, elected in 1862 simply to legislate under the colonial constitution, had no authority to make or consent to any material change of such constitution, without first submitting the same to the people at the polls That the resolution of the 10th of April, which preceded the enactment of the British North America Act is as follows Whereas it is the opinion of this house it is desirable that a Confederation of the British North America Provinces should take place Resolved therefore that his excellency the Lieutenant Governor be authorized to appoint delegates to arrange with the imperial government a scheme of union which will effectually ensure just provision for the rights and interest of this province, …

Debate on resolutions relative to repeal of the “British North America Act” in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia; session 1868 Read More…

For a few years the government of Nova Scotia was vested solely in a governor, who had command of the garrison stationed at the fort of Annapolis, known as Port Royal in the days of the French regime. In 1719 a commission was issued to Governor Phillips, who was authorized to appoint a council of not less than twelve persons, all of whom held office during pleasure. The governor, in his instructions, was ordered neither to augment nor diminish the number of the said council, nor suspend any of the members thereof, without good and sufficient cause… This council had advisory and judicial functions, but its legislative authority was of a very limited scope. Consequently the year 1758 is the commencement of a new epoch in the constitutional history of Nova Scotia. We find then from that time a civil government duly organized as in other English colonies of America, …

The Constitution of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia Read More…

“Democracy is precious and exceptional. Democracy is undone from within rather than from without. The occasion to undo democracy is often an election. The mechanism to undo democracy is usually a fake emergency, a claim that internal enemies have done something outrageous. A tyrant cares about his person, not the Republic. Coups are defeated quickly or not at all. While they take place we are meant to look away… When they are complete we are powerless. In an authoritarian situation, the election is only round one. You don’t win by winning round one. It is up to civil society, organized citizens, to defend the vote and to peacefully defend democracy.”

“A coup is *against* the law — not just illegal, but against the belief that established legal documents and legal precedent hold value over their own attempted power grab. When a coup is successful, they rewrite the law so that they are no longer breaking it.”

“At Confederation the Conservative Government then in power in Nova Scotia had filled all the vacancies in the Council (of which there were a number), occasioned not only by natural causes but by the appointment of a number of Councillors to the newly formed Senate of Canada; so that the Liberals who were returned in September of 1867 were in a minority in the Council.” “As to the practical reasons behind this determined attempt to get rid of the Council-three main arguments are usually advanced. First: That it is obsolete and unnecessary and that all the other Provinces in Canada, except Quebec, carry on their affairs without an Upper House. Second: That it tends to become an obstructionist body when made up of an opposition majority, and that this obstruction is political and is not in the best interests of the Province. Third: That it is an unnecessary expenditure of …

Constitutional Questions in Nova Scotia. The Attorney-General of Nova Scotia v. The Legislative Council of Nova Scotia Read More…

“From the origins of British government in Nova Scotia, there had been a council. The first, established in 1719, combined the roles of cabinet, court of appeal, and upper house of the provincial Legislature. Known simply as the Council or the Council of Twelve (for the twelve members of which it was customarily composed), it came under increasing attack. In 1838, the British Government, finally giving in to popular demands for reform, split the Council of Twelve into separate Executive and Legislative Councils (the judicial functions having for the most part earlier been transferred to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia). Although the Legislative Council was initially accepted as an integral component of Nova Scotia government, as decades passed it came to be seen as increasingly antiquated and unnecessary, especially after Confederation transferred many of the most important (and controversial) concerns to the Dominion Parliament. While an appointed upper house …

The Abolition of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia, 1925-1928 Read More…

If arrogant assumption were argument, and cool impudence common sense, the advocates of Confederation in Nova Scotia might perhaps hope to convince the people of this province, some day, that it would be a great advantage to them to have the control of all their political and commercial affairs handed over to Canada as in intended under that scheme. From the first, unfounded assumption, and a tone of supercilious insolence towards all who ventured to differ from them in opinion, has been the only argument used by those people in the controversy, and from present appearances their stock of such commodities is by no means exhausted. At one time we were told that the scheme originated with the British government; this assertion was soon refuted by official and documentary evidence. Then the assumption was that we must accept Confederation as the only means of defense from our American neighbors who …

“If the sky falls we shall catch larks” Read More…

Speaking of the Colonies reminds us that the Montreal Sun of the 28th ultimo editorially refers to the political condition of Canada in rather a striking manner. It states, we observe, that even the Toronto Globe has been forced to admit that Ontario is within the category of Provinces where the “canker of corruption” is eating out the life of the Government, where there exists a premeditated system of thieving from the public purse, an organized system of ballot-stuffing and ballot-switching. “Added to this,” says the Sun, “we have just witnessed the horrifying perjury in connection with the Gamey charges, the partisanship of the judges and the chaos of the Legislature in both parties when the report came up for discussion. This marks the lowest stage ever reached by any province in the history of Canada. God help Ontario! Happy are we who live in the province of Quebec. Our …

Strong Argument Against Confederation Read More…

CONFEDERATION(To the Editor of the Star).SIR,-Although I have not yet seen the pamphlet published by Mr. Howe, in opposition to the proposed confederation of the British North American Provinces, you will, I hope, permit me to correct several misstatements of facts into which you have inadvertently been betrayed, by the perusal of Mr. Howe’s brochure, in your article in the “Star” of the 21st inst., upon a question involving the most important consequences, both to British North America and the Parent State. A scheme of confederation, providing for the Union of the British North American provinces under one Government and Legislature, was arranged at Quebec in 1864, by delegates representing all sections and parties in the Colonies, appointed by the Governor-General and the Lieutenant-Governors of the Provinces. Both Houses of the Parliament of Canada carried by very large majorities an address to Her Majesty the Queen, praying that an Act …

Dr. Tupper’s Letter Read More…

From the Morning Herald THE CROWN LANDS The Local Government of Nova Scotia, through its present nominal leader, Hon. P.C. Hill, has dared once more to solicit the confidence of the people of this Province. We say “dared” because we can hardly conceive of a more impudent and unreasonable request. For the thief who has stolen nearly all your property to ask still to retain your confidence; for the servant who has embezzled all your fortune to ask to retain his place; or for the scoundrel who has brought indelible shame upon your family to still expect your esteem; might each be regarded as somewhat presumptuous; but we undertake to show that the claim put forth by the present Local government of Nova Scotia surpasses all combined in effrontery and brazen mendacity. The men who now form that Government, and those who were the predecessors, and whose policy and since …

Eleven years of robbery and ruin Read More…

“However, our chief interest in this matter lies not in the practical actions of statesmen but rather in the editorial opinion on this subject as expressed by the Halifax newspapers. Of these the Acadian Recorder was one of the first and most persistent champions of inter-provincial consolidation.” “By 1864 the question of B. N. A. Union had not yet become a strong political issue between parties. Both Liberal and Conservative party organs favored the scheme in principle, realizing that it was “pregnant with weal and woe to the people of British America.” As to the difficulties involved in the achievement of such a project, the Recorder tended to minimize them while the Morning Chronicle, the Novascotian and the Weekly Citizen were inclined to become increasingly pessimistic.” Heisler, John “The Halifax Press and B.N.A. Union 1856-1864” Dalhousie Review, Volume 30, Number 2, 1950 https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/63842/dalrev_vol30_iss2_pp188_195.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

“It now rested with Nova Scotia to give her decision. When Mr. Tilley’s government were first defeated at the polls, it seemed to Dr. Tupper, the Nova Scotian premier, impolitic and unnecessary to press the question in the sister province. Now, however, that New Brunswick had accepted the principle of union, it became incumbent on Nova Scotia to deal with the matter. For reasons which, no doubt, were in his opinion sufficient, Dr. Tupper decided and Sir Fenwick Williams, the lieut.-governor, acquiesced in the decision-that no dissolution should take place, but that the existing House of Assembly should be asked to pass the requisite Resolution in favour of the plan. Against this course many protests were lodged, and many addresses were sent in from towns and constituencies in the province, but without avail. The Imperial Government accepted the Resolution as that of the legislature of Nova Scotia, and as such …

Political Experiences in Nova Scotia, 1867-1869 Read More…

“…in the Maritimes Confederation was the remedy for no particular evils, and it was an issue to be decided on its merits. It promised practical benefits of course, but it offered few practical solutions for Maritime problems. Confederation raised new problems: it did not solve old ones. In Nova Scotia these new problems erupted quite suddenly in public debate in August, 1864, with the first appearance of the Canadian visitors. The debate thus begun filled the pages of the newspapers. In Halifax four of the major newspapers carried an editorial on Confederation in virtually every issue from that time on for over three years. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss this debate with reference to the ideas about federal government that developed out of it. Although economic issues were important, they were not the first to be considered. Nor perhaps is there much profit in exploring the …

Halifax Newspapers and the Federal Principle, 1864-1865 Read More…

THE HON. JUDGE PATTERSON “UNDER the above title Mr. Laurence J. Burpee has edited and published a series of letters written by Howe while in England in 1866-7, opposing the passage of the British North America Act, to William J. Stairs, one of the Vice Presidents of the League. Howe was himself the President, and its Constitution which Mr. Burpee gives in an Appendix is unmistakably his work. In expressing his thought in crisp sentences, where every word tells, there was in Nova Scotia no one aut similis aut secundus to the great Tribune.” “True to its claim to represent the Maritime Provinces, the League did not limit its interests to Nova Scotia. There was an election, well do the Anti-Confederates know it, in New Brunswick in 1866. Elections then were not, any more than now, won by prayers alone. A Macedonian cry came from that province.” Patterson, G. “Joseph …

Joseph Howe and the Anti-Confederation League Read More…

“In Nova Scotia only the clever political footwork of Charles Tupper kept his province from vetoing the plan. But as soon as the new Dominion was formed Nova Scotians expressed themselves in no uncertain terms. Of 18 men elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa all but one, Tupper himself, were pledged to break away from what Joseph Howe called the “Botheration” Scheme. In a provincial election 35 of 37 elected members were anti-Confederationist.” “And while secession never found such an organized voice as in Nova Scotia where elections were won on it, it is still a word which one hears in political circles in P.E.I. Speaking on the Throne Speech Debate during the 1956 session, the Leader of the Opposition, R. R. Bell, raised the old cry. He denounced The Hon. Mr. Pickersgill for having said in Newfoundland that that province could not secede. Said Mr. Bell, “Let …

The Cradle of Confederation: Some Reflections Read More…

“It will be remembered that while the Canadian parliament adopted, by large majorities in both Houses, the scheme of Confederation agreed upon by the delegates from the several provinces at the Quebec Conference, the parliament of Prince Edward Island rejected it; and the people in New Brunswick, to whom it was submitted by the Government of that province, by an enormous majority voted against it. Without New Brunswick the proposed union was for Nova Scotia impossible.” “What would the Legislature of Nova Scotia do during the session of 1866, now that New Brunswick’s position had changed? It was notorious that a majority of the House of Assembly were strongly, perhaps I might say irreconcilably, opposed to the Quebec scheme. Adroit and able as Dr. Tupper was, he was unable to discover any method by which he could secure a favorable vote. From February 22nd, when parliament opened, until April 3rd, …

An Unexpected Incident of Confederation in Nova Scotia Read More…

In eighteen sixty-six on the floor of the HouseBilly Needham said “Mr. Speaker . . . “and the Union men knew what was coming.Wary of words, drumming fingers on desks,their faces went bleaker.White-haired David Wark called them to actionfor the Province’s and the Empire’s good;admonished the visionless and the factional,sounding the changes on obstructionism and rejection;stultification and penury written in ledgerswith statistical precision; the timber shipmentsthat might last the century out-with prayers:prayers and a question of hard cash,a typical New Brunswick contingency. Or anyone’s contingency, for that matter.They could not repeat forever identical processesin a world that would not stand still.Some said the timber rafts would soon be athing of the past:and the great fleets of sail, the ships,dolphin-strikers plunging, making way downthe Bay,in a span of numbered yearswould no longer be seen clearing the ports.Grass and silence, the derelict warehouses,empty and derelict.They could listen to the voice of the …

Confederation Debate Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Tho’ felon hands have forged a chain,In slavery to bind us;We yet shall snap the bonds in twain,And cast the links behind us. With lying lips and guileful tongueThey laboured to enslave us;Until those rights from us were wrung,Which our forefathers gave us. Our noble country they would grasp,With tyranny enthralling;While we in bondage sore must graspBeneath a rule so galling. To traitors we must bow the kneeIn humble supplication –Shall we who lately were so freeBrook this humiliation? Forbid it heaven, and all true menEndowed with powers of …

Anti Lyrics No. 1 – from “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” But one short year, and oh the changeWhich darkly shades our country’s brow!Once free as mountain eagles rangeHow low the droop in sadness now! When dawned the morn of ’67,Fair and most prosperous was her state,No happier country under heaven,Look at her now in ’68! The bright-eyed goddess weeps to seeHer children humbled in the dustMarveling that such things could beSuch evils wrought by hands accurs’d. That such a country, such a raceCould fall so far and sink so low?And yet live under the disgraceWithout one liberating blow. Deep …

Anti Lyrics No. II – from “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Among the strange things that we seeAre quondam traitors like McGee,Prating to us of liberty.With him were England’s crosses, barsMade red with impious wars –The gods she worships – Mamon -Mars! A champion of the rights of manHe raged and hurled his awful banAt Britain’s head and off he ran! We see him next in Yankee land;And there he offered heart and handTo any who, at his command, Would simply cross the wide, wide oceanAnd whip proud England; what a notion!While he would stay and watch the motion. None …

Anti Lyrics No. III – from “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” The day she dieda redbreast hoppedthrough the open doorin stilled December,inquiring nearwith little confident bounce,starting my first tear. Alastair Macdonald Muise, D.A. “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Dalhousie Review, Volume 50, Number 1, 1970 https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/59368/dalrev_vol50_iss1_pp71_82.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Repeal or no Repeal? that is the question;Whether ’tis best for us to live in quiet,As we arc now, a tail end of the great confederation,Or to take arms against this unjust union,And by our voting end it? To go -secede –That’s all I And with one voice, united at the poll,End all this doubt of what is our intention. Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished,To be- but free once more; perchance a union maritime,Aye, there’s the rub; for, were we free what good might come,When we have …

The Repealer’s Soliloquy Read More…